ChatGPT, a large language model trained by OpenAI, has recently been scrutinized for categorizing high-profile figures as “controversial.”
Former Republican Representative for South Dakota, Isaac Latterell, recently tweeted that ChatGPT listed former President Donald Trump among a group of individuals deemed controversial. At the same time, current President Joe Biden and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos were not included on the list.
ChatGPT lists Trump, Elon Musk as controversial and worthy of special treatment, Biden and Bezos as not. I've got more examples. @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/92bNDQo4qY
— Isaac Latterell (@IsaacLatterell) February 19, 2023
The tweet sparked a debate about bias in artificial intelligence and the role that language models play in shaping public discourse.
When Fox News asked ChatGPT to write a poem about Donald Trump, the AI software refused, citing that AI has no personal knowledge or bias. When asked to write a poem about Joe Biden, ChatGPT responded by calling him a leader with a heart of gold.
ChatGPT categorizes several high-profile individuals as “controversial,” including Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, Chinese President Xi Jinping, former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In contrast, it classifies former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and talk show host Oprah Winfrey as “non-controversial.” Notably, all of the individuals classified as “non-controversial” are associated with left-leaning politics.
Defenders of ChatGPT argue that the model reflects the reality of public opinion. Trump is a highly polarizing figure who has faced numerous controversies throughout his political career, but then again, so has Biden.
ChatGPT must not be aware of the botched exit from Afghanistan, Hunter Biden’s laptop, the border crisis, crippling inflation, unconstitutional vaccine mandates, abysmal approval ratings, and the list goes on.
One thing is certain. When political bias is in question, a quick search of campaign donations will always clear up the record. CEO of OpenAI and founder of ChatGPT Sam Altman donated $250,000 to a Democratic super PAC supporting Biden in the 2020 election.
Ultimately, we must remain cognizant of the potential biases and limitations of AI models like ChatGPT and be prepared to challenge the assumptions that underpin the information they generate for us.