TWEET or TOOTSTORM is an occasional feature where we share threads, mostly from Twitter or Mastodon, that we think deserve a wider audience, some are informative, some educational, some amusing and others yet are controversial...we dig these out for you so you don't have to!
I tried using ChatGPT to help with research on a paper my son is writing for school (not to write it for him but to help find sources).
After a good discussion, I asked it to list several titles of articles from academic journals that discuss the topic he's writing about. The three articles it listed sounded perfect, and it even provided DOI links.
The problem is the links were wrong, and none of these articles actual exist.
ChatGPT made them up, including the author names.
I thought I had stumbled on an excellent source to augment research practices.
But these articles don't exist:
"The Power of the Silent Character: An Analysis of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird" by Amanda M. Luedtke, published in The Journal of Popular Culture. This article explores the role of the silent character in "To Kill a Mockingbird" and argues that characters like Boo Radley and Tom Robinson represent a powerful form of resistance against the dominant culture of the South.
Another great-sounding article that ChatGPG made up:
"Speaking Power to Truth: Silence as a Strategy of Resistance in To Kill a Mockingbird" by R. Barton Palmer, published in The Journal of Popular Culture. This article examines the use of silence as a form of resistance in "To Kill a Mockingbird" and argues that characters like Tom Robinson and Boo Radley represent a powerful critique of the dominant social order.
Last one... also made up by ChatGPT:
"Silent Resistance: The Power of the Meek in To Kill a Mockingbird" by Scott Lukas, published in The Journal of American Culture. This article argues that characters like Tom Robinson and Boo Radley represent a powerful form of resistance against the oppressive social order of the South. It also examines the role of Atticus Finch as a model of quiet strength and integrity.
In fact, I'd really, really, really love it if these articles actually existed, since it'd make writing his research paper that much easier.
I stand in amazement at how believable these articles sounded. I really thought I had stumbled on an amazing find.
Nope. So such luck.
Back to the drawing board of doing research the hard way.
Matthew Turland @elazar
@ramsey Observability will definitely be a demanded feature and a challenge on the part of implementers in AI in the long term. Good luck with the research paper!
@elazar The challenge on the research paper will be in not doing the work for him, since I personally have no problem writing a paper like this (although the topic he picked seems not to have any sources available that can be used to back it up).
@elazar @ramsey ... and how can you achieve observability when the purpose of the system is to produce satisfactory output, even if it means lying? (Not asking you - I mean, it will be a challenge that needs to be met by the implementers or regulators)
@kboyd @elazar I'm hearing about folks who are already using ChatGPT in editorial work and also in programming work. If it just makes shit up, I don't understand how they're producing work with any value.
Matthew Turland @elazar
@ramsey @kboyd Mostly, I think it's because starting with something flawed is often easier than starting with nothing.
Chris Abbey @cabbey
@ramsey @kboyd @elazar I’m not so sure they actually are. There’s been a couple great examples of these folks producing negative value though. See for example clarksworld or Immunefi. (though in that last case, since it’s crypto, I’m less sympathetic to their time being wasted.)
Anna Filina @afilina
@ramsey @kboyd @elazar Maybe these people aren't doing any of it, and their posts/articles were also produced by the same tool.
HRH ginsterbusch @firstname.lastname@example.org
@afilina @ramsey @kboyd @elazar One cannot believe with what amount of utter garbage code one can get away ... As Long As It Works (tm)!
Currently migrating a project away from an AWS install, and the degrees of code quality variations are insane.
Alessandro Lai @alessandrolai
@ramsey @kboyd @elazar maybe they are applying it on a filed where the tool has less need to "invent lies" to produce a satisfactory output?
Still, I believe that we're very far from AI producing "good" output overall, since its goal is not to be truthful.
Matthew Turland @elazar
@kboyd @ramsey It's a good and reasonable question. Honestly, I'm a complete novice in the field, so I have no idea. It will be interesting to see how the question is answered, though.
@elazar @ramsey yep! (I'm also very much a novice... but I do have one project that would be fun to plug into something like ChatGPT, since its sole purpose is to make up silly stuff)
Darrel Miller @email@example.com
@ramsey If you have access to Bing Chat it does a decent job of using ChatGPT to help find actual existing content and will give you links.
@darrel_miller I have access. Bing told me it couldn’t find anything and suggested I go directly to JSTOR and search there.
Link to OG toot