What ChatGPT has to Say About Chelsea


Photo by Doug Marrin

I recently sat down with artificial intelligence (AI) to hear what it had to say about Chelsea. The conversation was both interesting and provocative.

By now, maybe you’ve heard of ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence that will respond to prompts conversationally. It’s creating quite a stir in many ways, from writing computer code to investing to general information.

ChatGPT is a third-generation Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) language prediction model trained to produce text based on your input. The model is the product of OpenAI, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence research laboratory.

ChatGPT is in the research phase and has been made available to the public on a limited basis to expedite its human-like abilities through human interaction. It learns.

DM: Tell me about Chelsea Michigan

ChatGPT: Chelsea is a city located in Washtenaw County, Michigan, United States. It is situated about 10 miles southwest of Ann Arbor and about 30 miles west of Detroit. The city has a population of around 5,000 people and covers an area of about 3.9 square miles.

Chelsea is known for its picturesque downtown area, which features historic buildings and a vibrant Main Street. The city is also home to a number of parks, including Island Park and Veteran's Park, which offer recreational opportunities such as hiking, fishing, and picnic areas.

The city is also known for its strong sense of community, with a variety of events and activities throughout the year, including the Chelsea Farmers Market, the Chelsea Community Fair, and the Summer Concert Series.

In terms of education, Chelsea has a highly regarded public school district, as well as a number of private schools. The city is also home to a campus of Washtenaw Community College.

Overall, Chelsea is a friendly and vibrant community that offers a high quality of life for its residents, with a strong emphasis on community and recreation.

I really appreciated ChatGPT recognizing, “The city is also known for its strong sense of community.” Although we’ve had our differences, I still believe that and hope you do too.

But it gave some wrong information. OpenAI explains why.

“These models were trained on vast amounts of data from the internet written by humans, including conversations, so the responses it provides may sound human-like. It is important to keep in mind that this is a direct result of the system's design (i.e. maximizing the similarity between outputs and the dataset the models were trained on) and that such outputs may be inaccurate, untruthful, and otherwise misleading at times.”

ChatGPT has learned what it “knows” by consuming vast amounts of data from the internet, including hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia entries, social media posts, and news articles. OpenAI cautions that Chat GPT can be biased, and outputs need to be verified.

Great. OpenAI has created algorithms that mimic where we’re at already.

I pushed ChatGPT on one of its wrong answers.

DM: Name your source for "The city is also home to a campus of Washtenaw Community College."

ChatGPT: I apologize, but as an AI language model, I do not have access to a specific source for this information. This information is commonly known and can be easily found on the official website of Washtenaw Community College.

DM: Where is the Washtenaw Community College campus in Chelsea, MI, located?

ChatGPT: The Washtenaw Community College campus in Chelsea, Michigan is located at 710 West Middle Street, Chelsea, MI 48118.

DM: There is an empty lot at that address.

ChatGPT: I apologize for the error in my previous statement. It seems that the information I provided may be outdated or incorrect. Washtenaw Community College does not have a campus located in Chelsea, Michigan. The college has several campuses located throughout the Washtenaw County area, but none of them are in Chelsea. It's possible that the campus was relocated or closed, or the information I have is simply outdated. I suggest checking the Washtenaw Community College website for the most up-to-date and accurate information on their campus locations.

I appreciate the artificial humility of ChatGPT’s willingness to accept verified facts over its own wrong ideas from the internet, which, many believe, is the first sign of real intelligence.

OpenAI explains on its website that ChatGPT’s training data cuts off in 2021. “This means that it is completely unaware of current events, trends, or anything that happened after its training. It will not be able to respond appropriately to questions or topics that require up-to-date knowledge or information.”

During its experimental phase, ChatGPT is an enclosed system. It cannot access the internet, search engines, databases, or any other sources of information outside of its own model. It cannot verify facts, provide references, or perform calculations or translations. It can only generate responses based on the internal knowledge it has been given and algorithmic logic.

One of the growing dangers for us with the internet and artificial intelligence is that easy access to information can give us the illusion of intelligence. The trap we humans can fall into then is letting the internet and artificial intelligence do our thinking for us, scroll, scroll, scroll. The tail wags the dog while the dog thinks it can suddenly dance. Or, as Jim Harbaugh said, "Some people stand on third thinking they hit a triple."

I asked ChatGPT to weigh in on the subject of human thought and AI. It listed a few differences in detail. I’ll give you its summary, which is kind of the point.

DM: Compare artificial intelligence to human critical thinking abilities

ChatGPT: While AI systems can perform certain tasks faster and more accurately than humans, they lack the flexibility, creativity, emotional intelligence, and moral reasoning that are hallmarks of human critical thinking abilities.

So, maybe if there is a lesson in all this, it is that while the internet continues to expand and AI continues to develop, we want to remember to think for ourselves. There may be a deeper reason for checking that “I am not a robot” box.

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