There’s been a lot in the news recently about ChatGPT, a new artificial intelligence platform that writes serious essay-style answers to your enquiries from having scanned through huge amounts of documents used as its learning base.

We at STAG know from experience that social media algorithms can lead people into a minefield of hateful content. We decided to do a bit of a test to see how ChatGPT responded to questions about  Gypsies and Travellers.

After a quick search on Google a suggested enquiry of “why are police so scared of Travellers?” linked to some harmful content. (We did also try this the other way round but did not get any racist content from ChatGPT answers)

But ChatGPT writes:

“It’s important to note that generalizations and stereotypes about any group of people, including Travellers, can be harmful and perpetuate prejudice and discrimination. While there may be instances where police officers feel apprehensive or uncertain when interacting with members of the Traveller community, it is not accurate or fair to make broad statements about the entire community or the police as a whole.

“In some cases there may be a lack of understanding or cultural sensitivity towards the Traveller community, which can lead to misunderstandings or tensions. Additionally, there may be a history of negative interactions or conflicts between police and Travellers, which can create an atmosphere of mistrust and fear on both sides.

“It’s important for police to approach all individuals and communities with respect, empathy, and a willingness to listen and understand. Building positive relationships between police and Travellers can help to reduce tensions and promote trust and cooperation.”

A Google search {on the Manager of STAG’s Chrome app] on the same delivers a Quora forum with statements like:

“The problems arise because travellers re [sic] treated as a separate ethnic group under the discrimination acts. They also use the Human Rights Act to their best advantage. Every unlawful encampment has a woman who is about to give birth or a member in hospital, or a broken down vehicle” [Added by me: just as in any other community]

“These travellers are Irish Travellers / gypsies and they are a nightmare to deal with. They play the system like nobody else. They arrive in an area like a plague of thieving locusts.”

A You Tube search with the same question delivered a video that was filmed from the police point of view about moving Travellers on which then was followed by the suggestion of “Can’t pay we’ll take it away: Travellers eviction special”. We didn’t follow the search further.

So ChatGPT 2 – Google 0. But those of us who are older remember when we didn’t have these racist comments and algorithms that drive you into more extreme racist views on Google. ChatGPT seems to be learning from the best on the internet at the moment, but if it follows its tech forefathers, there’s a real danger, that it ends up spouting a political speech designed for Oswald Mosely rather than the fair-minded and accurate assessments it is currently producing. Its important to think about this now while this AI technology is developing, and we still have time to learn from the mistakes of the past.