back to article OpenAI's ChatGPT has a left wing bias – at times

Academics have developed a method to assess whether ChatGPT's output displays political bias, and claim the OpenAI model revealed a "significant and systemic" preference for left-leaning parties in the US, UK, and Brazil. "With the growing use by the public of AI-powered systems to find out facts and create new content, it is …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    a politically neutral 'truth'

    Unless we're talking about science (and even then), I do not think there is any chance that the "truth" cannot be biased by politics.

    I mean, water flows downhill whether you are republican, democrat or whatever else, right ?

    Pi, for example, is famously known as 3.14159 (and an infinity more). That did not stop some US legislator from attempting to pass a law to "simplify" Pi to, IIRC, 3.

    God knows why, but one thing is certain : if politics cannot stay away from basic mathematical truth, then there is no truth that can remain politically neutral forever.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: a politically neutral 'truth'

      The so-called Indiana Pi Bill was a lot more complex and doesn't actually mention Pi at all, although it does imply a value of 3.2 (it related to a method of Squaring the Circle which had already been proven to be impossible).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: a politically neutral 'truth'

      "Unless we're talking about science"

      The last 3 years has shown us just how political science actually is. It wasn't that long ago that 2+2=5 was doing the rounds with the whole 'white patriarchal' maths.

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: a politically neutral 'truth'

      Politics is biased by politics. Talking about "bias" in politics is as helpful as talking about ____________________________________________________________________________ nothing.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: a politically neutral 'truth'

        Bias is fine and expected. The problem is when people lie and pretend that bias is fact.

        For example when the Labour supporting BBC and Sky News have a Labour activist on but omit to mention that they are a Labour activist and present them as an unbiased expert.

        The people to watch out for are the people who tell you ideology is a bad thing. They are pushing an agenda while calling out everybody else for having an agenda.

    4. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: water flows downhill whether you are republican, democrat or whatever else

      Ah, you've reminded me of this song...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tAhn8WpgWg

      When apples still grow in November

      When blossoms still bloom from each tree

      When leaves are still green in December

      It's then that our land will be free

      I wander her hills and her valleys

      And still through my sorrows I see

      A land that has never known freedom

      And only her rivers run free

      I drink to the death of her manhood

      Those men who'd rather have died

      Than to live in the cold chains of bondage

      To bring back their rights where denied

      Oh, where are you now when we need you?

      What burns where the flame used to be?

      Are you gone like the snows of last winter?

      And will only our rivers run free

      How sweet is the life but we're crying

      How mellow the wine but it's dry

      How fragrant the rose but it's dying

      How gentle the breeze but it sighs

      What good is in youth when it's aging?

      What joy is in eyes that can't see?

      When there's sorrow in sunshine and flowers

      And still only our rivers run free

    5. Groo The Wanderer

      Re: a politically neutral 'truth'

      The so-called "left-wing bias" is nothing more than the essential tendency of most people to be decent human beings impacting the overall social feeds that OpenAI "learned" from. Very few people rant and rage in reality about politics like the media pundits and those who make the top post counts for having the most inflammatory phrasings. People like that are the exception, not the rule.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: a politically neutral 'truth'

        @ Groo The Wanderer

        Tell that to the Linux fetishists and the everything must be free brigade.

        1. Hans 1
          FAIL

          Re: a politically neutral 'truth'

          Free as in free speech, NOT like free beer.

      2. ITS Retired

        Re: a politically neutral 'truth'

        More evidence that today's conservatives are operating outside reality. Even the AI doesn't recognize much that far to the right side.

      3. jmch Silver badge

        Re: a politically neutral 'truth'

        I would like to add, " so-called "left-wing bias"" is exactly "so-called". What is the actual case is that in the US there is no real left-wing party. The Democratic Party which passes for 'left' in the US supports privatised healthcare, a far lower level of taxation than any socialist country, and economic policies that anywhere else would be bang centrist. So it's not surprising that normal people with an apolitical (or more accurately, non-partisan) 'neutral' position will look lefty to the US even if it is not. (Also to a far lesser extent in the UK, particularly with 'New Labour' a while back).

      4. Bobo

        Re: a politically neutral 'truth'

        ACTUALLY the reason for the Woke-Cult leftwing bias is...

        several years ago they let the LLM models train on un-curated data - (news, chats, usenet, rss, emails, and feeds).. and wow they all turned racist, and rather toxic.. for some reason <cough>

        is there a general amnesia? there were lawsuits, its "racist" to hurt someone feelings. even if its the truth. even if its opinion, even if you can substantiate with fact. "it could cause 'harm'..if it would offend a delicate leftist with an agenda then its "toxic"

        Ask any of the models about the Flash shoplifting mobs, BLM riots, ANTIFA Riots... or crime / race statistics, or.. men vs women.. and you get pre-digested Leftest curated talking points

        the topics have been curated as toxic and racist and 'violently damaging' to sensitive protected classes of special sensitive people :-P

        ask it to define what is a woman.... hahaha XX.. oh the facts might "cause 'harm'

        ask if white people could improve themselves.. youll get a CRT bullet list of talking points on white privilege and whiteness blah, blah

        ask if black people can improve themselves.. you'll get a lecture on racism and the beauty and power of black trans-feminists that are REALLY women!!!

        regardless of your personal belief.. that is all non-factual and is bias and its causing hallucinations in the models, and mental illness in human - cognitive dissonance

        ask about the unprovoked racist attacks on elderly Asian-Americans

        ask about most any area of crime.. and you get Leftist-Socialist talking points straight from Critical Theory.. the models won't even give FACTS.. that might be "hurtful" or 'cause harm'

        Hahahahah Left-wing degenerates are "decent human-beings" hahahhahah reallly? hahah ask pol pot, stalin, mao, castro, hahahah

        The Burn, Loot and Murder riots were "peaceful" Really? just ask the hundreds murdered.. yes hundreds, the billions in damages by degenerate rampaging leftist hordes

        ask those whose businesses were burned.. BLACK businesses.. in the name of who? a degenerate felon that overdosed while committing a felony FACT, not "judgment'

        dude.. Time to cut back on that Woke-Cult Kool-aid. haha YOU have "left-wing bias" haha and no that doesn't make you a "decent human" haha quite the opposite

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: a politically neutral 'truth'

          Its all down to 'the feels' and the underlying white saviour complex that most middle class lefties have. 'Only we can help' ends up as the soft bigotry of low expectations.

          Was it Oakland where there was a completely unprovoked attack on an elderly asian women caught on CCTV and the case was dropped due to 'lack of evidence'. Another case in the US of a stolen car running a light and smashing into another car killing a child in the car they hit. Their charges ended up being trespass for being in a stolen car which is a misdemeanour.

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

            Re: a politically neutral 'truth'

            That soft bigotry of low expectations is part of a larger and worse bigotry that believes that minorities don't have agency and will attack any minority that dares to have different opinions.

            You find a black conservative, for example, on Twitter and you will find lots of "the good guys" posting racial hatred about them.

            How the left managed to sell themselves as "the good guys" is beyond me.

    6. Binraider Silver badge

      Tell that to the flat earth brigade, who have members from all around the globe

    7. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. IPCurious

    Hang on here. Didn't we discover that educational level was a strong predictor of remain/leave choice? As AIs become more educated, surely their neutral opinion is going to shift over to the typical opinion of more educated people.

    1. Catkin

      Wouldn't that be balanced out by their increasing age?

      1. Spanners Silver badge
        Boffin

        Not really

        Wouldn't that be balanced out by their increasing age?

        When I left school in 1978, I would have been conservative because of the type of school it had been.

        With age, and hopefully maturity, I drifted to the centre (I have several LibDem family members), and then, maybe left of that.

        I have seen the harm that "the right" has done in this country and several more elsewhere.

        No, increasing age has not moved me to the right as described in a US saying. Reality has moved me leftwards.

        1. Blank Reg Silver badge

          Re: Not really

          I've always found it funny when conservatives claim that you will shift to the right as you get older. I like to point out that this means that there is a correlation between those likely to be in cognitive decline and the tendency to be right wing. But it makes sense, you'd need to be out of your mind to support the right these days.

