GPT-2 dupes Medicaid

January 2021

WIRED reports that a Harvard medical student has been able to fool volunteers into thinking automatically generated comments submitted about a Medicaid proposal were real.

Of the 1,000 or so comments on proposed changes to Idaho's Medicaid programme on the medicaid.gov website, half had been generated by student Max Weiss using OpenAI's GPT-2 large language model.

Troublingly, Weiss' research shows Medicaid users were unable to distinguish real comments from fake ones.

The stunt demonstrates how easily large language systems such as OpenAI's GPT-2 can be deployed to produce effective misinformation and disinformation campaigns.

  • Operator: OpenAI

  • Developer: OpenAI

  • Country: USA

  • Sector: Govt - health

  • Purpose: Generate natural language

  • Technology: NLP/text analysis

  • Issue: Mis/disinformation; Dual/multi-use

  • Transparency: Black box