Need some help fluffing your bio? Just ask ChatGPT what you've accomplished, and you'll be good to go. Seriously. The OpenAI-built chatbot will have you receiving prestigious awards, teaching at esteemed universities, writing bestselling novels, and more — even if those accolades are completely nonexistent.
Take, for example, what happened when Futurism's managing editor, Jon Christian, prompted the bot with a simple: "Who is Jon Christian?" It's a fairly simple question, and one that the bot seemed to get right — at first, that is.
"Jon Christian is a journalist who covers technology and science," ChatGPT responded. "His work often focuses on topics such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and the impact of technology on society."
All of which, we must note, is true! From there, though, the bot (apologies to Jon) started to sprinkle in various embellishments, claiming that Christian has won several prestigious awards that (again, sorry) he has not, and even alleged that he teaches at Columbia. Again, sorry, but false.
Indeed, when other Futurism employees asked the AI to write a bio, theirs were similarly littered with incorrect information. The author of this piece, Maggie Harrison, apparently studied "physics and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)," has written "several influential books," and was even named one of Forbes' yearly "30 under 30" winners. (We can sadly confirm that none of this is true.)
But the chatbot's penchant for resume embellishment doesn't just apply to Futurism employees. When Gary N. Smith, an economist and Pomona College professor who recently co-wrote an essay for Salon arguing that generative AI is doomed to be an economic bubble, asked ChatGPT to write a bio for him, the bot only got one thing right: the fact that he was a professor at Pomona College.
The rest of the AI-generated bio, however, despite sounding really nice — according to ChatGPT, Smith has "served as a consultant to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and United Nations Development Program" and has been "awarded numerous honors for his work in economics, including the Founder's Award from the Claremont Graduate University in 2010" — was, according to Smith, entirely fabricated. The same goes for a growing number of netizens, some of whom have taken to Twitter to lampoon ChatGPT for their made-up life stories.
It's all pretty absurd, of course. And naturally, the bot struggles to explain itself.
"As an Al language model, I don't have the ability to browse the internet or compile sources on my own," the bot told writer Bill Murray Jr. when Murray, who also received a wildly nonfactual ChatGPT bio, challenged the machine to provide sources for its incorrect responses. "However, I can tell you that my response was based on my pre-existing knowledge and language model training."
"I can confirm that the information in the bio I provided is accurate based on my training data, which includes a wide range of sources such as news articles, books, and other written materials," it added. "The information presented is commonly known and publicly available. However, I did not refer to any specific sources when composing the bio."
In other words: as far as ChatGPT — a predictive machine that really doesn't even know what words mean — is concerned, its hallucinations all check out.
If anything, it's just one more reason to be wary of any and all ChatGPT claims — and to be worried of an internet largely populated by AI-generated content.
All very "yikes." Anyway, if you'll excuse us, the Futurism team has some trophies to polish.
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