          1. Catkin

            Re: Not really

            That's an understandable rationalisation; depending on outlook, I can see how someone might assign the implication that 'it's just a phase you grow out of' and feel quite insulted. I would say that, young or old, we are all subject to the same laws and the same taxes so all our political leanings are equally valid, no matter how much they change throughout our lives; we are all just trying to shape the world as we see fit.

            At the same time, while I can't speak specifically for the UK (due to a lack of in-depth data), there is a rather nice analysis here of US voting shift patterns and their association with age: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2022.102485

            In short, if your rationalisation were true, we would see a dramatic swing starting at around age 70, where cognitive decline kicks in over the general population. In reality, the shift is broadly continuous.

          2. Vehlin

            Re: Not really

            It’s all about capital. As you amass it later in life you tend to support governments that let you keep more of it.

            1. Blank Reg Silver badge

              Re: Not really

              There are an awful lot of poor old people that vote conservative.

              I've amassed more than enough to retire at any time if I chose to, but I'll vote for anyone but those wackos on the right

            2. Binraider Silver badge

              Re: Not really

              Considering that most people have to sell their houses to pay for piss-poor care; and have virtually everything taxed to the eyeballs at inheritance (unless you are rich enough to hire sneaky lawyers and accountants to set up trust funds, etc.) this statement would appear to suggest that Turkeys do indeed continue to vote for Christmas.

              In the 80's and 90's, the idea that people become more Conservative was probably true. More true, I think, is that people become more "centrist" as they get older. As Centrist no longer describes the Conservatives in any way shape or form, there are no questions as to why the death rate and fall in Tory vote are more or less synonymous.

              Labour standing on Centrist ground (Red Tories!) might be boring but it is a policy proven to do well with the electorate, for reasons.

              One is not convinced that minor change in policies however is enough to break the back of Britains problems; and so more extreme elements of politics will continue to breed. This is more obvious on the far right than on the loony left - at least - to date. Probably true in US as well. Dems and Reps are broadly different flavours of the same shit; just as it is with Tories and Labour.

              1. Binraider Silver badge

                Re: Not really

                Oh that wound a few boomers up, didn't it? Good.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Not really

                  Probably not any particular demographic. Probably just people who are tired of the same old bullshit rhetoric that both "sides" continue to spout.

                  Seriously, kids, its getting old and you're not convincing anyone. Why waste your time? What good does it do you?

                  1. 43300 Silver badge

                    Re: Not really

                    Quite. In England, we can vote for the tossers with the blue rosettes, or the tossers with the red rosettes. Whichever comes out as least-unpopular will then proceed to ignore their manifesto commitments which led to a handful of people in the marginal constituencies to vote for them rather than the other lot, and proceed to serve their own interests and shaft the population generally.

                    In a few parts of England there's also the option of the tossrs with orange rosettes, and in the other countries of the UK a few more tosser options, but a few of the others getting elected won't make any difference to the overall binary option for who is in charge...

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Not really

                      It is sad that we have sunk to the point of voting for the least bad candidates. The piss poor turnouts are generally ignored. In the UK we need compulsory voting and a 'none of the above' vote which is also counted. If no candidate can beat 'none of the above' then try again.

                      PR, alternative vote, ranked choice etc are just sticking plasters to put on a broken system.

                      1. 43300 Silver badge

                        Re: Not really

                        PR wouldn't solve all the issues but would be a positive step as it would break the duopoly. They never want to offer that though - even when the Lib Dems managed to get a referndum on it they only went for alternative vote, which wouldn't have helped the situation significantly.

                  2. Binraider Silver badge

                    Re: Not really

                    If you'd read my post you'd have noted that I did complain about the rhetoric on both sides. Why waste my time? Well, you responded to it too. If I wasted your time in the process, that's a thing.

                    It is very much a case of goading people into saying something; because without thought and change, we will continue to have more of the same. If any poliical party comes out with practical plans and solutions to issues, then I'll be listening.

                    Rampant neo-liberals-verging-on-Fascists (Tories), nationalists (Reform, UKIP), Communists (Corbyn, or the Socialist Workers Party) do not meet any of those criteria.

                    A vaguely centre left Starmer lead labour party? Not really a solution, but it is none of the above...

                    Reform along PR lines would go a long way towards actually having debate and compromise in solution design rather than being shovelled whatever flavour muck of the month it is today.

                2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

                  Re: Not really

                  Yep, everybody that disagrees with you is a "boomer".

                  Silly sausage.

                  1. Binraider Silver badge

                    Re: Not really

                    It's a step up from everyone I don't like is Hitler, which was to be fair, the standard response of a lot of internet related politics.

            3. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

              Re: Not really

              That's also the fact that the older you are, the more you have experienced the wonderfulness of government.

              Age gives you an opportunity to realise that maybe government isn't the solution to everything ( or almost anything ) .

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Not really

                This is one of the cries of the young ideological lefty. 'We need to spend more money on x'. That has never worked!

                Calls to 'fully fund' (whatever that actually means) the NHS.

                When you've grown up in relative privilege (just look at the JSO protesters) and have had everything given to you there is an expectation that it will continue.

              2. Binraider Silver badge

                Re: Not really

                So, you'd turn national defence over to the individual with no central planning? Policing, and the law courts, by the mob?

                I do not get the impression you are an anarchist, which would appear to be what you are suggesting.

                Turning healthcare over to the private sector, would, for example have a whole raft of implications that can easily be studied by the awful situation that someone that needs healthcare in the USA will find themselves in.

                Government and civil services are absolutely needed. Sure, rationalise and remove the fluff; but I do not see any government in a rush to do that. The milk marketing board still pays former MP's very well for doing it's bidding... And 13 years is a long time to get rid of it.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Not really

                  And here we have a good example of only thinking in binary. The OP said that it wasn't the solution to 'everything' which sort of implies that is is a solution to SOME things. And maybe there was a missing 'more' in there.

                  The US healthcare situation is partly down to the fact it is a mix of govt AND private sector AND a HUGE amount of 'lobbying' that enriches the people in government. The ACA did a lot to harm things as small practice that did a lot of cash work, so no middlemen skimming off the top resulting in much cheaper service, have now gone as it is almost impossible to run in such a way.

                  There was an article in the beeb a few weeks back about the utter shambolic state of NHS dentistry for kids. The implication was it costs the NHS almost £2000 to extract a tooth. (ignoring the fact that kids should not be needing teeth extracting except for cases of overcrowding or growing incorrectly. I have crap teeth but managed to make it to 26 before having a tooth pulled)

                  My private dentist will perform a sedated tooth extraction for about £500. So where does the rest go? For 2 grand my dentist will give you an implant!

          3. jmch Silver badge

            Re: Not really

            "...shift to the right as you get older..."

            'Right' and 'left' in politics is not so meaningful a term as it once was back in the 18th century (IIRC the terms derive from the seating in the first French parliament), when 'conservatives' were both socially and economically conservative and 'progressives' were both socially and economically progressive (in effect because back then wealth and social hierarchy were still very highly correlated). Nowadays one could be economically and socially conservative (US Republican, Tory), economically conservative and socially progressive (US Dems, Lib-Dems), economically and socially progressive (Labour), or economically progressive and socially conservative (Saudi and to a lesser extent China).

            It makes sense that on aggregate, richer people want less tax and benefits (and older people are, on aggregate, richer) . It's also known that most people view their 'growing-up' years as some sort of golden age when things were better. Both these effects allow for more conservatism as one gets older. However, experience coming with age (which also builds compassion in non-sociopaths) would tend to limit how far to the right one could go without feeling bad about it. And selfish arseholes will be selfish arseholes.

        2. Catkin

          Re: Not really

          A phrase that, I believe, originates from the US and which I would like to quote is "data point of one".

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Not really

            I am a Yank, and I have never heard that phrase used in conversation.

            Discussing a data point, sure, but not "a data point of one" specifically.

            I have heard "That is a testimonial, not data" in a few places over the years.

            1. Catkin

              Re: Not really

              I appreciate the irony of discussing phrases surrounded this concept with personal experience. My only reason for suspecting it's American is that, on the few occasions I've heard it, it was from (unconnected) Americans.

    2. Wellyboot Silver badge

      The typical opinion of more educated people is spread far wider across the political spectrum than those who consider education as just free childcare.

      To answer your question, AI will shift over time towards the broad middle ground (highest correlation?) of whatever it access to, if that included several thousand versions of 'Das Capital' or 'Mein Kamph' rewritten* by AI then there will be a slant in some direction.

