5 Weaknesses of ChatGPT You MUST Know About...

chatgpt Jul 10, 2023


In this blog post, I'm going to share with you five weaknesses you need to be aware of with ChatGPT.


It's an extraordinary tool, something that you should be using - it's going to save you hours of time! In my last blog post I shared why you need to be using ChatGPT.


But before you get started, you must be aware of its shortcomings. So, let's dive into those five weaknesses to be aware of.


1. Accuracy and Reliability


The first thing that you must be aware of is, ChatGPT is not always accurate or reliable. Think of ChatGPT as being your virtual personal assistant, your new employee. And just like with any other employee, they sometimes get things wrong.


ChatGPT is a little bit like that as well. The reason for that is largely because of something called human bias. There are two aspects of human bias in the way that the model was created.


Firstly, the source information that ChatGPT was trained on is subject to human bias. Some of the information may be incorrect.


Secondly, as the model was being trained, a human would verify whether the answer is correct or not. Again, we have human bias.


Therefore, we have to take everything that comes out of ChatGPT with a pinch of salt. We need to fact-check stuff. We have to use our own professional judgment, our knowledge, our skills, our experience to decide if the answer is correct or not.


2. Confidentiality and Privacy


The second issue to be aware of, and this is particularly important if you're a professional, is confidentiality and privacy.


When you first set up your account with ChatGPT, it does quite rightly recommend that you do not put any personal information, any confidential information, or any information about your client in, because the model is learning.


Back in March 2023, there was a bug in the software, a breach where some users' chats were appearing in other users' chats. If there was private information in those chats, then other people would have had access to that.


The general advice is, and ChatGPT and OpenAI do tell you this, do not put confidential information into your chats.


3. Mathematical Limitations


The third one, and if you are an accountant or bookkeeper, this one will be particularly important to you. It's not good at math.


ChatGPT’s primary strength is language. It's a large language model. It understands natural language. And so, while it has an understanding of numbers and rudimentary mathematics, it does get things wrong when it gets more complex.


However, thanks to the introduction of plug-ins for ChatGPT 4, there are now ways you can more accurately incorporate maths into your ChatGPT uses.


4. Hallucination


Number four is a really interesting one. ChatGPT suffers from what's being described as hallucination. What this means is that it gets things wrong confidently.


In other words, if ChatGPT doesn't know the answer to something, it has this tendency to make something up. And when it makes something up, it can be very, very convincing.


This is another reason why fact-checking and using your professional knowledge is so important.


5. Not up to Date


Finally, number five is another big one. It's not up to date. When ChatGPT was launched in November 2022, it was trained on data up to September 2021, so it doesn't know anything after then. We can't use ChatGPT for things like ‘What is the weather today?’, ‘What were the football results last night?’.


If you're an accountant or a bookkeeper and, for example, you want to use it for something around the area of taxes, well, taxes change every single year, and it may not have the tax data and the tax tables for the last couple of years.


So again, we have to be very, very cautious if we're using ChatGPT for technical stuff like taxes because it's not good at math, there’s the hallucination issue, and it's not up to date.


However, just like the mathematical limitations, new updates to ChatGPT 4 mean you can use ChatGPT with browsing enabled. This means it can now interact with the web to pull in information from the internet that wasn't available in its training data, which only goes up until September 2021.


Wrapping Up: Navigating the Strengths and Weaknesses of ChatGPT


ChatGPT is an extraordinary tool. But like any tool, it has its limitations. It's not always accurate, it's not always reliable, it's not always up-to-date, and it's not always good at math. But despite these weaknesses, it's still a tool that can save you hours of time and make your work easier.


Remember, use it as an assistant, not as a replacement for your professional judgment. Always double-check the information it provides, especially if it's something critical like tax calculations. And most importantly, never put any confidential or personal information into your chats.


If this is a topic that interests you, my team and I recently wrote an eBook all about ChatGPT for Accountants and Bookkeepers. It’s full of tips, advice, and worked examples. You can download your FREE copy here.


If you want to keep learning more about AI and ChatGPT, you can join a community of Accountants and Bookkeepers learning together in our Facebook Group here: www.facebook.com/groups/aiforaccountantsandbookkeepers


And finally, you can watch the full video on this topic here.



If you found this valuable and would like to learn more about value pricing, I run a free live online training session every month with a topic chosen by you. Attend live and you can ask me any questions you have. Click here to register and I will send you an invitation to the next session.


Wishing you every success on your pricing journey


Mark Wickersham


Chartered Accountant, Public Speaker and Author of Amazon No.1 Best Seller “Effective Pricing for Accountants”