Other sites are now discussing whether to either ban ChatGPT-generated answers or allow them on the condition that they meet quality standards. Two big concerns that have been raised is the issue of plagiarism and citation with respect to chatbot-generated content as well as the potential for a chatbot-generated answer to sound reasonable but contain factual inaccuracies that most honest, knowledgeable human posters would not make. For example, I posed the following question to ChatGPT:
In the original, prime timeline of Star Trek, how does Captain Kirk die?
Many of us know the answer to this question. He dies in the film Star Trek: Generations (1994) while disabling a weapon of mass destruction on the planet Veridian III in the (in-universe) year 2371. Jean-Luc Picard buries him in a makeshift, shallow grave marked with his Starfleet uniform insignia.
ChatGPT's answer was:
In the Star Trek universe, Captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner, does not die in the prime timeline. He is a central character in the original Star Trek television series and appears in several Star Trek films.
In the Star Trek films, Kirk is shown to be an aging captain who eventually retires from Starfleet. In the film "Star Trek Generations," which takes place in the prime timeline, Kirk is shown to have died at some point before the events of the film. However, the circumstances of his death are not depicted in the film.
It is worth noting that there are several alternate timelines and continuities in the Star Trek franchise, and in some of these, Kirk's fate may be different. However, in the prime timeline of the original Star Trek series and films, Kirk does not die.
At first this looks like a half-decent middle school essay, but at second glance (more than given to many answers), it is a self-contradictory, factually incorrect piece of garbage. It first claims that Kirk does not die in the prime timeline (factually incorrect). It then mentions the prime timeline film in which the character does, in fact, die, and claims that he died before the film! It claims that the circumstances of Kirk's death "are not depicted in the film", while in fact the film's depiction of Kirk's death is arguably its climax. For its last paragraph, it doubles back and re-establishes its original claim that Kirk does not die.