In a recent Web Summit held in Lisbon, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales expressed his reservations about considering ChatGPT as a reliable source, especially in light of the growing influence of generative AI. The summit, dominated by discussions on artificial intelligence, saw Wales raising concerns about the practicality of using ChatGPT for obtaining accurate information.
According to reports from Media, Wales acknowledged the entertainment value of ChatGPT, stating, “ChatGPT is a great thing to play with and so on. But when you start using it, you realize that what initially seems fantastic is pretty bad.”
Highlighting the potential implications of OpenAI’s collaboration with Microsoft, Wales predicted challenges for Google, emphasizing his role as a prominent voice on the internet regarding open source and dependable information.
Wales expressed skepticism about ChatGPT’s reliability as a source, stating, “I think we are still a long way from ChatGPT being a reliable source.” He cautioned startup founders about the risk of incorporating incorrect information into their digital products through ChatGPT-based APIs.
The Wikipedia founder suggested that while ChatGPT may be suitable for analyzing language patterns on platforms like Reddit and Twitter, it becomes problematic when dealing with factual information. Taking a swipe at Elon Musk, Wales commented, “I’m pretty happy that they read Wikipedia and not just Elon Musk’s Twitter – it’s not a good source of truth.”
Contrary to using generative AI for writing articles, Wales proposed its utility as a tool to enhance existing content. He suggested that AI could be employed to search for information to supplement Wikipedia articles. “I could ask the AI to find me some statements that are in these 10 articles that should be in this Wikipedia entry but are not there yet. And I think she’s pretty good at it. And if she’s only 70% right, that can still be a productivity boost,” he explained.
Wales acknowledged that Wikipedia played a crucial role in training ChatGPT, citing Wikipedia’s philosophy rooted in free software and the open-source ethos. He praised developers for their ethical approach but urged them to be vigilant against potential misuse of AI, stating, “It means they have to move a little bit faster.”
Jimmy Wales cast a critical eye on the role of ChatGPT in information dissemination, underlining the importance of ethical considerations and the ongoing challenges associated with the use of generative AI.