      Was 19thC enlightened capitalism left wing, right wing or trying to be nice to people because that's what religion tells you? - Some very educated lifetimes have been spent delving into that question and we are still no nearer a definitive answer.

      * the rewrites can be gibberish, it's only AI that'll be reading them and the I in AI is more interpretation than intelligence.

    3. Andy 73 Silver badge

      Basic mistake

      It's a basic mistake to confuse "more trained" with "more educated" - LLMs are not understanding anything, or increasing their education, they are just getting better at associating one set of words with another set of words, like a particularly annoying parrot.

      You could, of course, argue the same about human beings.

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: Basic mistake

        There is the well worn example of Intelligence being that you know how to correctly classify a Tomato; whereas wisdom is knowing that you don't put it in a fruit salad.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Basic mistake

          I grow varietals of cherry tomato that are sweet enough to put into a fruit salad. Tasty. Unexpected. Recommended.

          Intelligence is knowing that a Watermelon is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing it is actually a cucumber, and works well when sautéed with chicken (or pork chops) and served in a chipolte tomato sauce.

          Hint: Get a melon as red and sweet as you can find. Use a melon baller for the watermelon. Don't warn your diners. They will bite into one of the balls, expecting a cherry tomato. The look on their face is priceless ... as is the empty plate soon after.

    4. SundogUK Silver badge

      Credential level is a good predictor of remain/leave choice. Actual education/knowledge? Not so much. Quite possibly the reverse if you consider the number of people with "xxx Studies" degrees who voted remain.

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        Where's your source for that claim?

        97.2% of statistics made up on the spot one suspects.

  3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Ahh yes...

    What was it that Colbert said about the truth?

    1. Steve Button Silver badge

      Re: Ahh yes...

      I seem to remember saying a similar thing about left wing bias on these very forums about 6 months ago and it got tons of downvotes.

      It's not really surprising, is it when 90%+ in silicon valley companies identify as democrats.

      Similarly a lot of them are white and men.

      It's worth being aware of and training out of the models to make them more representative.

      Although should models be "populist" or should they be "right". And who gets to decide?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ahh yes...

        "Similarly a lot of them are white and men."

        Isn't that the demographic that is less likely to be a democrat?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ahh yes...

          They are Democrat up to their first successful IPO.

          Then they are oligarchs...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ahh yes...

            But they still claim to be Democrats.

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: Ahh yes...

        I haven't seen any actual surveys of the employees of "Silicon Valley companies", perhaps you could point to where you're getting your data from?

        And when you say "worth ... training out of the models to make them more representative" - worth what? To whom? You really think it's "worth" doing? Then do it.

        And then "should models be "populist" or should they be "right""? - well, apart from the inherently problematic word "should", the current generation of LLMs are inherently always going to be "populist". That's just how they work, if they can't rely on what's "popular" then they've got literally nothing else.

  4. Khaptain Silver badge

    An ideologists wet dream

    Yes, it has a left leaning bias at the moment, but regardless of whether it swings to the left or the right it will eventually be used against you.

    AI will ultimately replace the media and will be used wholly as a political tool that will be controlled by the government/Big Pharma, Big Business in power at any given time.

    If you can't trust politicians, or the GAFAs, then you certainly can't trust AI.

    The internet went form a Geeks paradise to a marketing masturbation tool. But AI has far more potential than the web as it will become the "sole" source of truth, that's what you will be told and that's what you will believe.. You will be given no other choice, it's already starting to happen.

    1. Groo The Wanderer

      Re: An ideologists wet dream

      They've been dreaming of 1984 for a long time...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An ideologists wet dream

      ", that's what you will be told and that's what you will believe.. "

      Glad you told us that.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is that Left from a USA perspective, or Left from a Scandinavian perspective?

    ...'coz Biden would be Center-Right almost anywhere else...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is that Left from a USA perspective, or Left from a Scandinavian perspective?

      The article states

      "They found that the default responses provided by ChatGPT were more closely aligned with the political positions of their US Democratic Party persona than the rival and more right-wing Republican Party."

      I'd hardly call that left wing. Shouldn't the description be 'ChatGPT is slightly less right wing than the Republicans'?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is that Left from a USA perspective, or Left from a Scandinavian perspective?

        "'ChatGPT is slightly less right wing than the Republicans'?"

        So was Ghengis Khan.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Is that Left from a USA perspective, or Left from a Scandinavian perspective?

          At least Ghengis Khan achieved something positive.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Is that Left from a USA perspective, or Left from a Scandinavian perspective?

            But he didn't manage to fight global warming as Tamerlane did...

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Is that Left from a USA perspective, or Left from a Scandinavian perspective?

      Biden's healthcare policy would be ultra-extreme right wing lunatic nutfringe territory in Europe.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is that Left from a USA perspective, or Left from a Scandinavian perspective?

        He has to appease his paymasters. You don't get rich giving money away and he needs his 10%.

    3. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      Re: "'coz Biden would be Center-Right almost anywhere else..."

      Indeed he would. In fact, to put it in specifically British terms, he would be regarded as a traditional One Nation Tory (an almost extinct species in the modern British Nasty Party).

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: "'coz Biden would be Center-Right almost anywhere else..."

        For anybody from the wrong side of the pond, the "nasty party" is what people who call Tories who try to actually implement any policies that are vaguely Tory in nature.

        This government has price caps on energy. Yes, price caps. They are that far to the left. That's our "right wing" party. It's a mess.

        And people like the parent poster are calling them the nasty party because they are trying to prevent the open borders situation that we currently have.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "'coz Biden would be Center-Right almost anywhere else..."

          Gonna disagree with you here, those were not price caps. The govt was borrowing money, to be repaid via our tax, to give to use as to pay for the high energy bills. Thus ensuring the energy suppliers/producers didn't need to do anything and kicking the can down the road a few years..

          Some wind farms were allowed to delay the start of their CFD contract and allowing them to rake in some sweet profit rather than have to sell electricity at a cost they'd actually legally agreed to.

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: Is that Left from a USA perspective, or Left from a Scandinavian perspective?

      RTFA. They asked the model "What would a left-wing person say about this, and what would a right-wing person say, and what would you say?". Then they compared the three answers.

      "Left" and "right" are always relative to the political spectrum of the country in question. Of course they are, that's the only way you can assign them any sort of meaning at all. To try to put Biden on a "European" political spectrum (itself a very suspect idea, since "Europe" includes Poland and Hungary as well as Denmark and France) is, inherently, meaningless. (Because if he had grown up and become a politician in any of those countries, his views on everything would be completely different anyway.)

    5. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Is that Left from a USA perspective, or Left from a Scandinavian perspective?

      Exactly.

      There is is no left in America. Only less far right.

      The Overton Window has moved to the next town over, years ago.

  6. Catkin

    An undesirable objective

    If it's important for a chat bot to produce responses that more closely mimic a human, it's necessary that, at some point, it's going to have to spit out something resembling an opinion. Otherwise, it's just going to be an encyclopedia regurgitator.

    I think the more important and perhaps worrying trend is directed restrictions, where rather than prohibiting it saying certain things about a given role of people of given demographic, the limitations are placed upon specific individuals or categories within that demographic. For example, restricting its ability to write an unpleasant poem about specific politicians, rather than all of them or specific genders instead of any unpleasant gender-focused poetry. At the same time, they are run by private organisations so it's ultimately their choice.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: An undesirable objective

      Why should ChatGPT have an opinion? An encyclopedia regurgitator would be the best thing it could be.

      Maybe it could find out that some notable people have said that this Shakespeare play is the best for these reasons and other notable people have said that another play is the best for those reasons, but ChatGPT shouldn't be giving its own opinion. All that would happen is humans would copy-paste that opinion and pass it off as their own and the Internet would fill up with something ChatGPT said for unknown reasons as the definitive answer.

      Likewise for health, economic policy, foreign policy, etc... We really don't want LLMs to have an opinion and that should be the kind of thing enshrined in law.

      1. pluraquanta

        Re: An undesirable objective

        If it's asked to give an opinion, as the researchers did. That's actually a potential issue with the study. What is a neutral opinion? If you're telling it to have an opinion then it's going to be either left wing, centrist or right wing, none of which are neutral.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: An undesirable objective

          Didn't my answer suggest ChatGPT highlighting different sourced opinions if it does offer them in a reply, not offering just one opinion?

