With all the attention around ChatGPT (opens in new window) I must say I wanted to check it as well. I got some code from a coworker and saw immediate problems with it. It was looking extremely good until I checked what it really does and how it works though. To make it work I needed to fix a lot of things, but at first glance it seemed correct.
And that is the scary part. I would be really happy if it would work, don’t get me wrong. But I think that the plausible answers it offers, plausible at first glance, will potentially do more harm than good.
It is obvious that so called large language models have a lot of potential. I will not deny this fact. I loved the more theoretical answers on accessibility it provided. But code related answers were problematic. I even tested it with simpler algorithms for sorting arrays and needed dozens of prompt improvements to get correct answer. Again – not a problem if we are aware of it. But if we aren’t aware of it’s over-confidence, then we may do a lot of harm and get even more problems.
It’s confidence is amazing, then you check the code, line by line, run it and it wasn’t doing what you wanted. I used some hours to redefine my prompts and on the end I got a simple sorting algorithm to work. It helped me. But that was a simple and closed algorithm for sorting an array. When I tried to get an accessible widget by prompting ChatGPT I got the same confidence but quite poor or even totally wrong answers.
As mentioned – this can be very dangerous if people can’t really know the effects of the produced code. I totally understand the reasons though.
With 98% of all websites out there having accessibility issues it’s not weird that a lot of code examples out there have the same problems. And when we use the same pool of poor examples to teach artificial intelligence it should not come as a surprise when they can’t really deliver.my reflection about the causes behind poor delivery by ChatGTP.
I don’t have a clue about what sources did ChatGPT consume, but the reason for it’s problems with wrong answers is for sure that – poor sources. When humans will know how to write code that will make things accessible the robots will be able to learn it as well.