If you’re anything like me, you’ve played a lot with ChatGPT since its release. After all, as a writer, it’s essential that I know how good the language-learning model is so that I know exactly what I’m competing with. Mostly, the news hasn’t been promising: ChatGPT is fast and (at least for now) way cheaper than I could ever hope to be. But there’s at least one area where humans are still winning: accuracy.
And being accurate can save businesses a lot of money—at least where the law is concerned. In Australia, OpenAI (the company behind ChatGPT) may be on the hook for nearly $200,000.
The trouble comes (potentially) from Brian Hood, mayor of Australia’s Hepburn Shire. (Tragically, this has no relation to hobbits and is about 75 miles away from Melbourne.) Hood was the whistleblower in an Australian financial scandal. But ChatGPT keeps falsely insisting that Hood went to prison, which could majorly impact his political career. So Hood may sue for defamation. In Australia, that could net him up to AU $400,000 (US $269,369).
Hood’s not the only person that ChatGPT keeps lying about. It also named Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, in a sexual harassment scandal that never happened. This lie was a little more elaborate, complete with a source from the Washington Post. The only problem? The article in question never existed.
Confusingly, ChatGPT is inconsistent with its lies. When I asked ChatGPT about Hood, it said, “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t find any notable public figure or celebrity with the name “Brian Hood” in my database.” This isn’t great, given that Hood is both an elected official and in the news…but perhaps it’s better than lying? Asking about Turley did turn up some information—but nothing about any scandals. (Maybe ChatGPT is learning!)
So what does this mean for all the entrepreneurs using ChatGPT? I selfishly want to tell you never to use it, but I know that’s not realistic. So instead, I’ll tell you what all my high school English teachers used to say: Check your sources! Better yet, hire a human editor to do it for you.