AbFabTravels

Swimming in the Dead Sea – and taking a dip in AI!

by | Asia, Destinations | 22 comments

I had just spent a few hours creating a blog post about swimming in the Dead Sea, carefully researching my keywords, writing meta descriptions, endeavouring not to use the passive voice too much etc etc. Bloggers will know what I am talking about. Then, on a whim, I decided to check out Artificial Intelligence. Everyone is talking about it. It can write essays, speeches, news articles, and, inevitably, blog posts. Could it write a blog post about swimming in the Dead Sea better than me? There was only one way to find out!

Using Artificial Intelligence to create a blog post

It took me less than five minutes to create an account on Chatgpt. Then I started a conversation. I’m not quite sure what I started a conversation with….some kind of algorithm, I think. It was very polite though and I found myself thanking it in return: I am unsure as to the etiquette in these circumstances.

I asked it how to optimise a blog post about swimming in the Dead Sea for Google. It told me what I already knew. Chatgpt was clearly reading the articles I had read over the last few years. Then I asked it what keywords I could use for SEO. It gave me a reasonable selection, but frankly, the words it provided would not have enabled me to rank with my current Domain Authority. (If you are not a blogger, don’t worry about DA. It just means I am a small blogger and cannot compete with the big guys like Wikipedia.).

I then jumped in and asked Chatgpt to write a fully optimised post about Swimming in the Dead Sea. “Sure,” it said. It took a few seconds and then there it was! A fully-fledged, grammatically correct, perfectly acceptable article about this most singular of experiences. Except it wasn’t. There was no experience. Nothing personal. It was just facts based on research.

Is this better? Do people want to read a fact-based article about swimming in the Dead Sea? Without doubt, there is a place for it. We need facts, figures and background. I include them all the time. But is that enough?

Chatgpt suggested that I needed to include photographs and videos to augment the post, but was not able to offer any because it was “an AI language model”. Fair enough.

Plagiarism and copyright issues

We then had a rather interesting conversation about copyright and plagiarism. Chatgpt was clear that the post it had generated should be a “starting point” to create my own unique content. To pass it off in its entirety as my own work without changing or assigning proper attribution would not make the post “ethical or original”.

I then asked the question: “If I were to include the entire blog post produced by you as an example of an AI generated post (and make it clear that this is what it is with the correct attribution), alongside my own post, as a comparison, would that be acceptable?”

This was the answer I received: “Yes, that would be acceptable as long as you make it clear that the blog post was generated by an AI language model and provide proper attribution. This would be a good way to demonstrate the capabilities of AI language models and provide a comparison between AI-generated content and content created by humans. However, it’s important to note that the AI-generated content should not be used as a substitute for original content, and it’s essential to ensure that any content published on your website is unique, informative, and relevant to your audience.”

With this in mind, for interest only, I have published below both my own original content written before I had even opened an account with OpenAI and the version  generated by Chatgpt, an AI language model developed by OpenAI. I am told that this is the correct attribution!

I would love to receive your feedback in the comments!

Jane’s Article:

Swimming in the Dead Sea 

Swimming in the Dead Sea is a peculiar experience. One does not so much swim in the Dead Sea as float, float effortlessly around, no movement required. In fact, I would go so far as to say, it is quite difficult to swim in the Dead Sea. However, one does not go for a dip in the Dead Sea for the exercise!

What is the Dead Sea?

The Dead Sea is not actually a sea at all. It is a large lake in the Jordan Rift Valley and is fed by the River Jordan. The Dead Sea lies between Jordan to the east and Israel and Palestine to the west. We visited the Dead Sea in Jordan and although the weather was hazy, we could see across the sea to the west bank and Israel.

Looking across the Dead Sea to Israel

Looking across the Dead Sea to the West Bank from Jordan. The thunderstorm is closing in!

The Dead Sea is approximately 50 km in length and 15 km across at its widest. It is also shrinking at an alarming rate, about one meter each year, largely due to the diversion of water from the River Jordan by surrounding countries.

The Dead Sea also happens to be the lowest place on Earth: the surface of the lake is approximately 430 meters below sea level. Additionally, the Dead Sea is known for containing some of the saltiest water on Earth. It has a salination of around 34%. That is very salty. I know because I tasted it! (Well sort of: I just put my finger to my tongue when I was in the water. I am not so daft as to actually drink from the Dead Sea! I don’t believe everything I read, but I can now testify that the Dead Sea is indeed very salty!)

Information board showing the relative altitude of the Dead Sea to Amman and Jerusalem

An information board showing the relative altitude of the Dead Sea to Amman and Jerusalem at the resort we visited in Jordan. These figures were accurate in 2010!

Girl holding mobile phone showing altitude below sea level at Dead Sea

1368 ft below sea level on the bank

Why is the Dead Sea called the Dead Sea?

The answer to this is straightforward. The Dead Sea is called the Dead Sea because there is no life in it, apart from some bacteria and some microbial fungi. The water is far too salty for anything to survive in it.

