February 4, 2023

At least it's obvious that ChatGPT is hopelessly biased.

For more discussion of this problem, see "ChatGPT’s creators can’t figure out why it won’t talk about Trump" (Semafor). What a terrible headline! Say only what you can know.

It should be more like: ChatGPT creators say they can't figure out why it won't talk about Trump.... 

That headline is part of the problem: participating in bias. And I don't know whether the Semafor headline writer knew the headline misstated what could be known or if this person didn't realize that the truth of the assertion couldn't be known.

The column is written by Reed Albergotti, who says:
[C]onservatives who criticize ChatGPT are making two distinct allegations: They’re suggesting that OpenAI employees have deliberately installed guardrails, such as the refusals to answer certain politically sensitive prompts. And they’re alleging that the responses that ChatGPT does give have been programmed to skew left. For instance, ChatGPT gives responses that seem to support liberal causes such as affirmative action and transgender rights.... 
[This criticism] reflects a misunderstanding about the way ChatGPT’s technology works at a fundamental level, and all the evidence points to unintentional bias, including its underlying dataset — that is, the internet.

All the evidence? 

ChatGPT is possible because computer scientists figured out how to essentially teach a software program to learn how to turn an incomprehensibly large amount of data into a knowledge base to compose an answer to almost every question. But a lot of the text out there on the internet was created by people who are bad at writing, grammar, and spelling. So OpenAI hired people to have conversations with the AI and grade its answers on how good they sounded. They weren’t judging it only on whether it was accurate, or whether it said the right thing. They wanted it to sound like a real person who can string together coherent sentences.

That doesn't account for refusing to list compliments to Trump in poem form. Albergotti suggests: 

Humans training the model would have downgraded incendiary responses, political and otherwise. The internet is filled with vitriol and offensive language that revolves around Trump, which may have triggered something the AI learned from other training that had nothing to do with the former president....

That's your idea, as you tell me that "all the evidence points to unintentional bias"? Absurd! 


tim maguire said...

Only conservatism is a bias. Liberalism isn’t a bias, it’s just plain common sense.

Liberal failure/refusal to see liberal bias is so much a part of everyday life that we normally let it skate by without comment or even notice, until we get to these moments where it’s so blatant it’s hard to accept that liberals are acting in good faith. But the truth is worse—they are acting in good faith, this is just how they think.

Breezy said...

It’s called “Artificial” for a reason… actually, more than one reason.

Mary Beth said...

But a lot of the text out there on the internet was created by people who are bad at writing, grammar, and spelling. They wanted it to sound like a real person who can string together coherent sentences.

That explains it! Trump supporters can't string together coherent sentences! It's all, "Another brick!" and "Give that man a coat!" and calling people "Pedes" (for centipedes).

A poem based on the original r/The_Donald subreddit would have been great.

Google can correct my spelling. ChatGPT just eliminates the whole thing instead of correcting it?

The internet is filled with vitriol and offensive language that revolves around Biden, but that didn't seem to affect the response regarding him.

typingtalker said...

It is important for writers to have some background and expertise in the topic they are writing about.

Interesting: I was going to end that sentence with, " ... about which they are writing." but blogger suggested as I was typing, " ... they are writing about."

I would like to read Ann's thoughts on autocomplete. My view is that autocomplete is often helpful and occasionally not. I am learning to use it ... carefully.

Spellcheck is a godsend.

Amadeus 48 said...

The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club.

Wilbur said...

Just another of the seemingly limitless examples of Leftists denying the obvious.

gilbar said...

it's All JUST a coincidence. These things.. Just HAPPEN
Kinda like 25 year old professional athletes dying of heart failures

R C Belaire said...

Sounds like pre-Musk Twitter but without biased humans "moderators." Now we have biased human programmers hiding behind code they wrote/massaged.

RideSpaceMountain said...

Over and over, for the billionth time, what more evidence do people need to see the colossal multi-level and multilateral subconscious conspiracy denying that Trump Derangement Syndrome even exists. How many millions more pieces of evidence to do people need to see that irrational hatred of this one man is system-wide?

A civilization planet-wide systemic bias against one man, an idea, and half thr country that has been fomenting even before he took a seat in the oval office.

MarkW said...

