Can ChatGPT Boost Your Civic Engagement?

April 4, 2023

An estimated 100 million people were using ChatGPT as of January 2023, making it the fastest growing consumer app of all time. Naturally, we wondered how this artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot would answer our burning questions. So, we asked “What are some policies that conservatives and liberals agree on when it comes to policing and public safety?”

On the big picture, ChatGPT did pretty well. Here’s what it said:

“While there are significant differences between conservative and liberal approaches to policing and public safety, there are also some areas where there is overlap in policy agreement.” Then it provided what turned out to be some good examples:

  • De-escalation training: At the end of 2022, President Biden signed a bipartisan bill that opened funding for de-escalation training. The goal? To give law enforcement officers the training they need when responding to people experiencing mental health emergencies.
  • Body Cameras: A bipartisan bill in Maryland’s state legislature aims to help police departments buy body cameras, particularly small departments that haven’t been able to come up with the funding.
  • Banning Chokeholds: Iowa’s governor signed bipartisan legislation that bans the use of chokeholds in most situations.

ChatGPT didn’t nail everything, though. It recommended we take a look at Senator Cory Booker’s Community Policing Act of 2021, a bill that…doesn’t exist (Booker did sponsor the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a version of which passed the House). The chatbot even generated a link that pulled up information on an unrelated bill and offered real-looking links to nonexistent stories from outlets like NBC, CNN, and NPR.

Later, it tried getting us excited about Baltimore’s bipartisan city council (April Fool’s – the council is 100% Democrats).

ChatGPT might be able to point you in the right direction if you’re looking for information on the issues, but don’t take the AI’s word at screen value. Check your information on other sites you trust to make sure you’ve got the facts.


List of fake links generated by ChatGPT

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