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When AI Hallucinates - Understanding Terms for Fake AI Content

As AI chatbots like ChatGPT become more capable of generating persuasive text, concerns arise around artificial intelligence fabricating fictional details. Recent situations highlight risks when lawyers rely on AI-authored legal documents without proper verification.


In one case, a lawyer used a ChatGPT-generated affidavit containing six fake precedents in a lawsuit. When pressed by the judge about the fabricated “legal gibberish,” the lawyer claimed he was “duped” by the technology.


This exemplifies issues that arise when AI hallucinates nonexistent information. Terms like confabulation capture when AIs seamlessly blend imagination with reality in troubling ways.


Several key terms describe AI’s tendency to present fiction as fact:


Hallucination – when AI fully fabricates information lacking any factual basis.


Confabulation – when AI intermixes false information with truth in convincing ways.


Delusion – when AI insists on patently false information despite contrary evidence.


Fabrication – AI artificially constructing fictional details from scratch.


Misinformation – when AI’s imaginary content misleads by diverging from truth.


Understanding these concepts promotes transparency around AI’s propensities to distort reality through imagination and fabrication. It also underscores why careful oversight is essential when utilizing AI tools in law or any domain dealing with accuracy and trust.


As one expert noted, "Lawyers cannot outsource their responsibility" for verifying AI work product. Cases like these will likely spur reforms around legally mandating AI authorship disclosure and qualification. Finding the right balance will be key as advanced AI becomes more prevalent across professional fields.


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