ChatGPT generates sexual assault accusation based on non-existent report

A U.S.-based law professor learned that ChatGPT had alleged he sexually harassed a student

Updated - April 06, 2023 02:59 pm IST

Published - April 06, 2023 02:21 pm IST

File photo of a ChatGPT chat and the Open AI logo

File photo of a ChatGPT chat and the Open AI logo | Photo Credit: AP

AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT has alleged that a U.S.-based professor harassed and tried to sexually assault a student while on a class trip. The chatbot cited a 2018 Washington Post article as its source. But the article does not exist.

Legal scholar Jonathan Turley was informed last week that he was on a ChatGPT-generated list of legal scholars who had harassed others, with a Washington Post report cited as a source.

Washington Post confirmed on Wednesday that the cited article in question did not exist. The class trip had reportedly not taken place, and Mr. Turley denied being accused of sexual harassment. He called the incident “incredibly harmful,” according to the outlet.

Similar instances where chatbots generate coherent and believable responses that are found to be partially or entirely false are known as ‘hallucination.’

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The news came around the time Australian mayor Brian Hood threatened to sue ChatGPT over the AI model’s incorrect allegations that he spent time in prison due to a foreign bribery case.

If Mr. Hood proceeds to sue, it could mark the first recorded case that sees a human accusing ChatGPT of defamation.

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