Comparing ChatGPT and Bing for a research literature review in April 2023

We wrote “ChatGPT Cites Economics Papers That Do Not Exist

I expect that problem to go away any day, so I gave it another try this week. For the record, they are currently calling it “ChatGPT Mar 23 Version” on the OpenAI website.

First, I asked ChatGPT for help with the following prompt:

ChatGPT is at it again. There is no such paper, as I will verify by showing John Duffy’s publications from that year: 

ChatGPT makes up lies (“hallucinations”). It is also great for some tasks, and smart people are already using it to become more productive. My post last week was on how impressive ChatGPT seemed in the Jonathan Swift impersonation. I didn’t take any time to do fact checking and I would bet money that at least something was made-up-facts in there.

I posed the same question to the Bing plug-in for the Edge browser (Microsoft). Yup, I have opened Edge for the first time in forever to use Bing.

Bing handles the prompt by linking to a useful relevant paper – so if you click the link you will get to a helpful and not misleading answer. Just being a smart search engine instead of hallucinating randomly is better, for my purposes.

The actual paper I wanted returned was this one, by the way:

Duffy, John. “Experimental macroeconomics.” Behavioural and Experimental Economics (2010): 113-119.

There is no reason that ChatGPT should be better than an expert in a subfield of a field of economics. But that’s the genius of a good search engine. You ask it “Can I repair a broken fiddlewhat?” The search engine does not claim to know but rather directs you to the blog of the world expert in fiddlewhats.

I can’t find the link to it, but I’m going to toss in one more thing here. Tyler Cowen did an interview this Spring on AI. There was a newspaper reporter who had a “creepy” interaction with an AI that made for the topic of a viral internet article. Tyler made a very contrarian point by saying that he interprets this as a case of AI alignment. The reporter wanted something sensational and he got what he wanted.

So, it will probably be true for a long time that if you want to find a failure of AI, you can get what you want. Still, I’m putting this on the record here because I wonder if this particular problem will get solved quickly.

2 thoughts on “Comparing ChatGPT and Bing for a research literature review in April 2023

  1. tiwarisac April 15, 2023 / 11:11 am

    Spot on, with the last paragraph. Used ChatGPT for work today, for the first time. It’s a useful assistant primed for productivity.

    Liked by 1 person

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