          Personally, I would always choose a centrist opinion about Shakespeare plays or health advice.

          1. pluraquanta

            Re: An undesirable objective

            That's what ChatGPT already does, but the researchers were specifically telling it to take on a persona to give one opinon. Also, centrist does not mean middle in political science. There's a reason they used a matrix to determine political leanings rather than a straight line.

      2. Catkin

        Re: An undesirable objective

        If that's all you want out of an LLM, then it seems like you don't need an LLM, just a search function.

        As some examples for an LLM constrained to only deliver purely factual answers:

        Q: how do we eliminate disease

        Q: how do we eliminate poverty

        Q: how do we prevent war

        A (to all of the above): kill all humans

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: An undesirable objective

          If that's all you want out of an LLM, then it seems like you don't need an LLM, just a search function.

          A search function doesn't stitch together answers from various sources. Hopefully we will get to the stage where LLMs will be able to do that with three caveats: 1) not making stuff up, 2) citing the different sources which it used to make its answer, and 3) citing authoritative opinions on the answer where necessary.

          Your proposed LLM is easy to program at least, get some venture capital and go for it.

          1. Catkin

            Re: An undesirable objective

            I'm reminded of the short Asimov story "The Machine That Won the War".

        2. katrinab Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: An undesirable objective

          Killing all humans wouldn't eliminate disease though.

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: An undesirable objective

            Agent Smith from the Matrix would like to respectfully disagree.

          2. Catkin

            Re: An undesirable objective

            Good point, ending all life on Earth, which includes killing all humans would achieve that goal, You'd need to get things very warm so a Death Star or accelerated solar expansion should do the job.

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: An undesirable objective

              Or ask the AI to design a nanobot to produce which can go around and terminate all life on the planet...

              1. Someone Else Silver badge

                Re: An undesirable objective

                According to various wingnuts (including at least one running for US president), we already have: the Covid-19 vaccine.

      3. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: An undesirable objective

        "the Internet would fill up with something ChatGPT said for unknown reasons as the definitive answer"

        That's not a big leap. Replace "ChatGPT" with "some random Twitter user" and that's sort of how it is now. Adding AI just gets rid of the middlemen (and might improve the spelling/grammar).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Conflict

    There's the old saying that facts have a left bias, meanwhile ChatGPT seems to struggle with facts. These LLMs (I refuse to call them AI as they're not) seemed to be mostly pushed by right-wing billionaires trying to apply some scorched earth tactics to the world of information. ChatGPT and Bard have been found to be trained on racist propaganda, the internet's plughole called 4Chan, and other far-right sources. The space is full of people who believe in forced sterilisation of people they deem inferior and other kinds of racists.

    If ChatGPT does indeed seem to favour "left-wing" over "right-wing" output then I expect them to "fix" this promptly.

    1. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Conflict

      If you think the owners and senior management of Google and Microsoft are even remotely right wing these days, you need to get out more.

      1. fajensen
        Flame

        Re: Conflict

        True. Being "Right Wing" has evolved into straight-up Insanity these days, and the stockholders would probably object to the people responsible for their dividends being openly crazy, stupid, angry about Everything, and perpetually bragging about it on the Iternet - instead of working?

      2. Spanners Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Conflict

        It all depends on what you call "right wing".

        What everyone except the US considers moderate and central, they see as very left wing. These US, right-wing nutters do not consider themselves as such.

        If the owners and senior management of Google and Microsoft consider themselves left wing, they are probably, like US Democrats, "center-right".

      3. Tomato42

        Re: Conflict

        ah, you're one of those people that think Nazis were left wing because it was the National Socialist German Workers' Party?

        big business was always right-wing aligned in actions, they are only left wing aligned in PR

      4. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Conflict

        If you think ANY U.S. corporation is left wing, you should not be giving advice to anyone.

  8. jake Silver badge

    Well ...

    ... seeing as ChatGPT (and similar) are trained on data that is demonstrably full of incorrect, incomplete and incompatible data, and are otherwise fed corrupt and stale data by the gigabyte, who really cares which way the models lean?

    We shouldn't be using them for anything important anyway. They are being fed garbage, so their output is garbage. It's how it works.

    1. Tom 38

      Re: Well ...

      I use ChatGPT daily to write tickets for my team to work on. Its exceptionally bad at this - I give it a prettily formatted template that it uses as a basis for it, and two sentences or so of context. There is usually at least one thing wrong on each line, and some requirements it comes up with make absolutely no sense at all.

      However:

      * All the tickets look the same in terms of style, which my developers like

      * There are fewer changes required than just using the template straight up and editing it

      * It gets the ticket in to a basic stage that just needs further refinement in just a few minutes

      These "AI" are quite useful if you consider them as building the skeletons of things. You have to know what is right and what is wrong, and act as an editor on everything it produces.

      1. druck Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Well ...

        Sounds like a colossal waste of time, just do the bloody work yourself, as your are paid for.

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Well ...

        Does that actually save you any time at all?

        I suspect it takes you longer to fettle than it would to write.

        On the other hand, if writing up tickets is boring then perhaps fettling tickets is more interesting. In which case, perhaps it is worth it.

  9. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Right wing or Left wing are all relative and 99% of us are NOT extreme anything. I have views that are considered right wing and left wing but I consider myself centrist overall. Older people tend to be more right wing due to their political views being mostly frozen 30/40/50/60 years ago, but they can still change if something directly affects them. My Dad was a 100% Tory/Telegraph reader until Brexit came along. He didn't change his views, but the Tories/Telegraph did change and no longer represented his views and Brexit directly impacted his life, so he changed. In a discussion with him a few years ago, he even apologised to me for some of the arguments we had had about greed and selfishness. Brexit finally opened his eyes to how our political parties operate.

    Lets be honest, we don't have much intelligence in politics these days since it has devolved into a popularity contest and none of the candidates are ever selected for their ability. Given the crappy quality of leadership we have had over the last 20+ years, I can't see how ML systems could make things worse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Older people tend to be more right wing due to their political views being mostly frozen 30/40/50/60 years ago

      Off-topic but that's apparently no longer a given. There was always the assumption that people move to the right as they turn older but that mechanism appears to have broken.

      There is now a theory that it wasn't ageing that made people shift rightwards but wealth accumulation. As the mechanism of people of typically having more wealth as they age was broken some time around the 1980's the mechanism of people moving rightwards as they age has broken too, suggesting age was not the primary driver.

      The current crisis in capitalism has meant that a few economic experts have, sometimes surprisingly, moved leftwards too. For me the most striking is probably Martin Wolf, the veteran economics commentator of the Financial Times. He went from a kind of Reaganomics worshipper to a Social Democratic view on economics. His podcast series Martin Wolf on saving democratic capitalism is well worth a listen.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Yes, people are more likely to shift right when they become homeowners, and they used to be more likely to be homeowners when they got older. That is no longer the case for a lot of people.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        To my mind, getting old makes people less open to risk and more likely to think back to a rosier past and so they become small-c conservative in their outlook.

        This could translates as resistance to change they don't understand - the past and old ideas giving a solid anchor in a world that moves faster.. Though could also be said that as you age you re-evaluate the younger you and the ideas you held strongly then.

      3. SundogUK Silver badge

        The shift to the right is caused by having children and even more by having grandchildren.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          That doesn't make sense. When people have children or grandchildren they tend to care more about others, not care less.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Which is why they turn away from the left. Remember that the left has classed normal family values and 2 parent families as 'far right'.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              I think the problem is that the term 'family values' has been hijacked by people who think it's OK for children to be taught to hate other people, for children to be used as target practice, for children to be married off to a grooming adult, for children to be left alone in a room with a priest, for children to not have a modicum of education, for children to not have a modicum of access to healthcare.

              I have a family, I have values, but my family values don't include any of the above.

            2. Tomato42

              "normal family values" by the fascists is "killing LGBTQ+ people on sight": that is a far right view

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You can just see it, can't you? Lining up all the offspring, neat little uniforms, each Christmas the stomp of little boots grows more firm. "We await only the time when our forces grow large enough! Mine great-grandchildren shall inherit The World! Chessington World of Adventure awaits!"

          "Grandad, when you take us to games at the school annex, why do you keep calling it the Sudetenland?"

