Real Python Podcast Episode #174 Title Artwork

Episode 174: Considering ChatGPT's Technical Review of a Programming Book

The Real Python Podcast

Sep 29, 2023 1h 10m

What can you learn from feeding an entire book on Python programming into ChatGPT-4 and asking it to provide a technical review? What are the potential pitfalls of using an LLM as a learning tool? This week on the show, author Al Sweigart talks about his recent experiments using ChatGPT and Python.

Al wanted to test how well an LLM could understand the computer science concepts covered in his recent book, The Recursive Book of Recursion. We talk about the positive and negative results of this technical review. We consider if this would be a valuable tool for technical review of your projects.

Al shares his thoughts on using ChatGPT as a learning tool and its potential pitfalls. We also cover the current strengths of this type of tool for Python developers.


  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:01:51 – Reasons for experimenting
  • 00:04:24 – Using ChatGPT to review his recursion book
  • 00:10:45 – Why do this review?
  • 00:11:34 – The trouble of confabulation
  • 00:18:45 – Meaning of artificial intelligence over time
  • 00:28:21 – Video Course Spotlight
  • 00:29:54 – Detailed prompts and asking for specifics
  • 00:36:44 – Potential pitfalls for learning
  • 00:49:48 – Checking for flaws in generated code
  • 00:54:58 – How can it be useful?
  • 01:01:33 – Touching briefly on ethics
  • 01:02:35 – What are you excited about in the world of Python?
  • 01:05:21 – What do you want to learn next?
  • 01:07:36 – Python Programming Exercises, Gently Explained
  • 01:09:20 – How can people follow your work online?
  • 01:09:49 – Thanks and goodbye

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