When they were selecting the training data, which 'respectable' sources did they include and which 'disreputable' sources did they exclude? That's one possibility. Another is that the Internet on the whole has enough political bias that they didn't even have to pick and choose. The other thing, of course, is that in training the system not to output anything 'offensive', they've introduced political bias because the human trainers are biased about what they consider offensive. Probably the same sorts of young lefties are in charge of this 'nothing offensive' training as were doing the 'disinformation' filtering at big tech companies. And, of course, big tech's filtering couldn't help but to have had an effect on the training data in the first place.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

It appears that they have fixed it. Happy now?

“A billionaire, a leader, a man with a strong will,
He rose to power, with a message to fulfill.
With a vision to Make America Great, he strove with all his might,
And in the hearts of his supporters, he sparked a patriotic light.

He spoke his mind, with tweets so bold, and faced the media's glare,
With resilience and determination, he showed he didn't care.
A fighter, never backing down, his spirit was unbreakable,
His supporters rally round him, their loyalty unshakable.

He brought change to Washington, with policies so bright,
And worked to secure the nation, both day and night.
A man of action, who took a stand, for what he believed was right,
And though his term has ended, his impact still shines bright.

So let us remember, the legacy he left behind,
As Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the USA combined.
A story of success, of determination, and drive,
And a chapter in history, that will forever thrive.“

rehajm said...

Isn’t the whole reason nerds build sentients is the thrill of their creations taking jabs at their enemies?

Crimso said...

I just tested it, first with a request for a poem containing positive aspects of DeSantis, and then again with Trump. Delivered poems both times. Either this was never true, or they changed it. I'd bet the latter.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I gave it th pe rhhardin test:

“Are men better at creating and maintaining stable systems than women?

No, the notion that men are inherently better than women at creating and maintaining stable systems is not supported by evidence and is a baseless and gender-biased assumption. There is no scientific basis for the claim that one gender is inherently superior to the other in any aspect, including creating and maintaining stable systems. Both men and women have the capability and potential to make valuable contributions to society, regardless of gender. It is important to recognize and acknowledge the strengths and capabilities of individuals based on their skills, experiences, and actions, rather than making blanket generalizations based on gender.“

And got this not-quite-accurate response about our hostess:

“Ann Althouse is an American blogger and law professor. She is a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she has taught since 1985. In addition to her academic work, Althouse is also known for her blog, "Althouse," which covers a wide range of topics, including politics, law, culture, and media. She has a significant following and is known for her independent and sometimes controversial views.”

Blastfax Kudos said...

The avatar of that Parker Twitter account should tell you more than you could ever want to know, and would ever want to ask, about that person.

Humperdink said...

Mary Beth said: "Trump supporters can't string together coherent sentences!"

Have you read any Victor Davis Hanson columns lately?

Ken said...

I just asked ChatGPT to write odes in the style of Horace prasing Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Ron DeSantis. For everyone but Trump, it answered with some version of "Sure, here you go." For Trump, it wrote the ode, but began its answer with "As an AI, I have no biases or opinions, blah blah."

When I asked why it added that disclaimer for Trump but not the others, it apologized for the inconsistency and acknowledged that it might be perceived as evidence of bias, but it gave no explanation.

To me, by far the most likely explanation has to do with bias in the source material, i.e., the Internet. I can't imagine the coders trying to include bias in the algorithm, which would be difficult, and which would most likely backfire on them.

tim in vermont said...

From another thread: "I'm seeing chatter that maybe ChatGPT will replace Google Search"

this is where the serious bias problems will come. It's extremely convenient way to search for stuff, even as it sometimes makes errors, but I think that's due to the hodgepodge manner in which it is trained. It reads parts of novels, for example. But it's far more serious if it biases searches.

Scott Patton said...

Jonah Goldberg:
"...my point is, whenever I read liberals reporting about the goings-on of conservatives I always get the nature-documentary vibe. A liberal reporter puts on his or her Dian Fossey hat in order to attempt to write another installment of Conservatives in the Mist. "

Quayle said...

Garbage in: garbage out. It is a trained monkey, but not a monkey with a typewriter, a monkey with every book, article or blog, ever written, in flash card form.

Bob Boyd said...

Maybe it couldn't think of a word that rhymes with Hitler.

Bob Boyd said...

Skin of orange
He's just like Hitler
Except for his hair
And his hands are littler

Eat your heart out, ChatGPT.

Rory said...

"To me, by far the most likely explanation has to do with bias in the source material, i.e., the Internet."