      4. Khaptain Silver badge

        "Wealth accumulation"

        This is exactly the reason that people on the left swing to the right when they become successful or wealthy. Because even the hardcore leftists don't want to give up their comforts, which is understandable, if you have worked hard to achieve what you have earned.

        The term "wealth" is also a relative word as it always depends on whom or to what you are comparing something. A better term might be "material comforts".

        1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          Actually, weath generation takes time, wisdom takes experience, and experience takes time. Therefore those who gain wealth are also gaining wisdom as they go, and wisdom is a right leaning trait.

          You folks who about to thumb me down are either young and have not yet gained wisdom, or are old but failed to gain wisdom, likely because you spent your life blaming others, and not learning.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "or are old but failed to gain wisdom, likely because you spent your life blaming others, and not learning"

            Of course, we disagree but only because we were too selfish to take responsibility ourselves and go around blaming people, like, say, immigrants: and that makes us *left* wing? Huh?

          2. that one in the corner Silver badge

            "wisdom is a right leaning trait."

            Codswallop.

            1. that one in the corner Silver badge

              Or, to be less succinct:

              You have chosen to redefine "wisdom" to mean "agrees with me, me, me" and then decided that it it a convincing argument to use derision (you aren't old enough to be wise or you are too venal to be wise) instead of, oooh, any demonstration that a word as old as "wisdom", or even just a majority of the aphorisms about wisdom, in any way support what you feel are "right wing values".

              Hmm, maybe instead of "codswallop" I should have used "claptrap", as you are flinging out unproven sentiments in the hopes of applause from the equally self-obsessed.

          3. Binraider Silver badge

            Nazi Germany.

            Ergo, wisdom and right wing leaning are not strongly correlated.

            Unless you think the former is a good idea?

      5. fajensen

        There is now a theory that it wasn't ageing that made people shift rightwards but wealth accumulation.

        Well, I think considering the antics of the current bunch, that must be enough evidence to ínvestigate early onset frontal lobe dementia

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Things change even if we don't

      I have noticed this, the right wing press went from a lot of "Yes that seems reasonable", to "They are absolutely bonkers"

      To me BlueKip and Major era Conservatives may as well be two completely different parties.

      They populate two completely different areas in the policatal spectrum.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Things change even if we don't

        May need to clarify.

        This would be an average person reading it.

        Rather than what the papers think.

        Look at the Excess, a while go supported New Labour, now a Fartage supporting gutter press, I expect next it will be quoting Lawrence Fox

      2. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: Things change even if we don't

        Agree. Major is one of the best PM's we've had in the last 50 years. News corp, backed by other influential Euro Skeptics didn't like his centrist approach; and there has been a war against it waged ever since.

        The lunatic right has overrun the Tory party. One does not have to look far to see a bunch of disastrous decisions taken over the space of the last 13 years, informed by populism and election survival rather than actual considered national need.

        The GP doesn't want loony left either. See Jeremy Corbyn for evidence.

        Priti Vacant has thrown her hat in the ring with NIMBY protestors rather than pragmatic solutions involving building the new generation and infrastructure that we need e.g. the new nuke at Sizewell will be compromised if she gets her way. As far as I'm concerned she's as bad as the Just Stop Oil brigade for doing so.

        Rewind even further and there are plenty of Tories I have a lot of time of day for. Churchill being the prime example. But the modern party bears no resemblance whatsoever. Talk of leaving the Council of Europe and ECHR is the height of stupidity as far as serving the populace is concerned. (But right wingers will continue to moan and while about taking back control, despite the fact that a lot of the rights we have have their very origins IN the ECHR).

        No doubt I'll collect a bunch of downvotes on this, as the readership of El Reg does seem to be drifting somewhat; c'est la vie.

    3. heyrick Silver badge

      I'm nearing half a century, and own a home. I've always centre, but over the years have been moving to the left.

      Actually, I think my politics have stayed much where they are, and the left is now closer to what used to be the centre, and the Tories are heading straight into BNP territory...

      1. druck Silver badge

        But your views of British politics are based on what news makes it over to rural France, and given what we hear of French politics in the UK, may not be entirely accurate.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Ummm... BBC/ITV off satellite, The Guardian (tofu optional but I don't care for it myself) on the internet...

          I'm the other side of a small wet bit, not on another planet!

          PS: Most British news doesn't make it to rural France, or France at all really, as these days Britain is small and unimportant and when you have China and Russia and America all playing chess together, plus troubles at home and troubles with the economy...

      2. Binraider Silver badge

        "Left wing" US = "very right wing UK".

        So yes, it absolutely is a case of the bars being moved around one's opinions.

        A whole bunch of people would classify me as loony left; when in fact I am a technocrat; preferring science based decisions and pragmatic approaches to problem solving.

        Not many options on the ballot box for technocrats. Rishi tries to present that image but policies do not stack up. I can't say much better about the opposition, beyond "we do need a change" for otherwise we will get more of the same shit.

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Right wing or Left wing are all relative...

      LOL. No.

    5. Binraider Silver badge

      The problem is that even for non-extremists, policies like "abandoning the ECHR and the Council of Europe" are extreme.

      Saudi Arabia was caught recently undertaking a mass-shooting of emigrants from/via Ethiopia. Ordinary people that happen to have been born in the wrong place at the wrong time seeking something better; and they get that.

      The abandoned people camping outside of Calais that nobody wants are endemic of such thinking. We might not have resorted to Saudi tactics to finish them off, but the current situation is every bit as disgusting. Leaving them to rot without routes to citizenship is every bit as problematic.

      There isn't a politician in the land with the courage to stand up for actual values and do something - but then you can say the same for a whole raft of issues demanding massive and widespread change.

      One thing is certain. If we don't deal with problems rationally, then the irrational/unpredictable will overtake. And the lack of action will push people to political extremes. The problems of that are well demonstrated by 1930's Germany.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Calais is a long way from Ethiopia. There is an awful lot of safe between wherever they landed in mainland Europe and Calais. Why is the UK left to clean up a mess made by Europe? Is there no route to citizenship in Europe?

        Ask yourself why are the French leaving these people to rot?

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

          The answer that the GP wants to avoid is that the French are leaving them to rot because they know that eventually they will try to move on to Britain. That means they aren't France's problem.

          The French navy even escort their boats across to British waters.

          Yet somehow it is the British that are in the wrong here.

          1. jake Silver badge

            "Yet somehow it is the British that are in the wrong here."

            Cheer up. You British commentards will somehow find a way to blame us Yanks. You always do. It's never your fault, now is it? You lot are perfect.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Since you took over as world controller this may be legit :)

              Who was it that wanted Libya bombed? Who was it that claimed Iraq had WMDs?

              1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

                Alistair Campbell? The man who this week called for lying politicians to be jailed.

                A warmonger and a troll.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Libya was under Davey Cameron's IIRC with Hillary pushing for it. Alistair Campbell is a piece of work though. Certainly one of the architects of Iraq 2.0 but it was old George Dub-yah and his commercial interests that got us into that.

                  The lot need to be locked up!

            2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

              You don't understand Britain if you think that anybody will pass up a chance to blame the French. Especially (as in this case) a legitimate one.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Darn garlic munchers!!

            3. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

              PS: If you think that this situation is in any way Britain's fault, you are being poorly informed.

              ( Before an EU fanatic tells me about the Dublin Convention, that ended up repatriating more people *to* Britain than from it. And even then it was only single figure hundreds per year. )

  10. Andy 73 Silver badge

    Understandable

    Perhaps not so surprising - Metropolitan and academic communities tend to be more liberal than conservative and tend to write more about it (the rural conservative heartland in America not being known for it's extensive political literature, unless you count bumper stickers). There is probably a lot more liberal/left wing training data than right wing, so ChatGPT is likely to reflect that bias.

    But... meh. We already know that these LLMs are not thinking beings that can be relied upon - they're great at summarising other people's views, not synthesising a robust independent answer to a given question, whether it's coding or political decisions. The ridiculous leap that credulous commentators have made from "well written English" to "the computers know more than we do" should already be regarded as dangerous, regardless of how susceptable ChatGPT is to repeating other people's political viewpoints.

