The problem matters more than the solution

You heard before the quote “Fall in love with the problem, not the solution”.

Today with the advent of Large Language Model (LLM) like ChatGPT it is not only true but we can prove it.

LLM are called Large because they are trained with trillions of words (or tokens)

But still it’s not because an LLM knows everything that he understand anything, or to say it another way Large Language Model are bullshit artists.

Therefore if you use ChatGPT to help you with anything you better focus on your problem and not the solution you might have in mind. He will confirm any bias there is in your solution. If instead you present clearly the problem, guess what ? He already knows the most statistically significant solution.

Let’s take an example.
My photo collection on my computer is a mess, with a lots of duplicates and even some filenames changes. Therefore I asked chatGPT to help with the solution I had in mind:

“Write me a bash script to find all the files with the same size but different names in a directory”

10 seconds later here is my script, it’s working and doing what I wanted.

But when I looked more closely at the result I am finding some errors. The script is listing as duplicate some files which have the same size, different names but they are not the same picture ! Stupid me ;(

Let’s go back to ChatGPT but this time I am going to tell him about my problem not my solution:

“I want to find all the identical files in my computer”

“To find all identical files in your computer, you can use a duplicate file finder tool, or you can write a script to do it yourself. Here’s a Python script that uses the hashlib library to find identical files based on their content.”

First he reminds me that specialized tools exist to do that and then he propose a python script. And guess what, the script is using an md5 hash to find duplicates. A much better solution that what I first asked him to do.