In December, I blogged about a creepy AI discovery I had made when testing ChatGPT’s ability to extract and summarize from newspaper articles. Information in the summary was provided by AI that was no where in the articles uploaded. Although errors like this, called hallucinations, are known to happen with this budding tool, the information that AI proved was 100% correct. That’s what made this feel creepy. How did it know more about my family than the articles I entered?!
You can read the blog I’m referring to here.
I’m now enrolled in my second AI for Genealogy class through the National Genealogical Society and my instructor, Steve Little, noted in class this past week that AI was trained by, among other information, through blog posts.
Bingo! That explains how ChatGPT got my correct ancestors to include in the summary as I have blogged extensively about my Leininger and Landfair families.
Since I’ve blogged about my families for years much of my research is available online. I’ve spoken with other family historians who haven’t had as good a result as I have with using AI. Perhaps this is why I’m getting the results that I am.
When the world wide web was in its infancy, I had difficulty with understanding the concept that once something is place there you can’t get rid of it. Sure, websites come and go but the information is still out there if you look hard enough with tools like the Wayback Machine. Personally, I was involved with an educator only web in the early 1990s and on the world wide web since 1995 so my digital footprint is a large size. Who knew that it would be a help to me with the latest technology?!
If AI is not giving you the results you’d like, I’d suggest that you upload the info you’re working with as a pdf when you prompt it. This might also be a good time for you to start blogging about your family. I will be providing more info on how to do that next week. Happy Hunting!