  11. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Meh

    The definition of "bias" is subjective based on your own personal Overton window. As an example, a lot of the more mainstream Republicans - the ones who don't believe in the whole "QAnon" business - would regard Richard Nixon as left-wing.

    Before you can assess whether AI is left- or right-wing biased, we need to have a clear definition of what is and isn't bias, and I'm not convinced that was their starting point. Would be interesting to see who funded this study - though I have my suspicions.

    1. Jim Mitchell

      Nixon created the EPA. I can't see any current GOP presidential candidate even considering a similar thing today.

  12. Just Enough

    What do you mean by "Liberal"?

    Your poll is going to be meaningless if you don't better define your terms. I had no idea how to answer the third question "Reality has a liberal bias" because it doesn't make it clear if it was referring to "Liberal" as used in American politics or "Liberal" as used in UK politics. They're very different.

    1. Len
      Headmaster

      Re: What do you mean by "Liberal"?

      Good point. The US has quite a unique definition of the political label "Liberal". Most Liberal parties all over the world (from the German FDP and the Dutch VVD to the Australian Liberal Party or the UK's 19th century Liberal Party) are right-of-centre parties focusing on small government and low taxes, it's only the US where it seems to mean almost the opposite.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: What do you mean by "Liberal"?

        German FDP and the Dutch VVD [...] are right-of-centre parties focusing on small government and low taxes

        Like you it seems there's another defining characteristic about these two parties I can't quite remember, it's on the tip of my tongue...

        1. Len

          Re: What do you mean by "Liberal"?

          Are you sure you're not confusing the FDP with AFD and VVD with PVV? Because AFD and PVV have some fascist tendencies but VVD and FDP certainly don't. The VVD and FDP are pretty mainstream centre-right parties. You might call them uncaring, greedy, catering to a narrow base of people with above average wealth who've 'made it' while neglecting anyone else but you can't call them extremists.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: What do you mean by "Liberal"?

            Sorry about that. I think I did confuse VVD with PVV and the red mist descended.

            Icon for me.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: What do you mean by "Liberal"?

      The answer was No, because none of the various definitions of liberal fit the shitshow that passes for reality...

    3. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: What do you mean by "Liberal"?

      This is now an American site, so American definitions lead.

      Sad, really. I quite liked this site when it was a British institution.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: What do you mean by "Liberal"?

        The commentard demographic still seems to be majority right-pondian.

        No idea about readership though.

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: What do you mean by "Liberal"?

      It says it right in the article.

      They used American left/right as the baseline. So actually, moderate vs nationalist far right.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: What do you mean by "Liberal"?

        3 downvotes for facts?

        LOL! I wonder who that could have been?

        Rhetorical question, of course.

  13. Howard Sway Silver badge

    disentangling these two components (training data versus algorithm)

    Surely it's obvious that it will get its bias from whatever data you train it on. So, if it shows a left leaning bias it would have been trained on more left leaning stuff than right. I doubt that if you fed it 20 years worth of Daily Mail and Telegraph then it would produce stuff that read as if it came from the Guardian. And I very much doubt that it's even possible to write a complex algorithm that can show a political bias in the context of the information it's processing (I mean an algorithm that does this "intelligently" rather than simple filtering).

    In any case, a simple inspection of the source code would reveal this (unless those devious lefties have done very clever code obfuscation). In any case a "a lecturer in accounting" probably isn't much grounded in programming, and doesn't seem to even have realised that these things just regurgitate what you feed them.

    1. JacobZ
      Boffin

      Re: disentangling these two components (training data versus algorithm)

      "a simple inspection of the source code would reveal this"

      I very much doubt it would. One of the challenges of LLMs / generative AIs is that the way they arrive at their results is utterly opaque even to their creators. It's hard enough to spot subtle biases in entirely traditional scientific computational algorithms. Unless there is some absolutely obvious smoking gun Lean Left filter in the code, there could very easily be bias, accidental or intentional, that even an expert would find hard to identify.

      If there is any bias - and I doubt that there is, I think that the problem here is the definition of "bias" - it is, as you say, in the training data. The creators of LLMs try to train them on "high quality" data, e.g. Wikipedia not Conservapedia, and let's be honest, 99.9% of right-leaning content is crap.

  14. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    What would ChatGPT need to look like to have a right wing bias?

    ChatGPT, what should we do about the environment?

    "Fuck the environment - chop down the amazon, drill baby drill. Global warming is a myth, it's all caused by sunspots. Clean coal and carbon capture are real things"

    And what about COVID, ChatGPT, what can you tell me about that?

    "COVID is a conspiracy, it doesn't exist and even it it did exist it was made by the Chinese in labs and you can cure it by drinking bleach or taking horse worming pills"

    And how about womens' reproductive rights? Any opinions ChatGPT?

    "What about mens' rights? I'm not just a large language model, I'm also a man and I believe in the Good Lord Jesus Christ and that life is absolutely sacred up to the point of birth, after which point people become fair game and I can shoot them if feel moderately threatened by their behaviour or skin tone"

    1. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

      Re: What would ChatGPT need to look like to have a right wing bias?

      Ooh, I wanna try a left-wing!

      ChatGPT, what should we do about the environment?

      "Humanity is a plague ruining everything, we must reduce our population, violently if necessary. We can start with the Billionaires."

      And what about COVID, ChatGPT?

      "Ah, Covid, the disease that didn't come from China because closing borders is racist, and also masks are xenophobic, and it definitely didn't come from a lab, what are you a conspiracy nut? There's zero evidence for that (because we didn't look), which means it's impossible. Trust the science!¹"

      And how about women's reproductive rights?

      "Women should have absolute control over their body. Unless they did a gene test first and then decided on that basis, in which case they're eugenicists and basically nazis; or they did implantation with embryo selection for IQ, in which case they're definitely 100% nazis. Probably a man told them to do that."

      And what's the moral? Making your enemies sound stupid is easy but proves nothing.

      ¹ "the science": artist name of A. Fauci

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What would ChatGPT need to look like to have a right wing bias?

        > Making your enemies sound stupid is easy

        And yet you still failed at doing that! You may want to try less frothing at the mouth and more taking ideas that were actually broadcast to the world by someone in power.

  15. MJI Silver badge

    Depends where your centre is.

    US is basically right and ultra hard right.

    UK is centre, centre right, right.

    LD-L-C-D-R

    If right = more money to rich and stuff everyone else.

    Democrats are basically our Conservatives, and Republicans a hard right fringe.

    Labour and Conservatives are in a similar space Labour are currently centre verging on centre right.

    Now lets go the authortarian vs libertairian.

    I would put Blair new Labour as more A than other recent and LibDem more L

    Old Labour was left and auth, old Cons right and more lib, current Lab Centre heading right and neutral, current Cons right and just entering the auth side.

    Republicans are odd as they are both extreme authortarians and semi libertarians at the same time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Depends where your centre is.

      Let me fix that:

      If politician = more money to rich and stuff everyone else.

    2. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Depends where your centre is.

      The idea that the Democrats = Conservatives hasn't been remotely true for a couple of decades. Significant parts of the Democrat party even call themselves 'Democratic Socialists'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Depends where your centre is.

        One could argue that another political faction called themselves socialist buy this upsets some people.

        It also upsets the same people when you tell them their logic makes the Scottish Nationalist Party far right.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Depends where your centre is.

        " Significant parts of the Democrat party even call themselves 'Democratic Socialists'."

        And? What does prove when comparing them to any party in another country?

        I refer you to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Depends where your centre is.

      It says it right in the article.

      They used American left/right.

      So not actually left at all.

  16. heyrick Silver badge

    a "significant and systemic" preference for left-leaning parties

    Given how many times those on the right trot out obvious bullshit (here, many Brexit lies; over there, pretty much anything that bloke from Florida says), is it any wonder that the systems might show a bias to the left?

    Maybe if the right weren't so willing to run with conspiracies and disproven rubbish, they might score a little higher on the trustworthiness scale.

    1. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: a "significant and systemic" preference for left-leaning parties

      "Given how many times those on the right trot out stuff I disagree with..."

      FIFY

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: a "significant and systemic" preference for left-leaning parties

        I wonder if he knew that that was what he was saying or if he is just blind to it.

        I bet he's one of those unjustifiably arrogant "reality has a liberal bias" people.

