©2024 Donald R. Snow - Page last updated 2024-02-09
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ABSTRACT:  AI (Artificial Intelligence) is helpful in many ways, including in family history.  Once you get started it is easy to use.  This presentation will help you get started with some of the major free AI websites and how to use them for texts.  Examples will illustrate this and give you ideas to use it.  The notes  have the links, so if you use them online, you can just click and go to the AI website.  The AI websites we will discuss are Microsoft's Copilot, Googles' Bard, Open AI's ChatGPT, and a website that will give you a text summary of any closed-captioned YouTube video.  The notes and other related information, all with active internet links, will be on the handout and posted on .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo, Utah.
  2. The notes with active URLs and additional information in other notes and articles are posted at .
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon from in front of the address (above) in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. Problem to discuss:  What is AI, what are some of the free AI websites, and how do you use them for texts?   (We will not discuss images and videos here.)

  6. AI has been around for many years, but wasn't called that until Fall of 2021; for example,  Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google's Google Assistant, are all AI.
  7. AI is a misnomer since it is not artificial and not intelligent -- it is just computer assisted searching.
  8. AI for texts is based on language and searches 1000s of posted documents for words near the search terms you enter, since those may be related to the topic.  Hence, it can never "think ahead" beyond what has already been posted online somewhere.
  9. AI programs are sometimes referred to as "large language models", since they depend on large collections of online data.
  10. To use an AI website, you usually have to set up an account (free), but you may already have an account, e.g. if you use Gmail, you already have a Google account. 
  11. Some of AI's strong points are that it may help you find things you didn't know or have forgotten and will help you organize the information.
  12. Many helpful articles about AI are online and once you get to an AI website, you can ask "how do I use [AI website]?"
  13. Here is the link to a Wikipedia article on AI -- .  

  15. Microsoft's Copilot -- ; form a bookmark by dragging the icon from in front of the address to your bookmarks bar or to your desktop (see Item 3 above in these notes); type your query into the box at bottom labelled "Ask Me Anything" and click the icon at end of that line (Submit).
  16. Google's Bard --  -- If you have a Gmail address, you already have a Google account and can use Bard.   
  17. Open AI's ChatGPT --   -- ChatGPT  means "Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer" (Now you know!) and Microsoft owns a large part of Open AI -- type in your query where it says "Message" and click the up-arrow at the right end (Submit) -- version 3.5 is free, and is from Jan 2022 -- later versions are commercial, i.e. you have to subscribe and pay to use them.     
  18. Summarize It -- -- this is free and uses AI to generate a text summary of any closed-captioned YouTube video. 
  19. There are many other free AI websites; to find others, when in any one, type "list the top 5 free AI websites" .    
  20. You need to check the results before accepting them.

  22. AI can be used for bad purposes, just like any technology. 
  23. You can accept or ignore any of the results, since it tells you where it got that information; you need to check the results for yourself. 
  24. Since it uses online data, be careful of what you put online so AI can't pick it up.  You never know where it may end up; for example, don't post personal information online. 
  25. In using AI be specific in what you ask for and, when you see the results, restate your query so the results are closer to what you want.  
  26. Try your query in more than one AI website, since you may get different results. 
  27. You may find it helpful to copy and paste the text results into a file so you can edit them more easily and decide what to keep and what to ignore.   

  29. "how do I get started and use copilot?"
  30. "find information in newspapers in Utah about "[Your Name]"
  31. "create a list of websites with death records for Louisiana"
  32. "find information about ... in ......." 
  33. "find articles about [someone - put the name in quotes] in newspapers in [city and state]"  
  34. "find an obituary of [person] from [location]"
  35. "How can I get a copy of my father's military service record?" 
  36. "Create an outline of the history of Portugal."
  37. "Where are Congregational Church records for Massachusetts in the 1600s?" 

  39. Once you get started using AI, it is easy to work with.
  40. After you get the first results, "sharpen" your query to get closer to what you want. 
  41. We have only considered free AI websites for text in this class, not images nor videos. 
  42. The free AI websites may be enough to help with your questions, but you may get better results from the commercial ones. 

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