Luckily the researcher had told us that they had carried out their research using ChatGPT. In response to being asked about articles on this subject, the AI had simply made some up. Its fluency, and the vast training data it is built on, meant that the existence of the invented piece even seemed believable to the person who absolutely hadn’t written it.
Huge amounts have been written about generative AI’s tendency to manufacture facts and events. But this specific wrinkle – the invention of sources – is particularly troubling for trusted news organisations and journalists whose inclusion adds legitimacy and weight to a persuasively written fantasy.