We live in a world of information overload, so discerning what’s true, biased, misleading, or totally false can be difficult. And while we might like to think that AI writing assistants are impervious to this challenge, they’re not. In fact, like any other content writer, they produce material containing factual errors, inaccuracies, and biases.
Fact-checking AI-generated content is critical to any individual or business using it. In this article, we’re covering how you should be fact-checking AI-generated content to maintain your reputation as a credible source of online information and publish high-quality content.
What Is AI-Generated Content?
AI-generated content is any material produced by AI. ChatGPT, Jasper AI, and Rytr are three AI writing services. These “writing assistants” create a variety of content, such as emails, blogs, memos, and product descriptions, in just a few minutes.
AI writing assistants are trained on large amounts of data (usually content available online) to produce your desired content. However, as we all know, social media, blogs, and news outlets do not always have accurate, reliable, factual information. As a result, AI-generated content can contain errors, which become your responsibility once published.
Should You Fact-Check AI-Generated Content?
The short answer to this question is yes: for several reasons, you should absolutely fact-check all AI-generated content before publishing it. The main and most important reasons are your credibility and reputation as a writer. You want to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information to your readers to show that you’re a reliable source of information. If you’re publishing content that violates Google’s E-A-T qualities, you run the risk of being flagged as spam and not ranking high on SERPs.
Additionally, AI isn’t perfect. In fact, it has been caught making quite a few errors. ChatGPT even has a note to this effect on its website and warns that users should exercise caution, especially when referring to post-2021 events. So always make sure to fact-check the following before publishing AI-generated content:
- Statistics, data points, and figures
- Names of people, places, titles, etc.
- Content discussing recent or current events
- Information that seems questionable or potentially incorrect
Four Reasons AI-Generated Content Isn’t Perfect
- Limited data: While AI systems use large amounts of data to generate information, they cannot analyze all potential information sources when creating content. As a result, they can produce material based on limited data, meaning your content could be missing information or may not represent a rounded perspective. Always consider which AI-writing assistant you’re using, research what type of data it uses, and exercise caution. Some topics, such as recent events or controversial or sensitive issues, may not be suitable for AI writing assistants.
- Biases in data: AI systems can be biased if the data used to train them is biased. For example, an AI system trained on data generated primarily by one race or gender may be biased against other races or genders.
- Lack of understanding of context: AI systems may not fully understand the context in which information is presented. For example, an AI system may not detect sarcasm or irony, leading to incorrect interpretations of information.
- Vulnerability to attacks: AI systems can be vulnerable to attacks, which can further cause them to generate inaccurate or misleading information.
Five Steps for Fact-Checking AI-Generated Content
Step 1: Look for Context
Review the information to understand the context in which it was generated. Consider the purpose of the AI-generated information and what it’s trying to convey. Before going forward, make sure the content is in line with your brand voice and values.
Step 2: Check the Data, Stats, and Figures
Look at the data, stats, and figures used to generate the information. Are they reliable and from a credible source? Are they accurate and up-to-date? Have any biases possibly influenced the AI-generated information? Make sure to cite or link to credible and reliable sources of information if AI-generated content quotes any data.
People like numbers. Numbers make an argument stronger and more persuasive when we use them correctly. Check AI-written content for areas that could be improved or more engaging with statistics and data.
Step 3: Verify the Claims
Verify the claims the AI-generated information makes. General claims may be easier to skim over if you’re biased toward them, so look with a critical eye and check for claims or statements that contain bias. Make sure they’re supported by evidence from credible sources and consistent with other information on the same topic.
To simplify this process, you can use these online fact-checking services:
Step 4: Consider the Limitations
Understand the limitations of AI-generated information. Consider the extent to which the AI system can accurately analyze and interpret data and whether any limitations or biases in the AI system may affect the accuracy of the information.
If the content you need goes beyond the limitations of your AI writing assistant, consider assigning the project to a writer or using AI in a minimal role only. Sacrificing quality in an effort to produce content is only going to hurt you in the long run.
Step 5: Consult Experts if Possible
Seek out the opinions of experts in the field to help verify the accuracy of AI-generated information. Experts may be able to provide additional context, identify potential limitations or biases, and provide alternative explanations or interpretations of the information.
Doing this can be as simple as sending a brief email to verify information that can’t be verified online or even setting up an interview. Regardless, the quality and value of a piece of content that has quotes, stats, or data from a primary source are always going to be higher than those that rely solely on secondary information sources.
While it’s easy to input a command and then copy, paste, and publish AI-generated content, take the time to review the results carefully and ensure that they’re factual and accurate. Your reputation and credibility could be at risk if you publish something containing factual inaccuracies, extreme biases, or claims lacking support. Additionally, take the time to edit and proofread all content before publishing to ensure it’s of the highest quality for your audience.
Check out our article A Writer’s Guide to Using AI: All You Need to Know to learn more about how AI is changing the way we write and how you can use it in your process.