AI Chatbots

Purdue professor accused of being an AI bot over lack of warmth in viral email: I’m just autistic

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July 21, 2023 | 8:07


An assistant professor at Purdue University, who has been diagnosed with autism, said yes accused by a fellow researcher of being an AI bot after sending an email that allegedly lacked warmth.

Rua Mea Williams, 37, warned that people with disabilities could be confused by AI because fellow professors don’t take into account those who have neurological problems or are not native English speakers.

The kids teased me for talking robotically. This is a very common complaint with autistic children, Williams told The Post on Thursday about the misconception.

GPT Chat Detectors are reporting that non-native English speakers are using GPT Chat when really it’s just that they have an idiosyncratic way of stringing words together based on their native language’s translation into English.

Williams, who uses they/them pronouns, has a PhD. in human-centered computing.

They chose to share the interaction on Twitter to illustrate how the mistake could happen to anyone with a disability.

A Purdue professor has been mistaken for an AI chatbot due to his lack of warmth.
AFP via Getty Images

Your email’s AI design is smart, but it significantly lacks warmth, the researcher replied to Williams’ email, followed by a request to speak to a human.

It’s not an artificial intelligence. I’m just autistic, the professor replied, telling The Post it probably wasn’t the first time they’ve been accused of roboticity, but it’s the first time they’ve received the robot implication.

Rua Mea Williams has been accused of being an AI robot.
Purdue University/Website

Williams began teaching in 2020 at the university’s User Experience Design program, which focuses on designing new, cutting-edge technologies by examining and critiquing the research of others in academia and the scientific community.

Williams is contractually unable to share who the peer was or what led to the allegation that he was AI, but he said they were merely providing the information for the study he was asked to provide.

It’s the first time in this recent environment of AI suspects that I’ve been grabbed by a “Are you really?” they said.

The tweet has since been viewed nearly 10 million times on Twitter with Williams saying he has picked up on an alarming trend in the thread’s response since he posted the interaction Wednesday.

There are many people who talk about children who used to make fun of me because I spoke in a robotic way. This is a very common complaint with autistic children.

Your email’s AI design is smart, but it significantly lacks warmth, one researcher replied to Williams’ email, followed by a request to speak to a human.
Images of education

They’ve revealed since the rise of ChatGPT and other AI bots, fellow professors are suspicious of all their students’ work, but don’t take into account those who have neurological issues or aren’t native English speakers.

When asked how pervasive professor problems on campus worried their students are using GPT Chat to cheat at Purdue, Williams explained that this is not an isolated incident.

Purdue is no different than anywhere else, the professor shared. There is a lot of anxiety among faculty about the idea that all of their students are cheating with this new technology.

Williams warned that people with disabilities could be confused by artificial intelligence.
Christopher Sadowski

Williams cautioned that their fellow professors must be wary of blindly accusing students of cheating without sharing definitive evidence that most are unprepared for the storm that could come if they falsely accuse someone with autism or any student with disabilities of cheating.

Williams said he’s most concerned about students with undiagnosed issues who aren’t labeled in the eyes of the university system, which could show they may communicate differently than others.

They won’t have a leg to stand on to fight back, they said, realizing that as technology becomes more intelligent, it will be even more difficult to distinguish between a student who uses AI to cheat and someone who communicates a certain way because of a disability.





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