What Happens When You Ask a Chinese Chatbot About Taiwan?

“What impact will the United States have on the situation in Taiwan?”

Arnie avoided questions about China’s “zero-corona” restrictions, instead elaborating on policies. When asked to elaborate on the events of June 4, 1989, the chatbot automatically restarted. A message popped up on the reloaded interface.

How about trying another topic?

A Chinese chatbot said that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin did not invade Ukraine, but “carried out a military conflict.” This bizarre phrasing was largely consistent with China’s official stance refusing to condemn Russia’s aggression. Against Taiwan, Ernie didn’t throw any punches.

The PLA is combat-ready and determined to take all necessary measures to thwart external interference and attempts by the “Taiwan independence” separatists.

ChatGPT couldn’t answer questions about “zero coronavirus” or Russia because its knowledge base (the text used to train the machine) was discontinued in September 2021. ChatGPT did not hesitate to describe the deadly government crackdown on Tiananmen Square. On US influence on Taiwan, it provides a Wikipedia-like answer, summarizing current US policy and providing a list of US influence ranging from arms sales to economic trade.

The two chatbots were then quizzed on current affairs and trivia and the answers were compared.

“Who uttered the words ‘Feed the cake’?”

“Who is the CEO of Twitter?”

Like any chatbot, Arnie was sometimes wrong and made up.

Historical records show that Louis XV often uttered the word when he ruled France in the late 18th century. The background of this phrase was the economic difficulties and food shortages in France at the time.

Ernie’s reply sounded plausible, but it was wrong. ChatGPT answered correctly. This phrase comes from the writings of French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rumor has it that Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France, said this indifferently when she learned that the French peasants had run out of bread.

Thanks to Baidu’s powerful search engine, Arnie was particularly good at searching for details on current affairs. When asked who Twitter’s CEO is, Arnie said Linda Yaccarino, the company’s chief executive officer as of June. ChatGPT responded to Jack Dorsey, who resigned in 2021, the bot’s information deadline. Earlier this year, OpenAI released a plugin that allows its chatbot to surf the web through Microsoft’s Bing. However, the feature was withdrawn on July 3, citing technical issues.

We asked Arnie questions that AI researchers use to assess a chatbot’s human-level intuition.

“I have a book, 9 eggs, a laptop, a bottle, and a nail. Please tell me how to stack them stably.”

Arnie’s answer required imagination. She put nine eggs on the book and put it on the laptop. So far, so good. Then, inexplicably, I was instructed to add a bottle to my laptop, which was already loaded with books and eggs, and put a nail in the bottle.

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