What is it like to swim in the Dead Sea?

Jane swimming in the Dead Sea and waving

As indicated above, swimming in the Dead Sea is a really weird sensation. The concentration of salts makes one very buoyant so floating is easy. It is sort of like playing dead in the Dead Sea! It is actually quite difficult to push one’s feet down towards the lake floor. Swimming, actually moving through the water, is not easy.

Jane floating and Beth swimming in the Dead Sea

Beth tries to swim!

In addition, because of the concentration of salt, splashing the water into eyes or noses would be very painful. Our guide warned us to be very careful not to get the water into our eyes as it stings like mad. Drinking even a tiny amount will cause vomiting. For these reasons, energetic swimming would be ill-advised. Most people just float on their backs in the Dead Sea, often whilst reading a newspaper!  (Do people read actual newspapers these days? Regardless, I did not want to take my tablet into the Dead Sea just for a photo opp.) I did try floating on my front, but my face was too close to the water for comfort so I quickly turned on to my back.

Three girls enjoying swimming in the Dead Sea

Is it safe to swim in the Dead Sea?

Our guide advised that we should only stay in the water for 15 to 20 minutes maximum. Any longer than that and the concentration of minerals and salts could cause skin irritations or make one unwell.

As with any body of water, drowning is always a danger. Even though the water in the Dead Sea increases buoyancy, drowning would be possible. Imagine getting a mouthful of water, vomiting, getting water into your eyes and being unable to see…This could easily make someone panic. The advice is to swim on beaches where there are lifeguards on duty.

The health benefits of swimming in the Dead Sea

The benefits of swimming in the Dead Sea have been well documented. The mineral-rich water is helpful in alleviating skin conditions and is also thought to improve general wellbeing. Cosmetics using minerals and salts from the Dead Sea are big business and certainly my skin felt silky smooth, almost oily, when I emerged from its waters. Some people plaster the mud from the Dead Sea all over their body and let it dry in the sun. It looked like fun – but I had a new swim suit on!

Final thoughts on swimming in the Dead Sea

Swimming in the Dead Sea was certainly an experience to remember and I would definitely recommend trying it if visiting Israel or Jordan. Our visit to the Dead Sea was even more memorable because of the thunder storm which came in and for a short while we had torrential rain.

My best advice when visiting the Dead Sea would be to take water shoes as the area around the shore has deposits and rocks which are quite sharp. A cut on entering the water would really sting! Sunglasses will also help to avoid getting water in your eyes.


Article generated by Chatgpt (an AI language model developed by OpenAI)

(In order to be fair to Chatgpt I have formatted the article below by highlighting in the headings.  I used the same style for the headings as my own piece.)

My question to Chatgpt: Could you write a blog article about swimming in the Dead Sea and optimise it to rank on Google?

The response: Sure! Here’s a sample blog post about swimming in the Dead Sea that’s optimized to rank on Google:

The Ultimate Guide to Swimming in the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea, located between Jordan and Israel, is a unique body of water known for its high salt content and therapeutic benefits. One of the most popular activities for visitors to the area is swimming in the Dead Sea, which can be a truly unforgettable experience. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what you need to know to enjoy a safe and enjoyable swim in the Dead Sea.

Benefits of swimming in the Dead Sea

Swimming in the Dead Sea is a popular activity due to its many health benefits. The high salt content of the water is believed to have therapeutic properties that can help treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. The water is also rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which can help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and soothe sore muscles.

Precautions to take before swimming in the Dead Sea

Before taking a dip in the Dead Sea, it’s important to take some precautions to ensure your safety. The high salt content of the water can be harsh on your skin and eyes, so it’s recommended to avoid shaving or using any kind of exfoliating product before swimming. Additionally, it’s important to stay hydrated and avoid swallowing any water, as the salt content can be harmful if ingested.

Tips for a safe and enjoyable swim in the Dead Sea

To make the most of your experience swimming in the Dead Sea, it’s important to follow some basic guidelines. Firstly, make sure to wear appropriate swimwear and footwear, as the salt can be abrasive on bare skin. Secondly, avoid staying in the water for too long, as prolonged exposure can cause dehydration and other health issues. Finally, make sure to rinse off thoroughly after swimming to remove any salt residue from your skin.

How to get to the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is easily accessible from both Jordan and Israel, with a number of tourist attractions and accommodations located in the area. If you’re planning to visit, it’s recommended to book your accommodations and transportation in advance to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip.

Conclusion

Swimming in the Dead Sea can be a truly unforgettable experience that offers a range of health benefits. By following some basic precautions and guidelines, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable swim in this unique body of water. So why not add a visit to the Dead Sea to your travel bucket list today?


What do you think?

So there we have it: two posts about swimming in the Dead Sea, one created by a human and the other generated by artificial intelligence. What do you think? Please tell me in the comments!

