Nomad Life

Real or No Real: AI Version. Who wants to play?

Artificial intelligence mania has gripped the world. Proponents are hailing a new era of technology. Others are urging a stop to research until humanity has fully examined the possible consequences of what has been unleashed on the world.   People are using AI for writing everything from job applications to children’s books. The art industry is up in arms. Companies are sacking workers. Even a US lawyer was found to be using AI for case reasearch.

My opinion? It’s totally over-hyped. I tend to agree with the author of this article who details why the AI we have is not “true AI”. Yes, it’s exciting that you can get a tidy answer to any question you like. The novelty soon wore off for me though and I quickly began to loath the uniform paragraphs and sterile lines of prose. But maybe that’s just me!

Anyway, the point of this article is that we asked AI a few questions and received some interesting responses. Can you tell which of the following answers is not true?

Response from OpenAI:

 “Yes, there is a connection between the Finns and the Hungarians, although it is not a direct link. Both the Finnish and Hungarian languages belong to the Uralic language family, which suggests a common ancestral language that was spoken by their distant linguistic relatives.

The Uralic language family includes a group of languages spoken primarily in northeastern Europe and western Siberia. It is distinct from the Indo-European language family, which includes languages like English, Spanish, and Hindi.

The linguistic connection between Finnish and Hungarian suggests that both languages share a common origin and were likely spoken by people who lived in close proximity in ancient times. However, it’s important to note that this linguistic connection does not imply a direct genetic or ethnic link between modern Finns and Hungarians.

The migration and dispersion of Uralic-speaking people throughout history led to the development of different branches within the Uralic language family. The ancestors of the Finns and the Hungarians were once part of the same broader Uralic-speaking group but eventually separated and migrated to their respective regions.

So while the Finns and the Hungarians share a linguistic connection through their Uralic heritage, any historical or genetic connections between their respective modern populations would require additional analysis and study.”

Despite the fact that Hungary and Finland seem far apart in distance and pretty much everything else, their language does share a common ancestor. This means Finnish, Hungarian along with Estonian and Maltese are the only languages in the EU to not be part of the “Indo-European” language family. Interesting stuff!

Question 2: Is there a story behind the Bulgarian tradition of giving little messages with coffee?

Response from OpenAI:

“Yes, there is a story behind the Bulgarian tradition of giving a small note, similar to a fortune cookie message, when someone orders coffee. This tradition is known as “соленка” (solennka), which roughly translates to “a small note” or “a tiny message.” The origin of this tradition can be traced back to Bulgaria’s communist era.

During the communist regime, there were strict regulations on public gatherings and discussions. However, coffee houses became popular meeting places where people could socialize and exchange ideas more freely. To avoid suspicion and potential surveillance, people developed a unique way of communicating discreetly.

In coffee houses, customers would write down their thoughts, opinions, or messages on small pieces of paper and exchange them with others. These notes would often contain political, philosophical, or humorous messages. By passing the notes secretly, Bulgarians were able to express their opinions and engage in conversations without drawing unwanted attention.

Over time, this practice evolved into a cherished tradition. Today, when ordering a cup of coffee in many Bulgarian cafes, you will often receive a small note with a message or quote attached to the cup or saucer. These notes can range from inspiring quotes, jokes, or philosophical thoughts to simple wishes for a good day.

The tradition of giving solenki has become a symbol of friendship, warmth, and connection in Bulgarian culture. It adds an element of surprise and intrigue to the coffee-drinking experience, allowing people to enjoy a small moment of reflection or amusement while savoring their cup of coffee.

So, next time you order a coffee in Bulgaria, keep an eye out for the solenka and enjoy the unique tradition that carries with it a piece of Bulgarian history and culture.”

You might think, from the insane amounts of detail in this answer, including a “Bulgarian” word and references to Bulgaria’s communist history, that this answer is correct. It’s not. The practice was actually started as a marketing ploy in around the year 2000 by a coffee house in Sofia; I included this in my post ‘6 Fascinating Facts You Didn’t Know About Bulgaria‘.

Response from OpenAI:

“Yes, there is a historical link between the Welsh in Wales and the Welsh in Switzerland. The connection can be traced back to the early medieval period when Celtic tribes migrated across Europe. During this time, a group of Welsh-speaking people from what is now Wales settled in the canton of Valais in Switzerland.

