[Ads-l] Chat GPT on "gray" versus "grey"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 24 04:54:09 UTC 2023

The Bing Chatbot attempts to provide links that support its remarks.
On March 21, 2023 I had an interesting interaction when I asked about
a quotation. See below:

[[Begin interaction]]
Question for Bing: Who said "Death pulls by the ear and cries. Live
while you may"?

[Begin Bing response]
Searching for: "Death pulls by the ear and cries. Live while you may" author

Generating answers for you…
I’m sorry, but I couldn’t find any information on who said “Death
pulls by the ear and cries. Live while you may”. Could you please
provide more context or information?
[End Bing response]

Question for Bing: Did Virgil say something similar?

[Begin Bing response]
Searching for: Did Virgil say "Death pulls by the ear and cries. Live
while you may"?
Searching for: Virgil quote "Death pulls by the ear and cries. Live
while you may"
Searching for: Virgil quote "Death twitches my ear; 'Live,' he says...
'I'm coming.'"

Generating answers for you…
Yes, Virgil did say something similar. The quote is “Death twitches my
ear; ‘Live,’ he says… ‘I’m coming.’”

Footnote 1 https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/641180-death-twitches-my-ear-live-he-says-i-m-coming
Footnote 2 https://brokenpeople.blog/2017/06/07/live-says-death-i-am-coming/
[End Bing response]
[End Interaction]]

This is fascinating because Bing rephrased the quotation and found a
match. Unfortunately, the supporting link points to goodreads which is
notorious for presenting inaccurate quotations and attributions. Thus,
chatbots like Bing that are attempting to be more rigorous still rely
on faulty data from low-quality websites.


On Fri, Mar 24, 2023 at 12:37 AM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> GPT-3 will happily fabricate quotations. Below are five examples of
> this behavior from an article on Medium.
> Website: Medium
> Article title: Keys to the GPT paradox of hallucination vs brilliance
> Author: Paul Pallaghy
> Date: Mar 18 2023
> https://medium.com/@paul.k.pallaghy/origin-of-the-gpt-paradox-hallucination-vs-virtual-super-humanness-3ea4cf65fe76
> [Begin excerpt]
> Hallucination example
> GPT-3 listed 5 beautiful quotes for me that sounded exactly like they
> were opined by these thought leaders:
> “When you’re talking about abundance, you’re talking about the idea
> that technology can provide more of what we need with less of what we
> don’t.” –Tony Seba
> “The miracle of compounding returns will make the 21st century the era
> of unprecedented abundance.” –Ray Kurzweil
> “Through technology, we can create a world of abundance rather than
> scarcity.” –Jeff Bezos
> “We are living in an age of abundance, where technology is enabling us
> to meet the needs of a growing population without depleting our
> resources.” –Cathie Wood
> “We want to accelerate the trend of making energy abundant and cheap,
> allowing humanity to flourish and reach its full potential.” –Elon
> Musk
> I couldn’t find a single one of them on the internet!
> [End excerpt]
> Garson
> On Thu, Mar 23, 2023 at 6:41 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > It's easy enough to establish that these quotes are as bogus as any other
> > ones that ChatGPT generates. If they were real, then any phrase would show
> > up in a search on Google Books or Internet Archive, but they don't. AFAIK,
> > Noah Webster never held forth on the "gray" vs. "grey" distinction even if
> > he did give "gray" preferential treatment in his dictionaries and spellers.
> >
> > --Ben
> >
> > On Thu, Mar 23, 2023 at 4:46 PM Ben Yagoda <byagoda at udel.edu> wrote:
> >
> > > For a book based on my blog Not One-Off Britishisms (
> > > notoneoffbritishisms.com), I have been looking into the two spellings
> > > “gray” (mostly American) and “grey” (mostly British, though gaining in the
> > > U.S., probably due in part to “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Fifty Shades of Grey”).
> > > I’ve been experimenting with ChatGPT and asked it about Noah Webster’s
> > > treatment of the spelling of the word. It provided me, among other
> > > information, with two quotes:
> > >
> > > "Here's a quote from Noah Webster's 'An American Dictionary of the English
> > > Language' (1828) about the spelling of ‘gray': 'The common color of animals
> > > of the mouse kind is gray in America and grey in England. This difference
> > > of orthography renders it desirable to fix the orthography of this language
> > > on this point. In America, the spelling gray is most common in reputable
> > > authors, and is uniform in the best writings from the first settlement of
> > > the country. It has therefore a claim to preference. But usage, though not
> > > uniform, is in favor of grey in England, and this reason seems to give it a
> > > preference in a general system of the language.'
> > >
> > > "Here's another quote from Noah Webster's 'The American Spelling Book'
> > > (1783), where he favored the spelling ''gray' over ‘grey': 'The first
> > > [spelling] is American, and the other English. The sound of the word is in
> > > favour of the former; and analogy requires us to adopt the latter. But
> > > custom, or long established use, has rendered it proper in England to write
> > > grey. In America, however, we write gray.’”
> > >
> > > They’re great quotes, but the problem is I don’t trust them. In my brief
> > > experience with the chatbot, it’s provided me with some useful information,
> > > but in other cases it offers up bullshit. When challenged, it sometimes
> > > backs down, and sometimes doubles down. I have been unable to find these
> > > quotes in online versions of these texts, and when I asked Chat GPT to
> > > provide page numbers or links, it said it wasn’t able to do so, for reasons
> > > that sounded suspicious to me.
> > >
> > > In any case, if anyone has insight or information about the provenance or
> > > accuracy of the two quotes, I would be grateful.
> > >
> > > Ben
> > >
> > >
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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