AI is transforming the English dictionary

Key Takeaways:

– Artificial intelligence has had an impact on the English language, as seen with the Collins Dictionary word of the year.
– Cambridge Dictionary has also been affected, with the word “hallucinate” gaining a new definition related to artificial intelligence.
– The new definition refers to when an AI system produces false information.
– There are concerns about the potential dangers and risks associated with AI systems hallucinating.
– Cambridge Dictionary is working to manage the tendency of AI tools to hallucinate in order to maintain trust with users.
– Other AI-related terms, such as large language model (LLM), generative AI (GenAI), and GPT, have also been added to the dictionary.
– The impact of AI on future dictionaries is expected to be even deeper.

The Next Web:

AI has made another assault on the English language. After taking the title of the Collins Dictionary word of the year, artificial intelligence this week assailed the Cambridge version.

This time, the impact is more subtle — but deeper. The first example emerged from Cambridge’s word of the year for 2023: “hallucinate.”

It’s an old word, but the award is due to a new meaning. In the latest versions of the Cambridge Dictionary, “hallucinate” has an extra definition:

“When an artificial intelligence (= a computer system that has some of the qualities that the human brain has, such as the ability to produce language in a way that seems human) hallucinates, it produces false information.”

To clarify the concept, the entry also includes two examples:

  1. LLMs are notorious for hallucinating — generating completely false answers, often supported by fictitious citations.
  2. The latest version of the chatbot is greatly improved but it will still hallucinate facts.

Hallucinating words

At TNW Towers, we welcome Cambridge’s intervention. Tech experts may argue that they’re reducing hallucinations, but the problem is far from solved — and the results can be alarming.

ChatGPT, for instance, can spoutdangerous medical advice. Security analysts fear the bot’s hallucinations could also drive malicious code towards software developers.

There are also risks for the Cambridge Dictionary.

“Managing the tendency of generative AI tools to hallucinate will be key to ensuring our users can continue to trust us,” said Wendalyn Nichols, the book’s publishing manager.

“The emergence of a new meaning of hallucinate is a great case in point.  It’s human experts tracking and capturing changes in the language that make the Cambridge Dictionary a trustworthy source of information about new words and senses — ones the public-facing AI tools won’t have learned yet.”

AI’s second linguistic influence

The new meaning of hallucinate isn’t the only mark of AI on the Cambridge lexicon.

During 2023, lexicographers have added various definitions related to artificial intelligence, including large language model (or LLM), generative AI (or GenAI), and GPT.

At the tech’s current pace of development, the impact on 2024’s dictionaries could be even deeper.

With the generative AI explosion still booming, perhaps artificial intelligence will simply invent the next word of the year.

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AI Eclipse TLDR:

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made an impact on the English language once again. Following its recognition as the Collins Dictionary word of the year, AI has now influenced the Cambridge version. The word chosen by Cambridge for its word of the year in 2023 is “hallucinate,” which has acquired a new meaning. In the latest version of the Cambridge Dictionary, “hallucinate” is defined as when an AI system produces false information that resembles human language. The entry also provides examples to clarify the concept. While some may argue that efforts are being made to reduce hallucinations caused by AI, the problem is far from solved and the consequences can be alarming. For instance, the AI chatbot ChatGPT has been known to provide potentially dangerous medical advice. Security analysts also fear that the bot’s hallucinations could be exploited to distribute malicious code. There are also implications for the Cambridge Dictionary itself, as managing the tendency of AI tools to hallucinate becomes crucial in maintaining user trust. The new meaning of “hallucinate” is just one example of AI’s influence on the Cambridge lexicon. Lexicographers have added various definitions related to AI, such as large language model (LLM), generative AI (GenAI), and GPT. With the rapid development of AI technology, its impact on future dictionaries, such as those in 2024, could be even more significant. It is possible that AI may even invent the next word of the year.