What Are AI Hallucinations and Can We Stop Them?

As artificial intelligence becomes more advanced and widely deployed in the real world, more attention has been focused on the concept of ‘AI hallucinations’.

What is an AI Hallucination?

Hallucinations in AI refer to an AI system – such as Anthropic’s Claude, OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, the list is endless – perceiving or generating things that are not actually there.

Much like how a real-world hallucination would involve a distorted or altered sense of reality, an AI system is no different from experiencing such phenomena.

For instance, a self-driving car might mistakenly perceive a traffic light as turning green when it is still red. Similarly, AI-based content moderation tools may perceive hateful or aggressive language in content when the intent and ethos are not intended as such.

Why Do AI Tools Hallucinate?

It’s unclear exactly why AI solutions experience these infrequent hallucinations. As is the case with any algorithm, sometimes they experience glitches and fail to work properly.

When we look at tools like ChatGPT, a tool with data limits up to September 2021, they are prone to inaccuracies and generalisations, which can lead to false perceptions and perpetuate the problem of misinformation.

As it stands, it’s challenging to detect a hallucination because AI tools are generally quite opaque and do not often alert a human user to a possible mistake.

Should We Be Worried About AI Hallucinations?

The concept of AI hallucinations can present cause for concern, especially when we consider how integrated AI technology is becoming in industries like healthcare, transport, and even our own sector, marketing.

As we’ve previously explored, AI tools are prone to creating content, links and narratives that don’t exist. Websites that utilise these systems en masse to generate content may be perpetuating false ideas or information that is purely conjecture. Again, this is why it’s prudent to cast a watchful eye over the use of AI tools when it comes to content and exercise supervision over what is generated for your customers to see.

But if site owners can’t spot a hallucination easily, how are they to know what one looks like?

It boils down to being vigilant about what you are asking an AI tool to generate.

Can We Stop AI Hallucinations?

Eliminating hallucinations entirely may seem complex and quite a distance away from becoming a reality. However, researchers are making progress on techniques to detect and mitigate them. Researchers are also working on developing stronger training data and algorithms to mitigate more of these imperfections.

It’s reassuring to know that technically-minded researchers have identified an underlying problem when it comes to content accuracy and validity. Hallucinations will remain one of AI’s constant imperfections for some time, so we must continue to proceed with caution.

With improved awareness, training and human supervision, we can reduce the number of hallucinations slipping through the cracks and mitigate their impact. By being aware of and addressing hallucinations as and when they occur, we can help ensure that AI technology is used more ethically and resourcefully.

Content writing is helped significantly thanks to AI tools, but it’s still crucial that you oversee what is being generated before it graces your web pages. If you need help understanding how to leverage AI in ways that can help your website and SEO efforts, we’d be happy to discuss options and solutions with you. 

Get in touch with us and one of our team will reach out to you about ways we can help.