I asked the AI chatbot to channel Ronald Inglehart, and the result is good enough to fool Google

Ronald Inglehart died in 2021 after an enormously productive life. It is next to impossible to overstate Inglehart’s influence on comparative political sociology. As I am still at the stage where I play with the upcoming nemesis of us knowledge workers (as opposed to pick its silicon brain with a sledgehammer), I asked the OpenAI chatbot to ‘write something in the style of Ronald

people holding banner
Photo by Vincent M.A. Janssen on Pexels.com

This is what I got back from the machine within seconds:

As societies become more prosperous and secure, people increasingly prioritize self-expression and quality of life over material concerns. This shift in values, known as the “post-materialist” revolution, is driving political changes across the globe. In particular, we are seeing a rise in support for progressive, socially liberal policies and a decline in deference to traditional authority figures. This trend is likely to continue as more and more people come to prioritize individual autonomy and well-being over conformity and security.

It’s not terribly original but coherent, better written than most of the stuff that my students produce, and it neatly summarises a core idea (or perhaps the core idea) of Inglehart’s oeuvre. Apart from the lack of references and figures, it reads like something that he could have written – perhaps for a text book.

Or does it? There is just one way to find out. And so I put OpenAI to the ultimate test and pasted the first sentence into Google.

A screenshot of a Google search
Google recognises the generated text as related to Inglehart’s work

As you can see, the first hits are either about Inglehart’s work or written by the man himself, although this single sentence does not even contain the usual catchphrases, ‘post-materialism’ or ‘values’.

One could argue that the new disruptor can fool the old disruptor. But perhaps it’s fairer to say that both softwares have become quite good at recognising and even rephrasing ideas, as opposed to hitting on mere keywords. Either way, all this looks pretty disruptive to me.

11 thoughts on “I asked the AI chatbot to channel Ronald Inglehart, and the result is good enough to fool Google”

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  • Vasiliki Tsagkroni | vtsagkr@sciences.social
  • Brendan Halpin

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