How AI Hallucinations Can Contaminate Your Content

ai hallucinations

When it comes to online content, artificial intelligence (AI) is making things a lot easier for businesses. Many companies and marketers who use AI can create content faster and find more accurate predictions for whether content will work for their audience. But there is a massive problem with AI generated content that many businesses are unaware of, and that is AI hallucinations. This is when AI spits out nonsensical, inaccurate, or downright dangerous content. Find out what AI hallucinations are, how to counter them, and why they are a problem below. 

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Understanding AI Hallucinations

AI content creation, when done right, should be a collaborative effort between the machine and humans. The AI is trained on a wide range of data (what data that is will depend on the model), and the human is trained in their field of expertise and, of course, has the innate sense for creativity and nuance. It should be a good match, in theory. However, sometimes the AI tries to understand the inputs, data, and patterns, and it goes horribly wrong, leading to “hallucinations,” which is when the content it generates goes completely off script or is made up. This happens more than you would think. 

Causes of AI hallucinations:

  • Incomplete or biased training data: the AI is only as good as the data it is trained on; if it has biased or incorrect information, it will spit out the same.  
  • Over-reliance on data patterns: when the AI focuses heavily on statistics and patterns, it may miss the nuance needed to understand the data fully. 
  • Lack of human oversight: if AI is allowed to run and do whatever it wants without interruption, it will steer further from helpful content, and hallucinations will slip through the cracks. If this is an AI that learns from each interaction, and those interactions are full of hallucinations, the problem will get worse. 

The Price of AI Hallucinations for Your Business

Even if a business unintentionally creates inaccurate content, it can still have severe consequences. Spreading misinformation damages your brand and the integrity you have worked hard to build. Once a customer sees this, their trust will be lost; trust you need to make a conversion. 

For example, imagine sharing biased financial advice or publishing factually incorrect health information—the repercussions could range from customer anger to legal issues. 

This can then bleed into your website trust factor, too, which can then affect your ads. The domino effect of this one small issue is vast. Always verify content created by AI and never trust it to do the job of a content creation specialist, especially one well-versed in SEO. 

Real-World Examples of AI Hallucinations

Below are some examples of AI hallucinations and what happened:

  • Law Gone Wrong: A lawyer used ChatGPT to prepare for court proceedings and cited fake cases suggested by the AI. He was fined $10,000 as a result. 
  • Health Hoaxes: A healthcare chatbot tasked to help cancer patients gave the wrong advice 12% of the time, according to Jama Oncology. 
  • Unintended Insults: An AI language model by Microsoft–used to create Tweets for X–generated racist and offensive tweets by learning from other users. 
  • Copyright Issues: The New York Times made accusations against AI and Microsoft for a copyright lawsuit. Because OpenAI had access to Times’ content and learned from it, New York Times would be able to have a case if they could prove that the generated content was somewhat similar to their style.
  • Algorithmic Bias: AI can be trained in data to approve resumes or loan approvals. If, however, the data the AI is trained from happens to be biased towards a certain group of people, the AI, too, will be biased, unfortunately. This happened for Amazon in the tech sector, where men were chosen over women due to inputted bias.

Mitigating AI Hallucinations

There are steps you can take that will help to stop AI hallucinations from popping up in your content as much. You can’t eliminate it altogether, but here are some steps you can take:

  • Ample training data: your AI tool needs to be equipped with data that is high quality and factual.
  • The right roles for AI: you have to define explicitly what job you want to delegate to AI. You also have to define what the person in charge of the content would need to do to make it as accurate as possible, i.e., research statistics and facts.
  • Quality and accuracy metrics: a clear guideline needs to be set within the company on measuring the quality and accuracy of the AI content.
  • Human eyes: no content should be published that has not been looked over. 
  • Learn Prompts: use super prompts, prompts from experts, or create clear, detailed, and precise prompts for directing your AI.

Tips for crafting effective prompts:

  • You must describe the desired format for your content, including the length and layout. 
  • Tell the AI which tone it should write in, if unsure feed it content with the intended tone and ask for the AI to describe it and write like it. 
  • Provide the AI correct stats and details to use. 
  • Include references and examples if possible.
  • Set clear limitations. Remember to tell the AI what not to do. 

Striking the Balance Between Innovation and Responsibility

AI content creation is very promising for businesses and marketers despite it being in its early stages. Knowing the risk of AI hallucinations and making sure you do all you can to avoid it puts you in the best place to create accurate content that brings about trust and authority in your brand. 

If you need assistance with custom content that ranks and gets clicks, improves your brand’s exposure online, increases quality traffic to your site, and converts visitors into customers, contact ClickGiant today. We are a leading digital marketing agency serving clients nationwide. 

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