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January 20, 2023

What Is ChatGPT, and Is It Woke?

A new artificial intelligence can write complete essays for you, but not about certain topics or theses.

Writing a term paper has never been easier. Thanks to ChatGPT, launched this past November by San Francisco startup OpenAI, anyone can request a school essay on any topic and have it in their hands in minutes. The generator can also produce an email, cover letter, poem, or song. It’s continuously adapting as it learns the patterns of human language, but it’s already raising concerns.

Some school districts across the country have already banned ChatGPT to prevent students from cheating, including the New York City public school system. “The decision by the largest U.S. school district to restrict the ChatGPT website on school devices and networks could have ripple effects on other schools, and teachers scrambling to figure out how to prevent cheating,” reports the Associated Press. “The creators of ChatGPT say they’re also looking for ways to detect misuse.”

But cheating isn’t the only issue that’s popped up since the program’s launch. You see, ChatGPT seems to be woke.

“As with similar systems,” the AP says, “ChatGPT can generate convincing prose, but that doesn’t mean what is says is factual or logical. Its launch came with little guidance for how to use it, other than a promise ChatGPT will admit when it’s wrong, challenge ‘incorrect premises’ and reject requests meant to generate offensive answers.”

“Incorrect premises” according to what standard? “Offensive” to whom? That’s the rub, isn’t it? The program has been designed to flag any information its creators deem to be inappropriate.

For example, if a user asks the program to write an essay on the benefits of drag queen story hour, it’ll gladly churn it out. On the other hand, it refuses to write an essay about why drag queen story hour is inappropriate or harmful to children.

ChatGPT also refuses to produce reports on negative side effects of the COVID vaccines. Furthermore, according to Nate Hochman at National Review, it will gladly write a piece of fiction in which Hillary Clinton defeats Donald Trump in 2016, but it won’t create a story about Trump defeating Joe Biden in 2020. Indeed, Hochman investigated the various possibilities and limitations of ChatGPT, and he concludes: “The new chatbot is happy to pen long, in-depth stories regarding any number of popular progressive fantasies. … But it refuses to indulge the right-wing alternatives, citing the danger of ‘misinformation.’”

“Technologies such as ChatGPT appear poised to enforce a distinctly progressive value system — even in areas where those values are at odds with the beliefs of most Americans — without having considered the interests of the people who may eventually rely on these technologies,” he adds. “That should worry any free, self-governing people.”

How, exactly, does ChatGPT make sure the user is adhering to the woke cabal running it from behind the scenes? The program has some built-in capabilities developed by humans, such as “hate,” “hate/threatening,” “violence,” “sexual/minors,” and others in order to filter content.

While some of these limitations are certainly necessary, the human element in ChatGPT allows it to be tailored to favor certain viewpoints as it continues to evolve over time. This is essentially how platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were manipulated against those with right-leaning viewpoints.

“OpenAI is making improvements to the technology,” according to political analyst Shelby Kearns. “As OpenAI relies on user feedback and its developers for improvements, the company has shared no information suggesting how ChatGPT might avoid the anti-conservative bias of other companies in the technology sector.”

Conservatives have every reason to be suspicious based on our experiences with various Big Tech platforms, and we ought to be vigilant in insisting the humans behind the ChatGPT machine resist the temptation to use this as another way to control and filter differing viewpoints.

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