Eternal Sunshine of the Butterfly’s Mind

Justin Hart
7 min readMar 22, 2023

get the full lowdown here!

I was just granted access to the social media giant’s competitive product to ChatGPT. I’ve been trying a few things to see how it reacts. The usual Blade Runner-inspired approaches to testing the AI systems seem also rans so I thought I’d try a different tact with a unique prompts and see where it took me.

“Reverse chronology” is a very difficult literary device to pull off. Very few works of art can claim popular status in this approach. Think “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” or Christopher Nolan’s film “Memento” or — my favorite — Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along.” So I gave 4 different AI writing tools the task with this prompt.

MidJourney interpretation of the prompt below:

Write me a short story about a caterpillar who grows up to be a butterfly but the story is composed in reverse chronology with a sad ending.

The full stories are below but here’s my brief summary and analysis:

  • ChatGPT 3.5: tries the classic “yup… that’s me.” with the butterfly dying on the ground and then fills in the reverse chronology with “before that” and “and then…” It’s a pedestrian attempt and you can almost hear “Baby O’riley” cue but its not worth reading twice.
  • Bard: Enter the newcomer. The response was wicked fast but the outcome was pretty much a fail. The…



Justin Hart

CMO at large. I live at the intersection of AI, machine learning and marketing. It’s a busy corner! (I need to model that).