The Welsh settlers in Switzerland were known as the “Walliser” or “Gwaliaid” in Welsh, which means “people from Gwalia.” They maintained their Welsh language, culture, and traditions while integrating into the local Swiss society. Over time, the Welsh language gradually diminished among the community, but some remnants and linguistic influences remain.

One of the notable legacies of the Welsh in Switzerland is the St. David’s Society of Geneva, founded in 1927, which aims to preserve Welsh culture and promote friendship between Wales and Switzerland. The society organizes events and gatherings, celebrates St. David’s Day (the national day of Wales), and fosters connections between the Welsh community in Switzerland and their Welsh counterparts in Wales.

Despite the geographical separation, the Welsh in Wales and the Welsh in Switzerland share a common heritage and cultural identity rooted in their Welsh origins. While the Welsh communities in Wales and Switzerland have developed separately over the centuries, the historical connection continues to be acknowledged and celebrated by both groups.”

Although the Welsh and the Swiss are both descended from Celtic tribes, the Swiss migrated from Southern Germany, not from Wales.

“Welsch”, anglised to Welsh, is an informal/colloquial term used for the people living in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Curiously, the word has the same origins as the English word meaning people from Wales. It’s derived from a proto-Germanic word which meant “foreigner” (specifically, one who spoke a Romance language).

This answer shares some of the same attributes as the previous one, including legitimate-sounding words (Walliser does mean someone from Canton Valais (interestingly, Valais has the same root as the word “Wales”) and “Gwaliaid” seems to mean something but I can’t find a proper definition. Gwailia is an old word for the country Wales). Close, AI, but not close enough.

Without checking the responses against other sources, I think we can agree that all the answers are VERY convincing! The tidy prose, the little details, the historical connections… they all add up to something which sounds factual but is riddled with errors.

Take the second example, for instance. I was researching something I noticed in Bulgaria for a post: in coffee shops you get these little notes when you buy a coffee (like a fortune cookie message). I wanted to know the story behind it, as it’s something unique that I hadn’t seen before. After searching for a good while on Google and not finding anything, I decided to give OpenAI a shot.

The answer it gave was so convincing – to the point of even inventing a Bulgarian word – that I was definitely fooled at first. However, I made sure to check up on the answer. After searching the fake Bulgarian word and only getting hits for a Serbian biscuit, I was suspicious. I asked the AI to produce some sources of information where I could read more about the answer it had given.

Response from AI:

” I can provide you with a few websites where you can find information about the Bulgarian tradition of giving small notes with coffee:

1. My Bulgaria: This website offers a brief overview of the Bulgarian coffee culture, including the tradition of solenki (small notes). You can find it at:

2. Culture Trip: Culture Trip provides an article on Bulgarian coffee culture, which touches on the tradition of leaving small notes with coffee orders. You can read it at:

3. Atlas Obscura: Atlas Obscura features a description of the Bulgarian coffee note tradition, discussing its origins and cultural significance. You can find it at:

Please note that it’s always a good practice to cross-reference information from multiple sources to ensure accuracy and get a comprehensive understanding of the topic.”

Totally fabricated URLs! The audacity!

I did a lot more digging on the internet and eventually unearthed the real story. After discovering this, I was happy to confirm the information from the AI was nonsense.

Information spreads so quickly these days; we already have an enormous issue with fake news flooding the internet, we don’t need another source of it backed up by people’s unfounded faith in artificial “intelligence”. It only takes a few people to re-post, quote, rewrite and summarise a fake answer before it begins populating your Google search results and it becomes hard to determine the credibility.

Fair play to OpenAI – they give you plenty of warning. Under the search bar is the very clear message: “Free Research Preview. ChatGPT may produce inaccurate information about people, places, or facts”. Yet people are already hooked. No one checks the misinformation popping up on their Facebook and Twitter feeds. They’re not going to be checking the answers OpenAI gives. All hail a new era of fake news.

Despite the fact that it’s vulnerable to misuse, particularly in the hands of people who don’t understand the limitations, that’s not to say the technology has no appreciable benefits. One of the best uses I’ve seen for AI so far is a comment from a Redditor who said he’s blind and uses AI to describe images. AI is helping him “see” the internet. I believe and hope that this is the future for AI; as a human-directed tool, rather than a replacement for humans.

What do you think about AI? Have you noticed any problems? Has it provided a solution for you? Let me know in the comments or write to me on Facebook (Hopelessly Nomantic), Instagram (Hopelessly_Nomantic) or Twitter (HopelesNomantic).

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