10 December 2022

AI chatbot not so intelligent

I did some fiddling around with ChatGPT, a human language emulating AI program that's free to the public to play with. [https://chat.openai.com/chat]. It got some recent attention in the press, including the LA Times, so it is currently slow or unavailable due to high demand. But anyway, after first being rather impressed with its ability to construct sentences and disgorge a lot of information from a database, I was able to demonstrate to my own satisfaction that it actually has no intelligence at all, and only works by word association and rules for constructing humanlike sentences in English. 

I got it to make two serious factual errors in the course of several attempts to get it to discuss language and botany. It claimed that there were no other non-Indo European languages than Basque spoken in Europe (not true; Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian are in the Uralic Language Family), and it said that Coffea, Gardenia (tea), and Theobroma, all of which contain caffeine or similar compounds, were actually all in the Rubiaceae (coffee family). But this, too, is not so. Tea is in the Theaceae (no kidding), and not at all closely related to coffee, whereas Theobroma (chocolate) is in the Malvaceae (Mallow family, which includes Hibiscus). It's actually more interesting that these plants, which are not at all closely related, all "invented" either caffeine (1,3,7-dimethylxanthine) or the closely related theobromine (3,7-dimethylxanthine) for similar reasons (to paralyze insect larvae trying to feed on them). But they did this despite the fact that they are actually not closely related and not all in the Rubiaceae. The fact that this AI said that indicates that it has no real intelligence at all; it is merely an elaborate algorithm.  

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