Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says OpenAI’s ChatGPT is currently a “mess” when used to write articles on the platform, often getting information wrong and making up sources.
Wales called a Wikipedia article written with ChatGPT-4 “terrible” and stressed the need for accuracy and unbiased information in the online encyclopedia, which serves as a crucial source for AI training. A
According to Wales, GPT-4 “really misses out on a lot and it get things wrong, and it gets things wrong in a plausible way and it makes up sources and it’s a mess.”
In April, Wales sounded a bit more positive. He said that helpful AI articles were “certainly closer than I would have thought two years ago,” but he was skeptical even then, saying that he saw a risk that AI could reinforce pre-existing biases on Wikipedia.
AI could help in other ways
Despite his criticism, Wales is open to the potential role of AI in supporting Wikipedia. He is considering partnerships with open-source AI companies and exploring tools that could help identify inaccuracies in articles or use AI to evaluate Wikipedia articles for contradictions and identify information gaps by comparing Wikipedia’s database with global knowledge.
Last August, Meta unveiled PEER, a collaborative language model trained on Wikipedia’s editing history to reason about text changes as a writing assistant.
Previously, Meta demonstrated Side, an open-source AI model designed to review and improve Wikipedia sources. Side can automatically review hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia sources, alert editors to any that may be incorrect or irrelevant, and suggest better alternatives. There is no partnership between Meta and Wikimedia, the operator of Wikipedia.