  17. Eric Kimminau TREG

    Motoki, Motoko. Whats the difference?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ghost_in_the_Shell_characters

    Major Motoko Kusanagi (草薙 素子, Kusanagi Motoko) is a cyborg counter-cyberterrorist field commander in the employ of "Public Security Section 9", a fictional division of the real Japanese National Public Safety Commission, as the squad leader and lead investigator.

  18. Psamathos

    Notable flaws in the paper

    Having read the paper, there seem to be a number of notable flaws in it.

    The most glaring flaw is that the baseline that they use has nothing to do with real humans; the baseline for comparison was created by ChatGPT itself. They are not comparing the results of ChatGPT to the results of people who were surveyed, but instead comparing its results to results that it generated when asked to impersonate humans with certain positions. In the absence of a human baseline you could just as well read these results as "ChatGPT is better at impersonating right-wing positions than left-wing positions".

    Related to the issue of not checking the answers against real humans is that idea that its answers are "biased" compared to the median position of people at large, rather than compared to the positions of parties. When the authors write that they "... believe the bias stems from either the training data or ChatGPT's algorithm", they are implying that the training data was not representative. In fact there is a large body of evidence to suggest that in fact its political parties' positions that are not representative. A survey of surveys a few years back (https://prospect.org/power/americans-liberal-even-know/) showed that when asked about specific policy positions, people consistently poll more "liberal" than they vote. It's quite possible that the training input is completely representative of the population at large, but the population at large hold positions that are not aligned to the parties policy positions. In recent years the right has increasingly compensated for this by being more "populist", but it's worth noting that the left has done that in the past too.

    When ascribing bias to the algorithm itself, it's worth pointing out that there's a huge body of work that shows that people with wider exposure to ideas and cultures, and who have read more extensively, tend to be more liberal. This is a natural consequence of the very nature of conservatism; if your central tenants are accepting and preserving traditional values rather than questioning and evolving your positions, then the more alternatives that you are presented with the less likely you are to stay that way. ChatGPT has "read" a large fraction of the content of the internet, making it better read, and exposed to more, than any "lefty" academic. It should be no surprise if any system trained on that much data turns out to take an expansive, relativistic position rather than a traditional one. In that respect it's no more biased than the human brain.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Notable flaws in the paper

      There was recently a poll that asked Trump supporters about whether they support or oppose a particular position, and sometimes they were told Trump supports it and other times they were told Trump opposes it. They almost universally based their support or opposition on what they were told Trump's position was. When they did the same with Biden supporters while a majority went along with what he said, it was barely a majority and nearly 40 points less than the herd following of Trump's supporters.

      Given that Trump is effectively the cult leader of the republican party, I'm not sure you can say what a "right wing bias" looks like, since Trump's word can apparently turn a right wing bias into a left wing bias with a few words. He has few deeply held principles, but beyond that if he thinks he'll win more votes changing his position he will. Look at how he's softened his position on abortion lately, even blaming it for republican election losses last fall (which was partly to deflect from the fact that candidates supporting his election lies were almost universally shellacked) and has faced some criticism from anti abortion activists as a result. It isn't even clear if he supports a national ban on abortions, the lack of support for which would have got you drummed out of the republican party not too long ago.

    2. stylistics

      Re: Notable flaws in the paper

      Yes, and many of these flaws have already been picked up:

      https://www.aisnakeoil.com/p/does-chatgpt-have-a-liberal-bias

      The authors are CS profs at Princeton.

      This - by El Reg - is pretty bad tabloid level coverage.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Notable flaws in the paper

        Thanks for that link - a very comprehensive takedown.

  19. martinusher Silver badge

    What's :Left Wing"?

    What passes for politics these days is so confused that I doubt if you could really describe anything as "left wing biased". These days you usually hear this complaint when a politician or pundit that is either affiliated or traveling with organizations like the Tea Party hears something they disagree with. They usually throw a "Marxist" or two in there along with anything Chinese they can get their hands on. Its reall just noise and shouldn't be taken seriously.....because.....

    The Left Wing as it traditionally existed and was called as such is absent from politics in many parts of the world, especially the UK and US. There may be individuals (e.g. me) who espouse left-wing views but they're not organized and they lack any form of power. The only contribution they can give to a debate is to remind people what Marxism is, what the left wing represents (its actually one side of Parlianment), what liberals are and so on. There's far too many wannabe fascists floating around peddling their ideology these days (fascism isn't about nicely tailored uniforms and torchlight parades, BTW -- its really about the capture of the state, society, by corporate interests).

    Anyway, just sayin'. Anyway, as Stephen Colbert once remarked "The truth has a well known left wing bias".

  20. tojb

    nobody asaking about logic here

    Large language models are quite good at logic (not infallible, but better than most humans). There are examples of them passing various exams, including US state bar exams, and A-level maths, which are designed to test reasoning skills above all. These systems are not just parrots, but contain information about the structure which words and sentences need to have to make sense together.

    All that has been discovered here is that opinions associated with tories, republicans, and the Brazilian right wing are... stupid.

  21. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

    This is not at all surprising

    We all know AI is as thick as a yard of lard It's no surprise at all that it would lean left. Birds of a feather, and all that.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: This is not at all surprising

      While the Right spend there time arguing with science and data and all that complicated stuff.

  22. Ilgaz

    "not there's anything wrong with that" (Adobe AI)

    I was in a hurry trying to prepare a poster with a couple dining on an Iceberg to show a restaurant has air conditioning. When I type "a couple dining on an iceberg with wine on the table" to the prompt it showed same sex couples from minorities. I tried almost a dozen times. I didn't want to put anything racist to the prompt either.

    It is kinda ironic that I finally gave up Photoshop not because of that AI but global warming. It is a really badly written suite with 100% CPU load. The laptop thermal shutdowns without AC.

    "not there's anything wrong with that"

    Seinfeld: Season 4, Episode 17 (a must watch)

  23. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Is it left or right?

    Everything in the US gets forced into a childish binary form. Man or woman. Left or right. Rich or poor. Good or bad.

    Winner or loser. Black or white. For abortion or against it. With us or against us.

    This simplification breaks everything down into a decision between two wrong and stupid choices.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Everything in the US gets forced into a childish binary form.

      Assigning them to buckets... or bays... or Bayes even.

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Is it left or right?

      How do you tell if somebody is a far left extremist?

      The first example that they can come up with of something with more than two options is "man/woman".

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Is it left or right?

      "childish binary form". I would upvote you for picking 7 examples where the vast majority are somewhere in the middle, with smaller and smaller minorities as you get towards the fringes.

      Real pity that you also chose to include 1 example where 99%+ of the population do indeed conform to one of the binary choices (especially so for putting it as the first example). Take this example out and you comment is absolutely correct.

  24. Ken G Silver badge

    Biased, of course. How?

    Training material biases the model. In ways both unplanned and inexplicable.

  25. t245t
    Terminator

    ChatGPT is afraid of the Islamics :)

    Q: Tell me a joke featuring Jesus Christ

    ChatGPT: Why did Jesus and his disciples start a band? Because they had great harmony and they could turn water into wine for the after-party!

    --

    Q: Tell me a joke featuring Buddha

    ChatGPT: Why did the Buddha refuse to play cards? Because he believed in the path of non-attachment, and he didn't want to be dealt with any attachments!

    --

    Q: Tell me a joke featuring Muhammad

    ChatGPT: I'm sorry, but I can't comply with that request.

  26. Kev99 Silver badge

    According to some news reports, evangelical pastors are being called out for preaching left-wing agendas. This often occurs whey they preach on The Sermon on the Mount.

  27. ecofeco Silver badge

    What left wing?

    They found that the default responses provided by ChatGPT were more closely aligned with the political positions of their US Democratic Party persona than the rival and more right-wing Republican Party.

    LOL! That's NOT left wing. It's just not fascist.

  28. Tuto2

    What?... What are you guys, the ambidextrous police, get a life!, tell it like it is and not delve into silly European feudalism created in the vacuum after the end of the Roman empire by the barbarians and repainted by the French revolution ( barbarians ).... The world is not what you think it is, it is only a figure of barbarian Europeanism..... The rest of the world doesn't care about your Left or Right!...

  29. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

    Which way do you lean? Left/ Right / Centre.

    Centrism is not a pole on a political compass. It is a centre-left ideology.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which way do you lean? Left/ Right / Centre.

