As many, most, or hardly any of you have also done, I've had a chance to play around with ChatGPT a bit since it launched. It's a really neat tool and for some questions, it's downright amazing. For others, it's laughable. But I've been wondering, how well would it do if asked to come up with a magic trick? As in, design one from scratch.
This thought has been on-and-off in my mind for months, but I never bothered asking. That is, until this afternoon.
I was browsing for dog treats on Amazon and came across a bag of 100 pig ears. 100! Now, this wasn't what I was looking for, but I had to know, what on earth would I do with 100 pig ears?! Or, what could I do!
The response I received was, well, you read it first and then we'll go through it together:
Certainly! Here's a close-up magic trick that incorporates pig ears as a prop. It's called "The Mysterious Transformation."
You start with a pig ear and a regular drinking straw. With a wave of your hand, you magically transform the pig ear into the drinking straw, leaving your audience amazed and bewildered.
- Begin by holding the pig ear in one hand and the drinking straw in the other. Show both props to your audience, allowing them to examine and verify that they are just a pig ear and a drinking straw.
- Place the pig ear into your closed hand, ensuring that your fingers are concealing it from view. Hold the hand with the pig ear at chest level, facing the audience.
- Using your other hand, hold the drinking straw up to eye level, so it is clearly visible to everyone.
- While maintaining eye contact with your audience, slowly and deliberately wave the drinking straw over your closed hand, as if performing a magical pass.
- As you wave the straw, secretly release the pig ear from your closed hand, allowing it to fall into your lap or a nearby prop.
- Continue waving the straw over your hand, creating a sense of anticipation and suspense.
- Suddenly, open your hand, revealing that the pig ear has transformed into the drinking straw.
- Display the transformed straw to the audience, allowing them to inspect it if desired.
- To enhance the effect, you can conclude by offering the transformed straw for examination or even using it for a drink if one is available.
- Practice the sleight of hand necessary to secretly release the pig ear without detection.
- Maintain a confident and relaxed demeanor to divert suspicion from your actions.
- Use smooth and deliberate hand movements to create a magical atmosphere.
- Engage your audience through eye contact and by building anticipation during the trick.
Remember to practice the trick thoroughly to ensure smooth execution. With the right performance and presentation, "The Mysterious Transformation" using a pig ear and a drinking straw can captivate and surprise your audience in a close-up setting, such as a bar.
This response is, in my opinion, pretty nice. It's actually formatted in a way that I would expect to see a trick in a book or other tutorial. It leads off with the effect, then props needed -- I added links for them, just in case you want to give it a whirl (or if you need to order pig ears and drinking straws...).
I also really like that it ends with a list of tips! They are actually pretty good tips overall and could apply to a decent percentage of magic tricks.
But the best thing is, the AI system provided a name for the trick! The Mysterious Transformation.
The performance instructions start out pretty well, albeit they take a rather mysterious twist there in the middle.
We start by "proving" to the audience that the props are real, which in this case, they are. That's fairly standard in a magic trick with props.
Up until step 5, things go smoothly. Step 5 itself is good too if you consider the instructions to have a hint of "use your imagination" mixed in. Why do I say that? Well, up until this point I actually imagined I was standing while performing (I normally stand while performing). However, this trick requires me to lap the pig ear under the misdirection of waving the straw. Assuming I'm sitting, it's still going to be a bit of a stretch since a pig ear isn't really the smallest of objects, and it's not a solid color either. If my hand is at chest level, it will have maybe 6 to 8 inches of visible space to drop through "secretly."
And then, there's step 7. So, 1 through 6 are buyable -- we can make those happen. Let's assume the pig ear is in my right hand (really in my lap!) and the straw my left. I'm waving the straw in my left hand and then open my right to reveal "that the pig ear has transformed into the drinking straw". Do what now? I don't care how well I wave that straw, I don't think I'll be making anyone believe the pig ear transformed into it.
I like how it ends with the suggestion to take a drink with the straw. "See, it's just a normal straw." A normal, once-was-a-pig-ear straw.
If we swapped some things around and treat the straw as though it was a makeshift wand, it could become a simple vanishing routine. Not quite the same effect or impact of the original transformation. However, no matter what we do, it still doesn't answer the question as to why we have a pig ear in a bar...
So all-in-all, ChatGPT can create a magic trick. I've played with a few other concepts -- even followed the above response with a few clarifying questions and correcting points. With the pig ear trick, I did get a workable performance eventually, but it wasn't anything mind blowing. With card tricks, ChatGPT knows basic handling skills like double lifts and palming, but again, nothing novel quite yet. I do think that with a proper query and even the right information pre-provided, it will be a tool that's usable as a creative assistant. Only time will tell though!
Oh also, the main picture for this page was made by Adobe Firefly! I'm not going to bow down to our robot overlords quite yet, but they're getting pretty close =P