Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says ChatGPT is currently a "mess" when it comes to writing Wikipedia articles. Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia's founder Jimmy Wales believes OpenAI's artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot ChatGPT is currently a mess when it comes to writing articles on Wikipedia.

The founder of the free online encyclopedia told Euronews Next that ChatGPT-4 is "terrible" and "doesn't work at all" when used to write a Wikipedia article.

Wales goes on to point out that ChatGPT-4 "really misses out on a lot and it get things wrong, and it gets things wrong in a plausible way and it makes up sources and it's a mess".

In fact, the top executive says superhuman AI will probably take at least fifty years to achieve. Although Wales believes AI will only be able to surpass humans in the distant future, he suggests AI tools are likely to continue supporting intellectual activities.

How ChatGPT is changing the world

To those unaware, OpenAI took the world by storm last year by releasing its first-ever AI-backed chatbot, ChatGPT. The AI bot is capable of taking instructions and questions and offering human-like responses based on the sources it gathers online.

The AI bot can be used for completing various tasks such as writing essays, songs and even health advice. Moreover, a new study suggests that ChatGPT can respond to human emotions as well.

On the downside, the AI tool can sometimes provide inaccurate information. For instance, ChatGPT-like AI chatbots were accused of spreading misinformation through fake news websites earlier this year.

To make things worse for the American AI company, its CEO and co-founder Sam Altman was ousted last week. However, he was rehired just days later after OpenAI employees threatened the company's board they would quit.

While Wales claims Altman's dismissal was "worrisome," he predicts the incident will "probably pass as if nothing happened".

According to Wales, this will be a good lesson to start-ups of all kinds. He says that they need to think even at the early stage about governance and the stability of decision making.

Will Wikipedia use AI in the future?

Wales isn't really impressed with the current generative AI models, but he is willing to consider the possibility of using AI for Wikipedia.

He believes AI can play a vital role in minimising inaccuracies on the platform if there was an AI tool that could find mistakes in a Wikipedia article by comparing it to the sources it is based on.

Wales told Euronews Next that Wikipedia is willing to team up with an open-source AI company, provided it is freely usable and aligns with Wikipedia's principles. However, he noted that there is nothing specific in the works at the moment.

"Most businesses, not just charities like us, would say you have to be really, really careful if you're going to put at the heart of your business a technology that's controlled by someone else because if they go in a different direction, your whole business may be at risk," he said.

Despite being open to pilot programmes and testing models, it is safe to say that Wales will be thinking carefully about any collaboration.