Writing a Bio with ChatGPT

One of the weirder features of popular large-language model chatbot ChatGPT is its tendency to make things up (some call this “hallucination” but it’s really just how it works!). Nowhere is this more apparent than when you ask it questions about yourself.

I’m working on a new website, BiocharEntepreneur.com, as part of my focus on community biochar production (see also ClimateStartup.TV on Tumblr, and my updated general purpose Blogger blog, now live at HamptonBiochar.com). As part of this effort, I asked ChatGPT to update my bio.

The chatbot got a lot wrong, especially considering I offered it a URL with a real, but dated, bio! It said I am based in Oakland, Ca. It said my biochar company already exists. It said I worked on the Howard Dean campaign, and also advised the campaigns of Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders. I didn’t have anything to do with Dean campaign, and while I’ve written about Harris and volunteered for and donated to the Obama and Sanders campaigns, I did not formally advise either (although the Sanders campaign did use a template my digital strategy firm AHG created for canvassing social media ads). ChatGPT wrote that I created a biochar company in 2013 (“Under Adriel’s leadership, the company has grown rapidly, establishing partnerships with major corporations, governments, and NGOs worldwide.”)! It made up a co-founder role for me in a nonprofit called “Carbon Plan,” falsely claimed I was chief strategist on an anti-fracking campaign (AHG did some pro-bono work on well restriction in Ventura County but that information is not publicly sourced), and that I was an SF Sierra Club board member. It also erroneously claimed that I studied journalism at CSU Sacramento and that I play music.

Here is a bio for Adriel Hampton based on ChatGPT’s production, with factual claims edited for accuracy:

Adriel Hampton is a serial entrepreneur, political strategist, and activist based in Carlsbad, California. He has an extensive background in political campaigning, digital communications, and business development. Over the years, Adriel has helped build several successful ventures, including a digital media agency and a tech startup.

Adriel’s professional career began in the late 1990s when he started working as a journalist and later as a communications consultant. He gained widespread recognition for his work as an early adopter of digital media technologies for political campaigning.

In recent years, Adriel has become increasingly focused on environmental sustainability and climate change. In 2023, he began publicly working on a biochar business. Biochar is a type of charcoal that can be used as a soil amendment to enhance plant growth, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and sequester carbon. Adriel has also been involved in several other environmental initiatives.

In addition to his entrepreneurial and environmental work, Adriel has been active in local politics. He ran for Governor of California in 2019 as an independent candidate, advocating for progressive policies such as a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and criminal justice reform. He also sco-founded Really American, a political initiative which went on to produce viral videos targeting Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Adriel is a recognized leader in the fields of digital media, politics, and sustainability. He has been featured in numerous media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, and The Guardian. He is a sought-after speaker and has presented at conferences and events around the world.

Adriel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Rhetoric from University of California, Berkeley. He is a proud father and enjoys hiking in his free time.

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