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Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine (IBME)

New publication: AI model GPT-3 (dis)informs us better than humans

Giovanni SpitaleFederico Germani, and Nikola Biller-Andorno published a new paper on Science Advances. The paper, titled “AI model GPT-3 (dis)informs us better than humans” studies the impact on AI technologies on information and disinformation, and engages with the ethical implications.


Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way we create and evaluate information, and this is happening during an infodemic, which has been having marked effects on global health. Here, we evaluate whether recruited individuals can distinguish disinformation from accurate information, structured in the form of tweets, and determine whether a tweet is organic or synthetic, i.e., whether it has been written by a Twitter user or by the AI model GPT-3. The results of our preregistered study, including 697 participants, show that GPT-3 is a double-edge sword: In comparison with humans, it can produce accurate information that is easier to understand, but it can also produce more compelling disinformation. We also show that humans cannot distinguish between tweets generated by GPT-3 and written by real Twitter users. Starting from our results, we reflect on the dangers of AI for disinformation and on how information campaigns can be improved to benefit global health.

Transparent research using open science best practice

The study adhered to open science best practices throughout the entire pipeline, from pre-registration to dissemination. Giovanni Spitale, who is also an UZH Open Science Ambassador, states: “Open science is vital for fostering transparency and accountability in research, allowing for scrutiny and replication. In the context of our study, it becomes even more crucial as it enables stakeholders to access and evaluate the data, code, and intermediate materials, enhancing the credibility of our findings and facilitating informed discussions on the risks and implications of AI-generated disinformation”. Interested parties can access these resources through the OSF repository.

Media coverage

The study was widely covered by newspapers around the world, including:

The VergeFast CompanyMIT Technology ReviewEl PaisMirage NewsInside HeadlineYahooGovTechTech TimesNationNouvelles du MondeToday HeadlineEl ComercioNews AziTech XploreSciencenewsnet.inNewswiseNews EsEuroSamarchar CentralTodo DigitalIDW Online3dnews.ruEurekAlert!Noticias do BrasilMediumNews 8 Plus24 NoticiasThe Limited TimesGaming DeputyNews24.frSina.comSuddeutsche ZeitungO GloboAmHDblogUZH NewsBFM Tech