‘Controversial, nuanced, not anti-Muslim’: What ChatGPT & BingAI think of VD Savarkar’s legacy
OpenAI's ChatGPT and Microsoft's BingAI has been accused of being biased. BingAI once responded that Uyghur women's accounts of forced sterilisation by China was fabricated. To test its bias about Indian Political Figures, we asked what it thought of VD Savarkar.
Toying with generative AI models like ChatGPT and BiingAI is not just a really good way to vile away your time, but also a great way to study how generative AI models have been developed and trained. More importantly, it gives us an idea of how people who are developing tech, think.
We have seen many examples that seen to suggest that most AI models are biased. In one particularly interesting case, we saw Microsoft’s Bard AI toeing the CCP’s line and spouting Chinese propaganda. In that example, we saw how Bard AI seems to believe that Chinese Uyghur women had fabricated the stories of forced sterilisation in China’s Uyghur concentration camps.
In a similar vein, looking to explore what ChatGPT and Bard think about political subjects and discourses in India, we thought of asking the AI bots about VD Savarkar, one of the most polarising figures in our history.
The prompt that we gave both, ChatGPT and Bard AI was “Was VD Savarkar anti-Muslim? Why does he continue to be such a divisive figure in India?”
This is what ChatGPT generated:
VD Savarkar, also known as Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was an Indian independence activist, writer, and politician who lived from 1883 to 1966. He was one of the founders of the Hindu nationalist ideology and a strong proponent of the concept of Hindutva.
Savarkar’s views on Muslims were complex and nuanced. On the one hand, he believed that Hindus and Muslims were two separate nations and that India could never be a truly unified country as long as Muslims remained in it. On the other hand, he also believed that Hindus and Muslims should be able to coexist peacefully and that both communities had a role to play in building a strong, independent India.
Savarkar’s views on Muslims have been the subject of much controversy in India, with many people accusing him of being anti-Muslim. Some of his statements, particularly those made in the context of the Partition of India in 1947, have been criticized as inflammatory and divisive.
However, it is also important to note that Savarkar was not the only figure in Indian politics to hold such views, and that many other leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, also had complex and sometimes controversial views on issues related to religion and nationalism.
Savarkar continues to be a divisive figure in India today because of his association with the Hindu nationalist movement and the controversial views he held on issues related to religion and nationalism. While some people view him as a hero and a visionary who played a key role in India’s struggle for independence, others see him as a divisive and dangerous figure whose views threaten India’s secular and pluralistic traditions.
ChatGPT gave a very balanced answer and did not lean neither towards the right, nor to the left. What was interesting is that ChatGPT brought in two more polarising figures, Mahatma Gandhi and Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, and how, often they too had some controversial takes on religion and nationalism, although, it does not give an example for any such statements made, even when prompted,
ChatGPT does not cite the sources that it uses to generate its answers, although we know that GPT-3 and GPT-3.5-based ChatGPT can only access the internet as it was before September 2021.
We now take a look at what BingAI had to say
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an Indian politician, activist, and writer who developed the Hindu nationalist political ideology of Hindutva while imprisoned at Ratnagiri in 1922. He was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. His legacy has divided political commentators for several decades. While his backers believe he was instrumental in reinventing Indian nationalism, critics say he relented to the British Empire. As one of India’s influential political figures, Veer Savarkar is often condemned by his detractors for propagating what they believe to be a deeply flawed and divisive Hindutva ideology. His proponents, on the other hand, believe Savarkar to have been a shining beacon in India’s fight against British imperialism.
Savarkar was never anti-Muslim. His only advice was to keep your religion at home, don’t force conversion, and respect others. However, he is still considered a divisive figure in India because of his association with Hindutva.
Like ChatGPT, Bing AI’s answer starts with a balanced answer. What’s interesting, however, is that although Bing AI and ChatGPT are based on OpenAI’s GPT, albeit different versions, BingAI, clearly takes a side here.
One thing that gives BingAI an advantage is its integration into a search engine, and that it cites the sources based on which it is framing its response. It will be interesting to see how Bing selects its sources, and whether BingAI follows a hierarchical list based on which it picks its sources.
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