The AtlanticThe Atlantic

ChatGPT has impostor syndrome

By Ross Andersen

28 Mar 2023 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

Can we take bots at their word? The Atlantic discusses AI language models’ higher cognitive abilities, and argues that we cannot trust the software to tell us about its own capabilities.

Young people catch heat for being overly focused on personal identity, but they’ve got nothing on ChatGPT. Toy with the bot long enough, and you’ll notice that it has an awkward, self-regarding tic: “As an AI language model,” it often says, before getting to the heart of the matter. This tendency is especially pronounced when you query ChatGPT about its own strengths and weaknesses. Ask the bot about its capabilities, and it will almost always reply with something like:

“As an AI language model, my primary function is …”

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