Creating flashcards with ChatGPT

Creating flashcards with ChatGPT

Can you speed up the process of creating flashcards with generative AI?

Published on Monday, January 30, 2023

I have been using GitHub Copilot for writing documentation, have been testing ChatGPT (GPT3.5) and using OpenAI API (GPT3) in some of my projects. And even after a few months, I'm amused with new possibilities and new ways to use generative AIs for text.

For a long time, I've been "just reading books" and keep forgetting most of the stuff I have read. But, a few years ago I started making flashcards using Anki with the most interesting ideas from the books. I have found this practice really useful - I can remember the most important stuff from the book much better. However, the process of creating flashcards is slow and boring - especially with paper books.

Can you speed up the flashcard creation process with ChatGPT?

The whole point of flashcards is to make them as personalized as possible. Obviously, ChatGPT cannot know what you have found the most interesting but is excellent at summarizing general ideas from the book.

I have tested ChatGPT (GTP3.5) with a few books. For the book The Lean Startup, these are a few of the more interesting generated flashcards:

Question: What is the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

Answer: The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a basic version of a product that is released to a small group of customers in order to gather feedback and test the product's value proposition.

Question: What is "validated learning"?

Answer: Validated learning is a process of gathering feedback from customers and using it to make data-driven decisions about product development. This approach helps to minimize risk and increase the chances of success.

Question: What is the "build-measure-learn" feedback loop?

Answer: The "build-measure-learn" feedback loop is an iterative process for product development and testing. It involves building a product, measuring how it performs with customers, and using that feedback to learn how to improve the product.

Question: What is "pivot" in the context of the Lean Startup methodology?

Answer: A pivot in the context of the Lean Startup methodology refers to a change in strategy in response to customer feedback or market conditions. It's when a company shifts its focus or direction in order to better align with customer needs and find a sustainable business model.

This is exactly how I would like to have flashcards for the book! Of course, I would write few more personalized flashcards - something I have found especially interesting, like author's anecdotal stories, or some of the examples from the book. I find it usefull to have a good talking points about the topic.

However, not all generated flashcards are good. For example, for the book Designing Data-Intensive Applications I have got this:

Question: What is the main focus of the book "Designing Data-Intensive Applications"?

Answer: The main focus of the book is the big ideas behind building reliable and scalable data systems.

Question: What topics does the book cover?

Answer: The book covers topics such as data modeling, data storage, data processing, data integration, and data security.

Question: What technologies are discussed in the book?

Answer: The book covers a range of technologies, from traditional relational databases to newer NoSQL databases, data warehousing, and big data processing frameworks such as Apache Kafka, Apache Cassandra, and Apache Hadoop.

Question: What is the intended audience for the book?

Answer: The book is intended for both experienced and novice data engineers and developers, providing a comprehensive understanding of the key concepts and technologies used in data systems.

These are very bad flashcards. Completely useless and irrelevant.


ChatGPT can do a lot, but not everything. Both books are popular, but I just could not get good results for Designing Data-Intensive Applications, I could not even get a good summarization of the book! I'm guessing the problem is that Martin Kleppmann 's book covers a lot of complex topics briefly.

I see no reason not to continue to use ChatGPT for generating basic flashcards from the books. Some books may not work as good, but we cannot rely only on the AI anyhow.

(Bad?) Business idea: Create flashcards generator from personalized book notes?