Sheep, Cops and City Parks? A Bizarre AI ‘Fact’ About Billings
The uses of artificial intelligence will impact our lives, hopefully in a better way. I'm sure it is great at analyzing piles of data and digging thru well-established facts on the internet. AI currently seems to do okay at things like automated customer service and such. It's creating some interesting art and bizarre conversations too.
We thought AI could perhaps make our jobs easier.
We also considered the possibility that it could eliminate our jobs by writing articles like these every day. Who needs a human, when a piece of software can do all the work, right? Instead of spending up to four hours of my time every day writing this tripe, I could have the computer do it in 30 seconds! Life changing. And of course, our company could save a mountain in labor costs if they didn't have to pay pesky humans to create interesting content. A brief experiment showed us that we don't have too much to worry about, at least not in the near future. Here's how it went down.
A 50% success rate.
A person in our building had AI write two articles and assigned them to myself and my co-host for publishing. One was a very basic article about "Three Small Towns You Should Visit in Montana" or something along those lines. That story was so basic, that AI honestly did a fair job of producing a somewhat lame story.
The other AI-generated article was a complete failure.
We had AI write "Ten Celebrities With Ties to Billings" and 9 out of 10 of the facts AI came up with were completely wrong. It was laughable. This experiment happened a few months ago when the general public was really starting to talk about AI. Since then, our company has created a policy that all of our articles are written by actual humans. We are permitted to use the software to help come up with story ideas, which leads to today's interesting experiment with AI.
Sheep, the Billings PD, and our City Parks... AI says there's a connection.
Our editor Rachel asked AI for ten weird facts about Billings. One of the responses is hilarious. AI proclaimed,
Billings is home to the only police force in the United States that has a flock of sheep on its payroll. The sheep are used to help keep the grass trimmed in city parks.
Hahaha. Ahhh... Hahahhha. Ha. Haha.
Sorry. I just can't. Anyone who lives in Billings knows this 'fact' is absolutely not true. I considered maybe, somewhere in Billings's early history the police department kept a flock of sheep for maintaining grass in our city parks, but I dug through pages and pages of Google search results and could not find a single link or any evidence that police department sheep ever munched on the grassy hills of Pioneer Park, or any city park for that matter. And it's clearly not a current practice in 2023.
The only story I could find about sheep maintaining city parks is from Montreal, Canada where they use a flock of 12 sheep to keep the grass short. Montreal is obviously not Billings. Good job, AI. You suck.
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