Good, Bad & Dope: A.I. Answers our Lighting Questions


We challenged ChatGPT to give technical, business and creative lighting answers.

ChatGPT is a chatbot that interacts with users in a conversational way. Sourcing information from textbooks, websites and various articles, ChatGPT provides information and responses to questions through artificial intelligence (AI).

The chatbot was launched by OpenAI in November 2022, and has made numerous headlines as more and more users experiment with the technology. News outlet CNET has recently come under scrutiny for using ChatGPT to write parts of several articles – that contained numerous inaccuracies. On a positive note, NBC recently reported that ChatGPT passed an MBA exam given by a Wharton professor.

So all this hubbub made us wonder how much does ChatGPT know about our niche world of lighting? Could it provide a budget price for a lighting project? Could it pass the LC exam? Does it know about lighting companies? Could it calculate payback on a lighting system?

We had some fun with ChatGPT and were moderately impressed by most answers. Here’s how it went:


1. What does an architectural lighting designer do?

ChatGPT: "An architectural lighting designer is a professional who specializes in the design and implementation of lighting systems for buildings and other structures. They work closely with architects, interior designers, and other members of a design team to create lighting solutions that enhance the aesthetic and functional qualities of a space.

An architectural lighting designer's responsibilities may include:

  • Conducting site visits to assess the existing lighting conditions and identify potential design opportunities
  • Developing lighting concepts and schemes that are appropriate for the function of the space and the architectural style
  • Creating detailed lighting design drawings and specifications
  • Selecting and specifying lighting fixtures and controls
  • Coordinating with electrical engineers and other members of the design team to ensure that the lighting systems are compatible with the electrical and mechanical systems
  • Providing guidance and support during the construction phase to ensure that the lighting systems are installed correctly
  • Conducting post-occupancy evaluations to assess the performance of the lighting systems and identify opportunities for improvement

Architectural lighting designers are knowledgeable about lighting technology and design principles, as well as building codes and energy-efficiency standards. They use this knowledge to create lighting solutions that are both functional and visually pleasing, while also being energy-efficient and cost-effective."



OUR COMMENTARY: This is a rather good answer. We imagine that architectural lighting designers would agree with much of this, but also possibly modify some of ChatGPT’s summary above. We tried searching for some of the exact terms stated by the AI to see if parts of the response were lifted word-for-word from another website. We couldn’t find any examples of long phrases or sentences being copied word for word from other online resources.


2. An energy-saving measure reducing lighting demand by 24.5 kW costs $11,000 to install. Given 4,000 annual operating hours and $0.085 per kWh, what is the simple payback?

ChatGPT: "To calculate the simple payback, we need to divide the cost of the energy-saving measure by the annual energy savings.

First, we need to calculate the annual energy savings:
24.5 kW x 4,000 hours = 98,000 kWh/year

Next, we need to calculate the annual cost savings:
98,000 kWh/year x $0.085/kWh = $8,330/year

Finally, we can calculate the simple payback by dividing the cost of the energy-saving measure by the annual cost savings:
$11,000 / $8,330/year = 1.32 years

So the simple payback for this energy-saving measure is 1.32 years, meaning that it will take 1.32 years for the energy savings to pay back the cost of the measure."



OUR COMMENTARY: This was an example question from the Lighting Certified (LC) Exam published on the NCQLP website. Not only did the AI properly interpret the multifaceted question and arrive at the right answer, it clearly described – in conversational terms – the multi-step process that leads to the answer. Could AI replace middle school math tutors? This was impressive.


3. How many color samples are used to calculate the CRI/Ra of a light source?

ChatGPT: "The Color Rendering Index (CRI) or Ra is a measure of a light source's ability to accurately render colors compared to a reference light source such as natural daylight. The CRI/Ra is calculated based on the color samples of 8 pastel colors defined by the Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage (CIE) called the CIE Standard Colorimetric Observer. The CRI/Ra is determined by comparing the chromaticity coordinates and the color rendering abilities of the light source being tested to that of a reference illuminant. The 8 color samples used for the calculation of the CRI/Ra are: R1 - R8, where R1 is the average of five skin tones and R2-R8 are specific colors of red, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, and sky blue."


OUR COMMENTARY: This was another sample question from the Lighting Certified (LC) Exam published on the NCQLP website. ChatGPT’s answer of 8 color samples is correct. So why an A- and not an A or A+? We asked the same question to Google. And Google got it right, too. With the search engine result, however, we are able to see the source of the information and evaluate its trustworthiness. At this stage in its evolution, ChatGPT should not be considered a trusted source that provides answers with complete accuracy, so although it was correct, we wish that the answer cited an attribution like “according to IES LS-5-20”


4. Could you write a rap song about lighting fixtures in different areas of a hotel in the style of Eminem?


Verse 1:
Listen up y'all, I'm the real Slim Shady
Spittin' rhymes 'bout light fixtures, ain't no maybe
In the lobby, got them crystal chandeliers
Shining bright, setting the atmosphere

Verse 2:
Heading to the rooms, got them bedside lamps
Making sure the guests can read their books and maps
Bathroom's got them vanity lights
Making sure you look just right

Verse 3:
But we ain't stopping there, no way
Got to keep the flow going, all day
Got them recessed cans, in the ceiling
Making sure the whole room's revealing

Verse 4:
And when the guests hit the pool
Got them underwater lights, looking cool
Got them spotlights, shining on the trees
Making sure the whole area's on fleek

Verse 5:
So when you're checking in to a hotel
Just remember, the lighting's lit as well
Got to give a shout out to the electricians
Making sure everything's functioning, no malfunctioning

Verse 6:
I'm the real Slim Shady, ain't no imposter
Spitting fire, 'bout light fixtures like no other
So listen up, and take note
'Cause I just dropped a verse 'bout lighting in a hotel, and it's dope!



OUR COMMENTARY: Heading to the pool in Verse 4 was an excellent turn of events and we liked the shutout to the electricians. While we were disappointed that none of the language was explicit, we agree with virtual, make-believe Slim Shady; these lyrics are dope.

Post time: Feb-21-2023
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