Last week, the Microsoft Travel section of MSN.com posted an AI-generated article about “must-see” attractions in Ottawa that included the Ottawa Food Bank, an actual charitable organization that feeds to struggling families. In the text of its recommendation, Microsoft’s AI model writes, “Consider entering it on an empty stomach.”
Entitled, “Headed to Ottawa? Here’s what you shouldn’t miss!,” (archive here) the article extols the qualities of the Canadian city and recommends attending the Winterlude festival (which takes place only in February), visiting a Ottawa Senators game , and skating at “The World’s Largest Naturallyfrozen Ice Rink” (sic).
As the No. 3 destination on the list, Microsoft Travel suggests a visit to the Ottawa Food Bank, probably taken from a summary found online but capped by a bad turn of phrase.
The organization has been collecting, buying, producing, and delivering food to needy people and families in the Ottawa area since 1984. We observe how hunger affects men, women, and children every day, and how it can be a barrier. to achieve. . People who come to us have jobs and families to support, as well as expenses to pay. Life is hard. Consider taking it on an empty stomach.
That last line is an example of the kind of empty platitude (or embarrassingly false summary) that can easily be found in AI-generated writing, inserted thoughtlessly because the AI model of behind the article does not understand the context of what it does.
The article is credited to “Microsoft Travel,” and it is likely the product of a large language model (LLM), a type of AI model trained on a vast scrap of text found on the Internet. Microsoft partner OpenAI is producing waves of LLMs called GPT-3 in 2020 and GPT-4 in 2023, both of which can mimic human writing styles but are often used for inappropriate tasks , according to critics.
Since announcing a deep investment and partnership with ChatGPT-maker OpenAI in January and the emergence of Bing Chat the following month, Microsoft has been experimenting with integrating AI-generated content into its online publications and services, such as adding AI-generated stories to Bing Search and including AI-generated App review summaries in the Microsoft Store. “Microsoft Travel” appears to be another production tool of generative AI technology.
First noted by technology writer Paris Marx at Bluesky, the Ottawa Food Bank post began gaining traction on social media on Thursday. In response to Marx’s post, LLM’s frequent critic Emily Bender said, “I can’t find anything on that page that notes it’s obviously done by AI. It seems like a huge failure of both of their principles of ‘Responsible AI’.”
Bender also points to Microsoft’s policies; one is “Transparency,” and reads, “How might people misunderstand, misuse, or misjudge the system’s capabilities?” and the other is “Accountability,” which says, “How do we create oversight so that people can be held accountable and controlled?”
Judging by the content of the Ottawa article, it is more likely that a person was not responsible for writing the article and that no one fully reviewed its content before publication, which means that Microsoft is publishing AI-generated content on the Internet that is small. – no objection.
Microsoft was not immediately available for comment at the time of publication.