AI Prompt Chain and My Creepy Genealogy Result

Prompt Chaining in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to me just means taking baby steps to get to your desired end product. It’s like wanting your three year old to follow four directions but that’s too much so you give them three and then add the fourth.

What I wanted to do was use AI to extract (pull out) key parts of newspaper articles about my grandfather Edwin Anton Leininger to do the following:

Create an executive summary of the articles

List the FAN club noted in the articles

Determine the FAN Club relationship to my grandfather

List locations from the articles

Note dates from the articles

Create a narrative based on the relationships and key details from the articles

Think about how long this would take you to do. It took ChatGPT less than 5 minutes.

Was it entirely accurate? Nope, and here’s where it got creepy.

My first step was to select six newspaper articles over the time period my grandfather lived and from various locations. Chat GPT can only handle about four newspaper articles at a time so I uploaded those first sets (one from 1918 where he was collecting money for the war effort for YMCA in Ohio, a 1970 article about the historic dairy farm he once ran in Indiana, a 1950 story about a calf who had escaped from the farm, a 1940 article about him buying the farm). I didn’t upload them in chronological order. I then asked for a summary of the four articles. What I received was all correct; each article had the heading taken from the article and key points bulleted.

Next I uploaded his obituary and a photo from 1944 with a short heading of his job with the railroads. I asked AI to add the two latest articles to the summary.

But AI has a short memory so what I received was the summary for just the two last articles. I wrote a new prompt asking for a creation of an executive summary for the articles combined.

AI did as I asked so I then requested to extract the names and provide relationships. I also asked to list locations from the articles. Here’s where it got weird!

First, there were errors with names. I quickly figured out Mrs. Troncale was misread and should have been Tronolone. AI didn’t figure out that my grandfather was listed by different names – Edwin A., E.A., and Ed. AI thought these were all separate individuals. It also placed locations with names; technically this is correct as the name of a dairy is a name and I hadn’t given a clear direction for geographic names only.

I informed AI of the mistakes/corrections and received a new list. I then asked AI to substitute first names for women who had “Mrs.” only. That was done correctly.

In reviewing the last list three names appeared that were related to my grandfather but I didn’t recall those being in the articles. I went back and read all six articles. Nope, none of these names appeared. Where did this come from?

I asked Chat GPT to let me know where the names were found. I received an apology and a name removal.

The creepy part here is that the names were correctly related to my grandfather. One was his sister, another was his mother-in-law, and the third was his grandfather. How in the world did AI happen to select the right first and last names that were related to him?

We know AI is not 100% accurate but to select three people, all with different last names, and tie them to the extraction when they weren’t listed in simply weird. So I asked (response above). The response doesn’t provide the answer. I don’t believe AI is psychic and the information came from somewhere. I suspect that information is in fact being pulled externally and perhaps not now, but had been in training.

The end product, a summary of the six newspaper articles taken from throughout my grandfather’s life, was correct. Here it is:

A Legacy Through Time
Edwin Leininger, often referred to by his acquaintances as Ed or E.A. Leininger, led a life characterized by commitment and dedication. Born in Mercer County, Ohio, he later made Fort Wayne his home for nine years. Professionally, Edwin was recognized for his unwavering commitment to the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he diligently worked as a car inspector. Later in life, he became an
indispensable figure at the Hobart post office, where he was affectionately referred to as “the man with the muscles.” For years, he efficiently managed both outgoing and incoming mail, handling approximately 9,500 pieces of outgoing mail and 2,000 pieces of incoming mail daily.
On the personal front, Edwin’s life was richly woven with familial bonds. In his earlier years, he was married to Lola Leininger. Together, they embraced the joys of parenthood with the birth of their children: a son, Guy Leininger; a daughter, Mrs. Bonita Cook; and another daughter who later became Mrs. Ted Tronolone. Later in life, Edwin’s heart found companionship again with Gladys
Leininger. Through this union, Edwin warmly welcomed Gladys’ three sons, Duane, Donald, and Capt. Robert Landfair, as his step-sons.
Edwin’s family circle extended further with his brothers, Sam and Lew Leininger, and a sister, Bertha, who later became Bertha Pifer. The bond of the Leiningers remained strong, binding them together through the tapestry of time.
In 1976, Edwin’s journey on Earth reached its sunset in Fort Wayne. Yet, his legacy—reflected in his professional dedication, familial bonds, and community impact—lives on.

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