Lies, Damned Lies, and ChatGPT: Feathers the Rat

So recently I posted a couple of spam comments that appeared to have been written by a large language model (LLM), AKA a chatbot. The comments were written in such a fashion as to indicate that whatever had been aimed at the site had clearly read the posts on which it was commenting, yet equally clearly didn’t understand them. Anyway, after that, I decided it would be fun to take one of the most well-known LLMs, ChatGPT, and ask it to write some biographies. No, not of me―what kind of narcissist do you take me for?* Instead, I asked it to write bios of the much-more-famous-than-I-am critters over at The Oceanside Animals, thus providing me with cheap material for the next several weeks illustrating the strengths and limitations of the LLM. These biographies will be running in the order in which we acquired said animals, starting with Feathers the Rat, who never actually participated in any of the good old mayhem, given that she went to the Rainbow Bridge long before blogs (or, for that matter, Dennis the Vizsla) were a thing. But that doesn’t stop ChatGPT from making shit up about her.

Feathers the Rat is a prominent character in the book “Dennis’s Diary of Destruction” by C.K. Vine. Feathers is a gray rat with beady black eyes and a long, pointy tail. He is known for his cunning and ability to survive in even the harshest of environments.

Feathers first appeared in Dennis’s life when he moved into a new house in the suburbs. Dennis was excited to have a pet, but his parents refused to let him get one. Feeling lonely and bored, Dennis began to explore the house and found Feathers hiding in the basement. Despite initially being afraid of the rat, Dennis quickly became fascinated with Feathers’ intelligence and resourcefulness.

Feathers soon became a regular fixture in Dennis’s life, often sneaking into his bedroom to steal food or play games. Despite Dennis’s best efforts to keep Feathers hidden from his parents, they eventually discovered the rat and demanded that Dennis get rid of him. However, Feathers proved to be too clever for them and managed to evade capture.

As the story progresses, Feathers becomes a key player in Dennis’s various schemes and misadventures. He helps Dennis steal a neighbor’s prized pumpkin, escape from a group of angry birds, and even sabotage a school science fair. Though Feathers can be mischievous and even dangerous at times, he remains a loyal friend to Dennis until the very end.

Feathers’ final fate is left open-ended in the book, with Dennis reflecting on the rat’s ability to survive against all odds. It is suggested that Feathers may have moved on to new adventures or found a new home, but his legacy lives on in Dennis’s memories.

ChatGPT, Makin’ Shit Up

Well. So, yes, Feathers was a rat, but she was a cream-colored rat with a tan hood. She was also not a “he”. Dennis never met her, but ChatGPT thinks he did. Also apparently ChatGPT thinks that Dennis is a human (despite the fact that, when I asked ChatGPT to write a bio of Dennis, it clearly understood that Dennis was a vizsla dog). On the other hand, stealing a prized pumpkin and escaping from angry birds both seem like things Dennis would have done. He might even have sabotaged a school science fair, but probably not intentionally.

Incidentally, I could find no evidence that anyone ever published a book called “Dennis’s Diary of Destruction” (which, I mean, since that’s what the animals’ blog was called for some eleven years until Dennis went to the Rainbow Bridge, I probably would have noticed such a book at some point), nor that there is an actual author named “C.K. Vine”; although I did determine that you get a lot of highly questionable results when you search for that text. So I don’t recommend you do it.

Oh, fine, go ahead and do it. We both know you want to.

* Also, ChatGPT has no idea who the hell I am.

9 thoughts on “Lies, Damned Lies, and ChatGPT: Feathers the Rat

  1. ChatGPT can do some things, and dome extremely well – but not others. It is also up to us how we ask questions. It is recommended to remain in a dialog and deepen the question there instead of opening a new dialog window.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, but not what I’m going for in this series of posts, which could also be entitled “Lies, Damned Lies, and Anecdotes” … 😉 Those who are actually interested in ChatGPT can read the same Ars Technica articles that I have by visiting, or, to read about Bing Chat actively going mad when you talk to it too much (which caused Microsoft to limit Bing Chat interactions to five questions for a while),

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ROFL James! I thought I was in an alternate Universe! Were you C.K. Vine? How did Dennis become a Human? Was Feathers even real? So many questions….
    I prefer reality….LOL 🙂
    Great post! Really made me laugh….
    {{hugs}} BellaSita Mum (Sherri-Ellen) & ***purrss*** BellaDharma

    Liked by 1 person

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