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Abolition of driving restrictions 'fake news' created by ChatGPT

By Ma Zhenhuan in Hangzhou| chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: February 17, 2023 L M S

A report on Thursday purportedly saying that Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, will soon abolish driving restrictions based on license plate number was "fake news" written by ChatGPT, a local radio station reported on Friday.

The "fake news" circulating in a screen grab on the WeChat "Moments" of many local residents stated that authorities in Hangzhou will scrap the practice of limiting private car driving on March 1 to "facilitate the travel of local residents and optimize urban transportation", according to the Voice of Zhejiang.

However, after some digging, it was discovered that the "fake news" was in fact penned by ChatGPT, the recently much talked-about AI-powered chatbot developed by OpenAI, when a resident tried to test its capability to compose a Chinese news report.

A screen grab was subsequently posted by the resident into a WeChat group, and was then reposted by unsuspecting friends and neighbors to their Moments or groups and other social media platforms.

The "culprit" — the resident who asked ChatGPT to write the report — has since apologized for any confusion and inconvenience caused as a result, and police in Hangzhou say they are looking into the matter.

Driving limits were temporarily lifted in the city on Dec 20, 2022, and no official announcement has been made as to when they will be reintroduced, said the Voice of Zhejiang.

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