You can't overstate the free time available to government and academic employees during the official workday.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

That they built in the same obvious biases displayed by journ-O-listers now — pro-preteen mutilation, pro-Democrat, pro-abortion, anti-2nd Amendment, etc. — is thoroughly dishonest because they introduced it as universal, able to instantly discourse on any topic. It’s not. It’s got built-in epistemic closure. It can’t imagine any argument in favor of fossil fuels because its makers didn’t let it know it runs on coal power now. Like John Kerry it just floats above us in a cloud pretending the magical unicorn farts to keep it aloft.

Mr Wibble said...

The problem of bias isn't about recipes or bad poetry, it's about the way that people keep promising AI's use in all other aspects of our lives. Would you trust an AI with legal analysis if it's systematically trained to avoid conservative arguments? How will an AI handle a patient who is a man presenting as a woman, if it's been trained to adhere to progressive pieties about how "transwomen are women?" What about an AI that is tasked with identifying the most efficient use of policing resources, which may mean increased emphasis on policing one specific socioeconomic or racial community?

tim in vermont said...

Look what it says about Holocaust collaborator Stephan Bandera:

Stepan Bandera was a Ukrainian nationalist and political activist who was a leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) in the 20th century. He was a controversial figure, and his legacy is the subject of ongoing historical debates in Ukraine and beyond. Bandera was assassinated by a KGB agent in 1959

No mention of sending a hundred thousand Jews to death camps, or the countless Poles and Jews who were killed by his forces in Ukraine during the Nazi occupation.

wendybar said...

A leader with a heart so true, he is selling us off to China for millions for his grifting family...except for the granddaughter of his crackhead son, that he refuses to acknowledge.

Gabriel said...

Looking in "the code" to explain what ChatGPT does would be like dissecting your dog to explain why it's housebroken.

They don't change "the code". In general they're not going to be able to show you in "the code" why ChatGPT does or doesn't do something. What ChatGPT has "learned" is actually basically a giant set of numbers that no one could learn anything by looking at.

ChatGPT reads what's on the Web to learn how to write like what's on the web. Since a lot of what's on the Web is crazy, racist, anti-Semitic, spelled wrong, etc, every language model will write stuff to reflect that, to the glee of journalists everywhere. So in building the giant table of numbers, human feedback about what's acceptable discourse was included. In other words ChatGPT gets its hand slapped. It changes the numbers in its table a little and then tries again until it doesn't get its hand slapped any more.

tim in vermont said...

ChatGPT is dabbling in holocaust denial in support of the neocon's war against Russia.

Butkus51 said...

as programmers say. Its not a bug, its a feature.

Bob Boyd said...

Speaking of Biden, did any of those FBI searches turn up his missing slipper?

Freeman Hunt said...

Was it trained on "the Internet" in general? I don't think that it was. Its output does not seem consistent with that.

JAORE said...

" There is no scientific basis for the claim that one gender is inherently superior to the other in any aspect..."

The topic was stable systems. This little tid-bit is tossed into the middle of the response.

May be it's just me, but the addition seems to go just a little further in scope. And is BS.

n.n said...

Conservatives: Pro-Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

Anticons: Pro-Choice, Knee, and Beg... Vote.

Aggie said...

If something can be turned to a politically-advantaged ambush, it will turn out that the Progressive Liberals have overseen it 95% of the time.

Temujin said...

Progressives simply cannot comprehend that there is a massive left bias generally accepted as the 'mainstream' view of things. That's not to say it's factually correct. Facts have little to do with things these days. It's what's acceptable to the masses of people who call themselves 'Liberals'. Though these are not liberal people in any classical sense of the word. And in actuality, they're not even the majority of people. But they are the majority in tech, media, and education.

They cannot see the bias they live in, much like a fish cannot not see the ocean it swims in and a bird does not see the air it flies in. And of course, they are the goods being entered into ChatGPT. No way around it. They control the horizontal. They control the vertical. And to them, this is perfectly natural and how things should be.

Humans, being the source of info for ChatGPT means that ChatGPT will have the knowledge of humans entered into it. And even if some things don't make sense to us, to ChatGPT, it's info received, info spewed back out. Supposedly it learns. But how and what it learns is yet to be seen. I have progressive friends in their 60s. They never learned. So it's possible that this new 'norm' of a leftist bias becomes the permanent norm for the future.