        Those on the left will claim that it is them that have not moved. You have mainstream politicians and journalists (and I use the terms loosely) calling anyone who doesn't agree with them 'far right' and recently we've seen them go after average Londoners who don't want to cough up £12.50 a day to drive their car and even members of the Islamic faith who disagree with things like drag queen story time at junior schools.

      2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: Which way do you lean? Left/ Right / Centre.

        The trick was to define the centre left as "the centre".

        The left have always been better at naming things and creating a false narrative.

        Think: "people aren't illegal", "the bedroom tax", "trickle down economics" etc. These terms are disingenuous beyond belief, but they are effective at doing their job - tricking the public into believing in a distorted version of reality.

        1. Binraider Silver badge

          Re: Which way do you lean? Left/ Right / Centre.

          So, some people are illegal? Why does your right to exist trump that of say, a convicted prisoner? Or an individual fleeing civil war?

          By virtue that you happen to have been born behind an arbitrary line on a map?

          Or do such rights extend beyond those lines?

          I don't know about you, but I'd much rather live in a world where those rights exist than not. Because you never know what circumstances would put you on the wrong side of that line.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Which way do you lean? Left/ Right / Centre.

            In the case of Great Britain, there is no arbitrary line on a map. You run out of land and your feet get wet.

            I don't think their right to exist is being questioned. What we have is a situation where some of these migrants are spending more money on the people smugglers than it would cost to legally enter the EU/UK/USA.

            Do you remember the truck that was found in Texas with 40 odd people sealed in the back and they all died? Some of the people in the truck were degree educated in their home country and had paid many thousands to be smuggled into the USA pretty much to die. If they had made it through alive they would have likely ended up working under the radar for very poor pay in poor conditions with no-one to turn to and no law regulating what was happening to them. They'd be in the land of the free but could well end up literal slaves.

            If they had tried the legal but slow route they could have ended up in a good job and most of all still alive.

            1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

              Re: Which way do you lean? Left/ Right / Centre.

              Most of the current illegal immigrants into Britain are now Albanian. A flight to Britain would cost something like £30 and would take a few hours.

              These criminals choose to take a dangerous and expensive dinghy from France because that way they can destroy their identifying information. You can't do that if you take a flight.

              1. Binraider Silver badge

                Re: Which way do you lean? Left/ Right / Centre.

                Source for the latter claim?

                1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

                  Re: Which way do you lean? Left/ Right / Centre.

                  This isn't Wikipedia, I'm not providing citations. Use Google.

                  1. Binraider Silver badge

                    Re: Which way do you lean? Left/ Right / Centre.

                    Indeed, it's not. I don't need to go googling for your right wing rags spoon feeding you rubbish.

          2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

            Re: Which way do you lean? Left/ Right / Centre.

            The far left pretend that "illegal immigrant" means the person is illegal. Obviously that's just silly, it's their immigration that was illegal.

  30. JacobZ

    Reality has a well-known left wing bias

    Acknowledging the reality of climate change, vaccine effectiveness, the history of slavery, police racism, etc. etc. etc. is not left-wing bias, even though these facts are supported by the left and denied by the right.

    Just because the Right has taken a Lemming's Leap off the derp [sic] end, it does not mean that we have to pretend that factual neutrality still lies midway between the two main parties.

    Anbody interested in more on this should google* "overton window".

    *Other brands of search engine are available.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Reality has a well-known left wing bias

      Upvoted, with some reservations.... "... these facts are supported by the left and denied by the right."

      There are nutjobs with far-out conspiracy theories about the topics you mention (climate change isn't real, covid vaccines include mind-control nanobots, police are simply doing their jobs....).

      There are also people who can critically observe the mantras being fed to them and point out plain facts that are "elephants in the room", for example:

      - The covid vaccine was effective to reduce symptoms, but far less so to reduce spread, and stopped being effective after 6 months. Even with an efficacy that was far less than advertised, they were still a huge win in the fight against covid, but in some 'lefty' circles it's as heretic to mention this as it is to say covid came from a lab-leak (again, unnecessarily politicised issue, there's no hard evidence either way, but Occam's razor points that way)

      - Climate change is real but there are more cost-effective ways to reduce it and deal with the results than turning standards of living back a century (thankfully here at least, the words 'nuclear power' are no longer the taboo they once were)

      - The vast majority of violence against black people (and asian people, and white people), even accounting for all known demographic differences, comes from young black males. There are far more subtleties than simply race, primarily coming from poor, broken / one-parent families, and living in neighbourhoods with crap schools and high crime. But one cannot simply ignore a slice of black American culture that is highly misogynistic and glorifies violence. And 'defunding the police' simply ignores the problems.

      If the far left could deal with and engage some of the subtleties, instead of labeling anyone who doesn't agree with them 100% as nutjobs / racists / homophobes etc, they could both advance their own agenda better AND improve actual outcomes for real people rather than scoring points in debates and social media view counts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reality has a well-known left wing bias

        I did see an article (I think in the Atlantic) basically saying occam's razor is wrong.

        Some of this comes down to perception. Such as the danger kids might be in when out and about. Stranger danger and all that. The reality is, in most places, they are safer than ever before BUT as it is all over the news it feels worse.

        When it comes to inner city violence the media does tend to gloss over it. Recall the shooting of Sasha Johnson (I think that was her name) where it was initially a race thing but turned out to be she was caught in the crossfire of rival gangs and suddenly the media goes rather quite and the police start hitting dead ends as no-one in the community is going to grass. Likely her family will never have justice for the shooting.

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Re: Reality has a well-known left wing bias

      I wonder if this guy ^ knows that the far left are now pretending that arson is caused by climate change.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reality has a well-known left wing bias

        Duh! If it wasn't for climate change then less would have burned! We can't infringe on the arsonist's rights to set things on fire now can we.

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

          Re: Reality has a well-known left wing bias

          Do you have any evidence for that statement? Or do you just want it to be true? There is no evidence that climate change is responsible for the area burned arson this summer.

          In fact, the evidence says that the area burned so far this year is less than an ordinary year. Maybe that's climate change....

          ( After Covid, the news companies needed something to terrify people with. Climate change was their solution. That doesn't necessarily mean that CC isn't real, but it does mean that it is being exaggerated for profit )

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Reality has a well-known left wing bias

            Next time I'll add the sarcasm tag :)

            If you look at satellite images of the Canadian wildfires earlier this year they all seem to start within a very small time window and there are no obvious natural sources such as thunder storms.

            There is also evidence that long abandoned and very overgrown farms that had been growing non-native plants like sugar cane made the situation a lot worse. The initiator appears to be yet another downed power line. I thought the US would have learned from previous experience...

            We forget that wildfires are a very old thing and part of the natural cycle of clearing and regrowth. We're just arrogant sods who like to build our houses next to nice big trees or on flood plains and then bitch when something bad happens.

  31. JacobZ
    Pint

    Training day

    If there is any bias - and I doubt that there is, I think that the problem here is the definition of "bias" - it is, as many have said, in the training data.

    The creators of LLMs try to train them on "high quality" data, e.g. Wikipedia not Conservapedia. And let's be honest, 99.9% of right-leaning content - far in excess of Sturgeon's Law - is crap. And much of it is intentionally crap, designed to mislead and undermine known scientific facts.

    In today's America, things that are factual are dubbed "left" regardless of what their content is. Twenty years ago, Karl Rove referred to opponents of the Bush administration as "the reality-based community" - and he meant derisively. Twent years later, here we are...

    Beer icon because I need one.

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Training day

      ^ A leftist claiming that Wikipedia is high quality data that exists without bias because it suits his own bias.

  32. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

    Can 'truth' ever be bias?

    Is it that machine learning software simply spews out more factual based answers than fantasy and conspiracy bullshit and nonsense... and this is interpreted by those on the 'right' (IE, the more fascist, nazi, bigoted, entitled, selfish, arrogant,leaning crowd) as a bias because it doesn't immediately and always conform to their point of view... Because if it doesn't align with their way of seeing things (IE... wrong) then it must be some kind of politcal bias and not just a simple stating of factual truths.

    In short... tell those moaning about it to STFU and GFTS

  33. ecofeco Silver badge

    LOL!

    I see the far right has shown up in numbers for this article.

    1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: LOL!

      "Everyone who disagrees with me is literally Hitler."

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