Dall-E, ChatGPT… generative AIs not very good at spelling

If artificial intelligences are gifted in several areas, including that of creativity, these systems are not as strong as humans with spelling.

Artificial intelligence continues to impress in the field of creativity in recent months. Systems like Slab or Stable Diffusion are able to generate images or videos from a simple textual description. Others, like ChatGPTcan write press articles, reviews and other types of text.

Despite these capabilities, these AIs are far from perfect, and still have limitations. They are therefore not capable (for the moment?) of equaling or even surpassing humans in several areas. This is particularly the case with spelling.

Undetected errors

These systems’ difficulties with spelling were demonstrated last month with a communication campaign by Bescherelle posted on social media. As part of this – focused on image-generating AI – the Hatier editions brand collaborated with Brainsonic, the advertising agency behind the initiative.

“It’s been a few months now that as an advertising agency, we’ve been interested in artificial intelligence while wanting to see how it works. There is a fascinating, revolutionary aspect, a little scary too, because we tell ourselves that we are going to be replaced by the machine. But, as everything is dictated by writing, we said to ourselves “if today, we don’t know how to write, we won’t be able to get the correct results””explains Alban Pénicault, creative director at Brainsonic.

Bescherelle and the advertising agency proved this with two particularly well-known AIs: Dall-E and Midjourney, intentionally including spelling mistakes in their textual descriptions. These two systems fell into the trap, literally generating images of what was asked of them: “a pretty house in a forest of bread”, “a high bucket competition” or even “a child playing with a kite”. . “Fairly basic expressions, everyday things, with homophones, which could give images that were very quickly understandable”says Julia Rérolle, marketing and sales director for consumer education at Hatier.

AIs still unable to do without humans…

The interest of this campaign was indeed to be both playful, but also that a person directly sees the spelling error so as not to have to explain the intellectual process. “It was really a way of using AI to show the importance of spelling and syntax even today, because we often hear that we write less since we are all on our phones and that a lot of things go through the spoken word. On the contrary, communication increasingly takes place in writing with smartphones, online commerce, etc. A mastery of spelling and syntax is therefore fundamental to being understood today. We wanted to bounce back on this by saying that indeed, AI can make it possible to do a lot of things but it cannot yet do without people and good spelling”says Julia Rérolle.

If AI is capable of many things, we tend to forget that behind these systems are often hidden humans. This is called “digital labor”, activities where people work in the shadows and are paid to perform repetitive tasks such as categorizing content published on social networks. Even Internet users chatting with ChatGPT or other AIs train them and thus improve their performance for free.

… and far from replacing teachers

Image-generating AIs aren’t the only ones having problems with spelling. This is also the case of systems like ChatGPT, the OpenAI conversational robot which has surprised with these capabilities since its launch in November. “Warning, do not use ChatGPT to teach grammar to your children! AI is not going to replace the teacher right away”tweeted in December Emmanuel Freund, co-founder and president of PowerZ, a startup that wants to help children learn through video games.

And it is not for nothing that he says this. His post was accompanied by a screenshot showing that the famous chatbot is not good with grammar, making several mistakes and causing confusion regarding the rules of agreement. He thus ensures that “the choice between ‘brown robes’ and ‘brown robes’ depends on the adjective preceding the noun”. According to him, the adjective agrees for example in gender and number with the noun if it is placed before the latter, which gives “brown dresses” in the singular and “brown cats” in the plural. He even goes so far as to say that“there are exceptions to this rule, such as certain adjectives that never agree in gender and number”. This would be the case of “poor” who would never take “s”, ChatGPT illustrating this with “poor cats” and “poor colored cats”.

Despite the capabilities of artificial intelligence, it is not tomorrow that these systems will be able to do without humans, especially for spelling. In this area, it is still up to users to be careful, not to rely on these AIs to detect or correct their mistakes and even less to replace French teachers.



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Dall-E, ChatGPT… generative AIs not very good at spelling


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