ChatGPT accuses law professor of sexual harassment
Occurred: April 2023
George Washington university law professor Jonathan Turley has been falsely accused by ChatGPT of sexually assaulting students on educational trips to Alaska. To support its case, the model cited a non-existent Washington Post article. The accusation was later repeated by Microsoft's Bing GPT-4-powered search chat.
ChatGPT had been asked by UCLA's Eugene Volokh to describe scandals involving American law professors being accused of sexual harassment and to cite media sources. However, in an USA Today editorial Jonathan Turley said he had never been to Alaska with students, the Post article never existed, and he had 'never been accused of sexual harassment or assault by anyone.'
The incident prompted commentators to question the accuracy and reliability of ChatGPT, and its ability to produce misinformation and disinformation. It also prompted legal experts to discuss the benefits and risks of using defamation as a defence against inaccurate and damaging accusations made by systems like ChatGPT.
Operator: OpenAI; Microsoft
Developer: OpenAI; Microsoft
Sector: Multiple; Research/academia
Purpose: Provide information, communicate
Technology: Chatbot; NLP/text analysis; Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning; Reinforcement learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Mis/disinformation
Transparency: Governance; Black box
News, commentary, analysis
Published: April 2023