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ChatGPT invented a sexual harassment scandal and named a real law professor as the accused

By Pranshu Verma and Will Oremus

05 Apr 2023 · 7 min read

Editor's Note

ChatGPT made up a false accusation citing non-existent news articles for a question on sexual harassment. The Washington Post speaks to experts on how or if one can get around such hallucinations.

One night last week, the law professor Jonathan Turley got a troubling email. As part of a research study, a fellow lawyer in California had asked the AI chatbot ChatGPT to generate a list of legal scholars who had sexually harassed someone. Turley's name was on the list.

The chatbot, created by OpenAI, said Turley had made sexually suggestive comments and attempted to touch a student while on a class trip to Alaska, citing a March 2018 article in The Washington Post as the source of the information. The problem: No such article existed. There had never been a class trip to Alaska. And Turley said he'd never been accused of harassing a student.

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