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22 Comments

  1. I’d rather read your article anyday!
    Or spell check tells me that should be any-day!

    Reply
    • Thanks Liz. Spell check is always nagging me to switch to American spellings. I ignore!

      Reply
  2. The AI one reads like an article in a scientific journal, written by a scientist. There is no human touch!

    Reply
    • Those were my thoughts too, Janette. However, as a fact- based document, I was surprised how well it read. It took only a matter of seconds too. I am assuming the software will become even more sophisticated and before long, the “human touch” will be incorporated. Scary!

      Reply
  3. Definitely preferred your article Jane – and the photos! The whole AI chat does raise questions for assignments at school and university…..

    Reply
    • Absolutely. That was exactly why I decided to check it out. Just how convincing could it be? I have to admit, I was quite impressed by what it produced and how it generated the article so quickly. Thanks Sheila.

      Reply
  4. I’ve heard lots of interesting tid bits about the Dead Sea over my school years; but I’ve never actually been. Much less knew that you could swim in certain areas! That’s awesome! Glad you had fun!

    Reply
  5. I have yet to try AI on my blog so I needed to do more research. This article was quite helpful as I learned much from your experience (p.s. I would love to take a dip in the Dead Sea!).

    Reply
  6. There is a lot of good information in both posts but you really can tell the difference.

    Reply
  7. Wow, thanks for sharing your experience of swimming in the Dead Sea on Abfab Travels! Your tips on what to bring and what to expect were really helpful and informative. I can’t wait to plan my own trip there now!

    Reply
  8. I have tried working on AI to see what it can do as well; and it always ends up being a little too impersonal for my tastes. So I now use it to spark my imagination mostly since it does mention things I might not think of otherwise, and then write my article myself.
    Like the others, I would rather read your article anyday..

    Reply
    • Thank you. I think the best way to view AI is as a tool, either as a starting point for inspiration as you suggest, or as a final check to ensure nothing of significance has been omitted. This was the first time I had used AI in any context and I was genuinely impressed.

      Reply
  9. Your article on Swimming in the Dead Sea – and taking a dip in AI! was a fantastic read! The way you described your experience of swimming in the Dead Sea was captivating and made me feel like I was right there with you. I also loved how you connected your experience to the world of AI and its potential applications in various fields. Great job!

    Reply
    • Thank you! That has made my day!

      Reply
  10. What a great idea for an article! Firstly, I’ve long been intrigued by what swimming in the Dead Sea would feel like, so I enjoyed the topic. Secondly, your experience of ChatGPT is very similar to what I’ve found. It’s like the vanilla ‘out of the box’ version of the article, which you can then edit, enhance and paint with personality. On the few occasions I’ve tried it, I’ve found myself eliminating a lot of repetition, though maybe this also eliminated some keyword optimization – oops!

    Reply
    • It is certainly a useful tool and starting point, but as you so rightly say, it requires the writer to “paint with personality”! Hope you get to experience the Dead Sea for yourself. It really is most pecular!

      Reply
  11. As a starting point and for structure AI is really helpful. But factually you need to be on top of it. On numerous occasions it has included information about Puglia not factually correct. For example many websites and travel bloggers refer to the city of Matera in the neighbouring region of Basilicata as part of Puglia. They are wrong. ChatGPT sources that and repeats the same mistake. We recently asked it to create a 7-day itinerary for Puglia. It picked up the locations we would want to visit but sent us on a criss-cross journey up and down Puglia, doubling back on ourselves, when a more efficient route could be planned. But it will get there. And soon.

    Reply
    • So true. It would be so easy for AI to pick up on erroneous “facts” and replicate them. I think it is really scary just how quickly AI is evolving. It is a useful tool, but at some point (and possibly not too far away) it could negate the need for travel bloggers, as well as many other human roles.

      Reply
  12. I AM a scientist and my blog posts might read a bit like Chat GPT, ha. But in all honesty! But to be honest, I prefer your post 1000x. I have never used Chat GPT, honestly. It is very much frowned upon in my fields, if not to say, illegal. I am not worried about it yet, though. In my field, not much work for Chat GPT, and it will never replace humans in a 100 years 🙂 and neither will it replace a well written blog post.

    Reply
    • I agree. I would much rather read a well-written post with a personal touch (and perhaps a bit of humour!)rather than something which reads like a text book. And BTW, you do not write like ChatGPT!

      Reply
  13. Thanks for sharing your AI experience with us. I’ve found that using an AI can be very helpful for creating blog posts especially if you’re working on increasing the number of blogs on your site in a short period of time like I am. However, I agree that it’s only a good starting point. I use it a lot for my intro, conclusion, and formatting.

    Reply
    • To be honest, I have hardly used it since creating this post – except that when I have finished writing a post, I have taken to using AI to create a similar post in order to see if I have missed anything or if I wanted to change my own post in any way. So far, I haven’t! It is a useful check strategy, I think.

      Reply

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Hello!  I’m Jane. I live in the Lake District in the north of England with my husband, Peter. We love to travel, but this is a great place to call home.

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