What If Someone Wants to Know about You Using ChatGPT? How ChatGPT Gets It All Wrong
Given the controversy around using ChatGPT to write all types of material — from articles and blogs to poetry, songs, and even books — and concerns about the inaccuracies and misinformation, did you every wonder what ChatGPT would say about you? Well, I did, so I decided to ask ChatGPT to write a biography of me and see how accurate it was. You can do the same — and it might be a way to find out any inaccuracies people get by trying to find out about you this way so you can correct them.
As I discovered, ChatGPT is not ready for Prime Time. In fact, when I regenerated my bio five times, it made different mistakes. I could have kept going to create even more bios, but I thought five times was enough.
Perhaps the one thing ChatGPT got right was the opening statement with variations on the overview that I am: in Version 1 “an accomplished American author, filmmaker, and sociologist who has published over 50 books in various genres, including self-help, business, and crime fiction, or in Version 2 that I am “a prolific author, filmmaker, and consultant who has written and published over 200 books, both fiction and non-fiction, covering a wide range of topics, including business, self-help, personal development, and social issues. She has also produced and directed over short films and videos.”
But after that the errors in the five bios piled up. For example, here are many of the errors:
- ChatGPT variously claimed I was born on March 16, 1944; April 13, 1944, June 22, 1945, July 17, 1948, and 1944 in San Francisco, California, but none of these dates are correct, and I was born in New York, New York. (I’m leaving out the actual date, since this might be used by scammers to steal personal identity information).
- ChatGPT got my family background wrong, such as in one bio claiming my father was a chemist and my mother was an artist, when my father was actually a tax lawyer and my mother was a teacher.
- ChatGPT got my education wrong, such as claiming in one bio that I got an MA and PhD in sociology and criminology (no, just sociology), and in another bio claiming that I received a PhD in sociology and communications (no, not in communications). Another bio was right about the PhD in sociology, but stated I got it from the University of California in Davis when it really was from Berkeley. And I did not do my doctoral dissertation on “Women in Prison: A Study of Adjustment to Incarceration.” Rather, I compared a spiritual growth group and a witchcraft group, later published as “Cult and Countercult” by Greenwood Press.
- Another incorrect statement was that I attended Lowell High School in San Francisco, where I grew up — no, no, it was Great Neck High School in Great Neck, New York.
- Plus I did not work as a research sociologist for the California Department of Corrections or the Institute for the Study of Crime and Delinquency, though I did work as and Evaluation Researcher and Project Director for Criminal Justice Projects for the Contra Costa Criminal Justice Agency in Concord California in the 1970s.
- Also wrong. I did not teach sociology at the University of New Orleans and the New College of California, though I did teach sociology for a few semesters at West Georgia College in Carrollton, Georgia and at San Francisco State.
- ChatGPT got the names of my books and films wrong, too. It falsely stated that I wrote several self-help titles, such as “The Very Next New Thing: Commentaries on the Latest Developments that Will Be Changing Your Life;” but this is a social commentary book, not a self-help book. Also, I did not write a crime fiction novel called “Murder, Treason, and Seduction,” though that might be a nice idea for a novel. Also, I did not write “The Complete Guide to Writing and Publishing Your First Book” and “The Secrets of Superstar Speakers,” though ChatGGT did correctly credit me with writing “A Survival Guide for Working with Bad Bosses” and “The New Middle Ages.” But it got the subtitle wrong for “The New Middle Ages,” stating it as “How the Growing Inequality and Segregation Threaten Our Future,” when it was actually “How the Growing Inequalities Between the Rich and Poor Threaten Our Way of Life.”
- Still other books wrongly attributed to me were “Finding the Right Job,” and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Self-Publishing,” though it did correctly credit me with “A Survival Guide to Working with Humans” and “A Survival Guide to Working with Bad Bosses.” However, while ChatGPT correctly credited me with “The Power of Fantasy,” it seemed to think it was a self-help book with the subtitle “Keep Your Goals in Reach,” when it was actually a pop sociology book with the subtitle: “Illusion and Eroticism in Everyday Life.” Then, too, I supposedly wrote “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Self-Publishing.” While I wrote two Idiot’s Guides on Shamanism and having a Sales Party, I didn’t write one on self-publishing, though I wrote other books on that topic, such as “Self-Publishing Secrets” and “Self-Publishing Your Book in Multiple Formats.”
