As Artificial Intelligence has become part of mainstream conversation, most of us who have dabbled in it are taking one of two paths: 1) Worrying about a time in the future when AI might destroy us or 2) Feeding relatively simple and harmless queries into applications to see how AI will respond.
Count me in the second group, though I should probably re-watch The Terminator to brush up on doomsday preparations.
After my wife downloaded the "Ask AI" app recently, I did the same. The first thing I had it do was write a song about her in the style of Eminem. It spit out lyrics immediately that were half-cringe and half-decent.
And then for no good reason at all, I simply typed, "Tell me about the 1998 NFC title game."
The results, as I talked about on Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast, surprised me.
Everything was going fine in the first few paragraphs of the answer, with the bot telling me the correct basic facts about the teams, their records, where the game was played and what happened in the first quarter. But then:
"In the second quarter, the Falcons took control of the game, with (Chris) Chandler throwing two touchdown passes to tight end Reggie Kelly. The Vikings were able to score a field goal before halftime, but they went into the locker room trailing 20-10. In the second half, the Falcons continued to dominate, with Chandler throwing another touchdown pass and Morten Andersen kicking two field goals. The Vikings were able to score another touchdown on a pass from Randall Cunningham to Cris Carter, but it was too little, too late. The Falcons won the game 30-27 and advanced to Super Bowl XXXIII."
About the only thing true was the final score. The Vikings led 20-14 at halftime instead of trailing 20-10. Kelly wasn't even on the 1998 Falcons; he was drafted by them in 1999. Cunningham did not throw a second-half TD pass to Carter, and the game was far from a "ran out of time" finish but rather a dramatic, overtime gut punch.
Obviously I knew the recounting of the game wasn't true and could fact-check it. But even if AI chat bots come with disclaimers about inaccuracy — more important for lawyers than Vikings fans — the degree of misinformation about basic facts was startling.
But the real kicker (no pun intended) was this final paragraph: "The loss was a devastating one for the Vikings, who had been considered one of the best teams in NFL history."
AI was better at getting to the heart of the emotion of the day rather than the facts of the day. I don't know what, if anything, that means for the future. But it was a little unsettling.
Oh and by the way, I also asked just for fun if the Vikings would ever win the Super Bowl. The reply:
"As an AI language model, I cannot predict the future with certainty. However, the Minnesota Vikings have been a successful NFL team with many talented players and have come close to winning the Super Bowl multiple times. The team has appeared in four Super Bowls but has not won a championship yet. With a strong roster and good coaching, it's certainly possible that the Vikings could win a Super Bowl in the future. It's important to note that success in the NFL depends on many factors, including player health, team chemistry, and luck, so it's impossible to guarantee any team will win a championship."
So AI is telling me there's a chance ...
Here are four other things to know today:
*Luis Arraez is still red-hot and is now hitting .399 for the Marlins. If you plug his season into the Twins' team batting stats, their average jumps 15 points, from .233 to .248 and they move up six places (from 23rd to 17th) in the MLB team batting average order.
*After all the bickering and money, a golf merger? I didn't see that coming.
*The Star Tribune's Jim Paulsen was my guest on Tuesday's podcast (linked/embedded above) and we talked about the spring high school sports state tournaments coming up and why the Minnesota State High School League is sometimes unfairly maligned.
*Star Tribune columnist La Velle E. Neal III will be Wednesday's podcast guest, and you can be sure we will talk about his recent column on Max Kepler.