Wikipedia is one of the most widely-used sources of information in the world. As impressive as it is, the online encyclopedia of human knowledge isn’t a perfect repository of information. It’s an amalgamation of human-submitted content that can be fallible and susceptible to bias. However, the advent of advanced AI raises an interesting question: should an AI be involved in the creation of its entries to facilitate the process?
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has some mixed feelings about this idea, but he’s unwilling to completely disregard the possibility. “The discussion in the Wikipedia community that I’ve seen so far is… people are cautious in the sense that we’re aware that the existing models are not good enough but also intrigued because there seems like there’s a lot of possibility here,” Wales told UK newspaper The Evening Standard.
However, Wales also pointed out that AI models such as ChatGPT have a tendency to “hallucinate,” which is an act that he prefers to call “lying.” “It has a tendency to just make stuff up out of thin air which is just really bad for Wikipedia — that’s just not OK,” he told the newspaper. “We’ve got to be really careful about that.”
Despite these shortcomings, the Wikipedia founder acknowledged that there might be some interesting uses for AI when it comes to writing and fact-checking entries. For example, an AI could “see if there are any statements that contradict each other” in two Wikipedia entries, or “identify tensions where one article seems to be saying something slightly different to the other.”
Fortunately, “a lot of people in the AI world are focused” on the problem of bias, Wales argued, which means it may be a while until Wikipedia contributors start relying on AI chatbots to complete entries. This delay might ultimately be a good thing, as it would give the likes of OpenAI, Microsoft, and Google time to iron out the many kinks.
In conclusion, while the possibility of AI contributing to Wikipedia’s entries is an intriguing prospect, it’s important to consider the limitations and potential issues that may arise. As Wales pointed out, AI has its shortcomings, and it’s crucial to be cautious and careful in implementing such technology to ensure that Wikipedia’s accuracy and reliability are maintained.