- ChatGPT also got my film career all wrong. For example, it claimed I produced a documentary, “The Suicide Club” which “explores the phenomenon of underground social clubs in San Francisco” in one bio or “explores the world of suicide support groups” in another bio. In still another bio, ChatGPT lists this documentary as “The Suicide Prevention Handbook,” a documentary on social issues. But in fact, the one film I wrote and produced having anything to do with suicide is actually a dark comedy: “The Suicide Party #SaveDave,” about a guy losing everything who decides to throw a suicide party. If he can raise enough money to save his house and get back on his feet, he’ll live, and if not…well, that’s when he’ll commit suicide or maybe not.
- Still another mistake is claiming an unproduced script I wrote “The New Child” was a documentary which “examines the impact of technology on childhood development.” But not only was “The New Child” just a script, but it was the story of an American archaeologist working in Mexico who brings back genetic material from an ancient Mayan skeleton. Then, with the help of a scientist friend, he arranges for a surrogate to give birth to a child, since he and his wife can have one. Later, the child grows up wild with unexpected results.
- And the mistakes go on. ChatGPT became very inventive in crediting me with a number of documentaries I never made, such as “Rethinking Dyslexia” which “examines the experiences of dyslexic individuals and the challenges they face in a society that often stigmatizes their condition,” and the documentaries “Rethinking Crime and Punishment” and “Living with Money.” I made over a dozen documentaries, but not these.
- ChatGPT made up assorted awards for titles of books and films I didn’t write or produce and from organizations which didn’t give me these awards. For example, I supposedly received the American Sociological Association’s “Outstanding Book Award” and the Independent Publisher Book Awards’ “Most Inspirational to Youth Awards.” I’m not even sure those organizations have those awards to give out.
- I also did not receive a Telly Award for my film, “Injustice for All,” or a CINE Golden Eagle Award for my documentary, “The Call of the Entrepreneur.” Not only did I not write and produce those films, but I never received a Telly or Golden Eagle Award. Likewise, I did not receive a Telly Award in 2000 for the documentary “True Crime Authors,” which I didn’t write or produce. In fact, I didn’t start producing any films until 2014, starting with “The Suicide Party.”
- Still other awards I didn’t get though credited with by ChatGPT were the Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Award and being a finalist in the USA Book News Award.
- I also was not featured in some of the media outlets mentioned, such as The New York Times and Time Magazine, though I was featured in segments on CNN, Oprah, the Montel Williams Show, and Good Morning America.
- Another big mistake is that one of the bios describes me as an “accomplished artist, with a focus on digital art and photography,” and supposedly my works have been “exhibited in galleries in San Francisco, New York, and Paris.” Those credits might be nice, but they never happened. I might use stock photos to illustrate books and I exhibited photos in my 20s in some camera clubs, as for being an accomplished artist with gallery exhibits — no, not at all.
- Plus I did not become a full-time writer and consultant in the 1980s. I was still going to school, getting my law degree.
Just about the only thing that ChatGPT got right was some general comments about my working in a number of fields besides being a writer and filmmaker, including being a consultant, trainer, coach, speaker, and conducting workshops on seminars on a wide range of topics. And they got it right that I do seminars and workshops and speak on writing and publishing, personal and professional development, business communication, leadership skills, management, and social issues. Then, too, ChatGPT correctly credited me with creating a publishing and consulting company, Changemakers Publishing and Writing, dealing with a wide range of topics including business, psychology, relationships, and social issues.
But otherwise, almost everything else in this ChatGPT bio is completely WRONG! Talk about misinformation and inaccuracy. If I was a professor or teacher grading such a bio, I would give it a failing grade. I’m not sure how ChatGPT put together all of this incorrect information, since I have correct bios on my websites and on the websites of multiple organizations, including Amazon and several writing groups and business associations. There’s even a bio about me on Wikipedia. But for whatever reason, ChatGPT completely failed the test of generating a correct bio despite all the correct information about me, which is readily available online.
So all these errors raise the question: given this disaster of creating an accurate bio — despite five attempts to generate one, how can we trust ChatGPT or other AI text-generating programs to accurately write anything? This failed bio-creation task is certainly an example of why we still need humans to research and write accurate articles, books, and other materials.
In the meantime, if you are curious, ask ChatGPT to create your own biography, and see what the program has to say about you.
Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D. is the author of over 50 books with major publishers and has published 30 books through her company Changemakers Publishing and Writing (http://www.changemakerspublishingandwriting.com). She writes books and proposals for clients, and has written and produced over 50 short videos through Changemakers Productions. (http://www.changemakersproductions.com). Her latest book is I Was Scammed, available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Was-Scammed-Updated-Expanded-Becoming-ebook/dp/B09PNB38GJ. A paperback and hardcover are available, too. She is also the author of How to Find and Work with a Good Ghostwriter.