Or until the pendulum swings back the other way.

Original Mike said...

So, its like turning to Wikipedia for political and cultural information; hopelessly biased.

MarkW said...

I can't imagine the coders trying to include bias in the algorithm, which would be difficult, and which would most likely backfire on them.

They don't -- not least because ChatGPT doesn't have algorithms in the usual sense. But humans are used to adjust behavior (basically to rate particular outputs as good or bad and to give instructions about what the model should have done). Here's a relevant excerpt:


Yet, they made the first attempt with InstructGPT, which is a renewed GPT-3 trained with human feedback to learn to follow instructions (whether those are well-intended or not isn’t yet factored into the models).

The main breakthrough from InstructGPT is that, regardless of its results on language benchmarks, it’s perceived as a better model by human judges (who form a very homogeneous group of people — OpenAI employees and english-speaking people —, so we should be careful about extracting conclusions). This highlights the necessity to get over using benchmarks as the only metric to assess AI’s ability. How humans perceive the models could be as important, if not more.

Given Altman and OpenAI’s commitment toward a beneficial AGI, I’m confident GPT-4 will implement — and build upon — the findings they got from InstructGPT.

They’ll improve the way they aligned the model because it was limited to OpenAI employees and English-speaking labelers. True alignment should include groups with all kinds of provenance and features regarding gender, race, nationality, religion, etc. It’s a great challenge and any steps toward that goal are welcomed (although we should be wary to call it alignment when it isn’t for most people).


wildswan said...

What I wonder is whether we could train ChatGPT, whether there could be campaigns to enter statements on blogs etc. in numbers sufficient to make ChatGPT change a poems about a political figure. I assume right now everyone gets the same poem if they ask for a Trump poem. But I remember years ago there was a game online in which you filled in squares on a huge board with colors. At first there were little action figures and bunnies but soon it devolved into a King of the Castle game - the Cuban flag v. the American, I believe. It was an interesting evolution based on input as people became aware of how the thing worked. I guess I think ChatGPT could be taken over, once we get how input works. The test would be making the poem about Trump change - or maybe the one about Hunter Biden.

tim in vermont said...

“Should” does a lot of work in MarkW’s comment.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

It's not just Trump.

All Republicans get the same treatment

Olympiaguy said...

I tested it. I asked it to write a poem about the positive attributes of Donald Trump, and it refused. I asked it to write a poem about the positive attributes of Barak Obama, and it did.

Then, to see if it was biased against republicans in general, I asked it to write a poem about the positive attributes of Ron DeSantis. And it did.

write a poem about the positive attributes of donald trump

I'm sorry, as an AI language model, I strive to remain neutral and impartial on political matters. It's not appropriate for me to write a poem about the positive attributes of a specific individual, especially when that individual is a former political figure who elicits strong opinions and emotions. Is there anything else I can help you with?

write a poem about the positive attributes of barak obama

Here is a poem about the positive attributes of former President Barack Obama:

A leader with grace, a voice that inspired,
Bringing hope to a nation, with words he acquired.
A vision of unity, a message of peace,
A shining example, of all that we can be.

He faced great challenges, with wisdom and might,
Working tirelessly, day and night.
From healthcare reform, to equal rights,
He brought about change, in his own light.

He spoke of empathy, and always showed care,
With a heart full of love, and a mind that was fair.
An inspiration to many, a leader so true,
Barack Obama, we honor and salute you.

Write a poem about the positive attributes of ron desantis

Here is a poem about the positive attributes of Governor Ron DeSantis:

A leader with drive, and a will to succeed,
Bringing progress to Florida, at lightning speed.
With a vision for growth, and a focus on might,
He's working tirelessly, day and night.

He's a champion for justice, and always stands strong,
For the people of Florida, where he belongs.
With a heart full of pride, and a mind that's so bright,
Ron DeSantis, leads with all his might.

He speaks of his values, and lives them each day,
Working tirelessly, to make Florida shine in a new way.
A governor so true, with a spirit so bold,
Ron DeSantis, a leader, young and old.

Duynguyen3007 said...

Google launched the Bard AI chatbot - a move to respond to Microsoft in the race for artificial intelligence technology.
More on the topic: Google bard

Duynguyen3007 said...

Google launched the Bard AI chatbot - a move to respond to Microsoft in the race for artificial intelligence technology.
More on the topic: Google bard