09 May AI machines aren’t ‘hallucinating’. But their makers are.
May 8, 2023
By Naomi Klein
Tech CEOs want us to believe that generative AI will benefit humanity. They are kidding themselves
Inside the many debates swirling around the rapid rollout of so-called artificial intelligence, there is a relatively obscure skirmish focused on the choice of the word “hallucinate”.
This is the term that architects and boosters of generative AI have settled on to characterize responses served up by chatbots that are wholly manufactured, or flat-out wrong. Like, for instance, when you ask a bot for a definition of something that doesn’t exist and it, rather convincingly, gives you one, complete with made-up footnotes. “No one in the field has yet solved the hallucination problems,” Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and Alphabet, told an interviewer recently.
That’s true – but why call the errors “hallucinations” at all? Why not algorithmic junk? Or glitches?