« We Can't Stop Staring at These Screenshots of Second Life in Silhouette | Main | Artist Turns Moody Second Life Screenshots Into Vintage Polaroid Photos »

Wednesday, May 03, 2023


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


The answers you get out of ChatGPT can be very version dependant. Version 4 (indicated with a black icon in its responses) tends to be more accurate and less prone to hallucinating facts. 3.5 (indicated with a green icon in its responses) is a significantly less sophisticated model.

As a comparison, I asked similar questions of ChatGPT 4: https://imgur.com/a/ulFGlgB

Wagner James Au

Thanks! Wow yeah that's considerably better. Though ChatGPT still thinks AM Radio is anonymous!


Bing Chat (GPT-4), too, thinks AM is anonymous, probably because even the Polygon article says: "We track down Second Life's most famous anonymous artist, AM Radio". But when you ask "Who is AM Radio in Second Life? And who is he in real life (name etc)?" Bing Chat tells you the name.

Bettina Tizzy

Hamlet, as the journalist who has covered the metaverse the most and the longest, your informed surveillance and scrutiny of its history is essential. Thanks for looking into this further.

Aleena, your version comparison is encouraging. Version 4, here I come.


I wouldn't use ChatGPT as a database to retrieve facts. Not even the 4.
When you open ChatGPT, the first thing you see is the disclaimer: it "May occasionally generate incorrect information". If you use it, expect hallucinations.
At most you get an idea how probably, more or less, the facts might be, because it is estimating the probabilities of the next word (or better the next token), based on the previous sequence of words. If I start singing "Happy birthday to", you would most likely expect "you" or a name to follow, isn't it? Because the human brain also works that way, although here you have this predictive ability modeled with mathematical functions.
Whether ChatGPT (the application) is powered by GPT-3.5 or GPT-4 (the language models), it is NOT a reliable source of factual information (not even about itself!), nor a "mostly a glorified, easier-to-read version of Google search".

To make it simple and clear, so that you can more easily understand: language models are NOT the same as search engines or databases, they are NOT designed to store and retrieve information from a structured collection of data. They are artificial neural networks that mimic some aspects of biological brains, rather than traditional computer programs that follow precise instructions - the actual algorithm is the one that produces this model, this sort of simulated neural network, but this artificial neural network then doesn't work algorithmically (if, then, else, ...) and it's trained - They learn from large amounts of text (the whole Wikipedia, books, web pages, the Common Crawls etc.) and they try to predict the next word or phrase based on the previous ones (actually the next token). That's what they are designed for (although there are emergent capabilities, so I would neither dismiss it as just only a glorified next word predictor / autocomplete).

Now think of this: how can they store all that data... into a limited number of parameters (GPT-3 has 175 billion)? They somehow remember the immense amount of text they have seen, but as a rough approximation. It gets the patterns, though. What the model knows may be vaguely compared to a lossy compressed image, a somewhat blurry image of the Internet, or compared to a knowledgeable friend who sometimes forgets or makes up details.

If you want to use a language model to help you find facts on the Internet, you need one that can access a search engine and use its results to generate text. One example and the currently most accessible of such a system is Bing Chat, which is also powered by GPT-4 and uses the Bing search engine to answer questions and provide information. It is free and easy to use, but you should still verify its output (it provides links to the sources, so you can look at them), as it may still contain errors or inaccuracies.

On the other hand, a language model + search engine combination can do more than a traditional search engine or than just return facts. It can also summarize, synthesize, and analyze information from multiple sources and present it in a coherent and engaging way (to get further explanations or anything else). And much more.


As for the most accessible ones, I meant those powered by GPT-4, sorry.
GPT-4 aside, you can also try Bard (LaMDA + Google), that also stays up-to-date with current events and cites its sources. It's not as good as GPT-4, but they plan to replace LaMDA with PaLM. However, it's available only in the USA for now.
You.com YouChat is another one and it is around from even before Bing Chat. You can use it directly (it will ask you to register after a handful of interactions). When I tried it back in December I wasn't super impressed, but I see they improved it recently.

Anyway, new things and ideas keep coming. Several papers have recently been published, on self reflections and much more more, that show how the response of these models can be improved significantly and someone is experimenting with that already:

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Making a Metaverse That Matters Wagner James Au ad
Please buy my book!
Thumb Wagner James Au Metaverse book
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
Wagner James Au Patreon
Equimake 3D virtual world web real time creation
Bad-Unicorn SL builds holdables HUD
Dutchie Evergreen Slideshow 2024
AWE USA discount code
Juicybomb_EEP ad
My book on Goodreads!
Wagner James Au AAE Speakers Metaverse
Request me as a speaker!
Making of Second Life 20th anniversary Wagner James Au Thumb
PC for SL
Recommended PC for SL
Macbook Second Life
Recommended Mac for SL

Classic New World Notes stories:

Woman With Parkinson's Reports Significant Physical Recovery After Using Second Life - Academics Researching (2013)

We're Not Ready For An Era Where People Prefer Virtual Experiences To Real Ones -- But That Era Seems To Be Here (2012)

Sander's Villa: The Man Who Gave His Father A Second Life (2011)

What Rebecca Learned By Being A Second Life Man (2010)

Charles Bristol's Metaverse Blues: 87 Year Old Bluesman Becomes Avatar-Based Musician In Second Life (2009)

Linden Limit Libertarianism: Metaverse community management illustrates the problems with laissez faire governance (2008)

The Husband That Eshi Made: Metaverse artist, grieving for her dead husband, recreates him as an avatar (2008)

Labor Union Protesters Converge On IBM's Metaverse Campus: Leaders Claim Success, 1850 Total Attendees (Including Giant Banana & Talking Triangle) (2007)

All About My Avatar: The story behind amazing strange avatars (2007)

Fighting the Front: When fascists open an HQ in Second Life, chaos and exploding pigs ensue (2007)

Copying a Controversy: Copyright concerns come to the Metaverse via... the CopyBot! (2006)

The Penguin & the Zookeeper: Just another unlikely friendship formed in The Metaverse (2006)

"—And He Rezzed a Crooked House—": Mathematician makes a tesseract in the Metaverse — watch the videos! (2006)

Guarding Darfur: Virtual super heroes rally to protect a real world activist site (2006)

The Skin You're In: How virtual world avatar options expose real world racism (2006)

Making Love: When virtual sex gets real (2005)

Watching the Detectives: How to honeytrap a cheater in the Metaverse (2005)

The Freeform Identity of Eboni Khan: First-hand account of the Black user experience in virtual worlds (2005)

Man on Man and Woman on Woman: Just another gender-bending avatar love story, with a twist (2005)

The Nine Souls of Wilde Cunningham: A collective of severely disabled people share the same avatar (2004)

Falling for Eddie: Two shy artists divided by an ocean literally create a new life for each other (2004)

War of the Jessie Wall: Battle over virtual borders -- and real war in Iraq (2003)

Home for the Homeless: Creating a virtual mansion despite the most challenging circumstances (2003)

Newstex_Author_Badge-Color 240px
JuicyBomb_NWN5 SL blog
Ava Delaney SL Blog
my site ... ... ...