A BajanThings 101 on AI Chatbots: ChatGPT and Bard. Why you MUST fact check the output…

Here is a BajanThings 101 on AI Chatbots – using Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF from 1940 to 1947 as the reference source.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) ChatBots like ChatGPT and Bard are being promoted as the “next BIG thing”. With any new technology, there are bound to be some teething problems and issues that need to be addressed. Some of the key issues are:

  • rubbish in – rubbish out
  • unconscious bias and
  • made-up data.

Don’t believe everything a chatbot tells you.

Fact check the output. Caveat emptor (buyer beware).

So what is a ChatBot (Chat roBot)? Simply put, its a computer algorithm that simulates human conversation. The technical term is that these chatbots are neural network Large Language Models (LLMs).

The roots of AI (and thus, chatbots) goes back to the 1950s with Alan Turing’s Turing Test, which tested the ability for a machine to utilize intelligent behaviour similar to what a human might make.  Since then, technology has evolved and chatbots are now able to respond to written and verbal cues, and reply accordingly. With the advancement in chatbot technology, chatbots can now perform more complicated tasks. Will chatbots replace humans – I think not. They may replace some tasks.

Bots and humans simply have different strengths, and that’s why smart businesses won’t try to replace one with the other, but find the best ways in which bots and humans can win as a team.

ChatGPT (from Open AI where Microsoft is a major shareholder) and Bard (from Google) are the the two leading AI tools getting most of the publicity at the moment. There are lots of others. It should be remembered that these AI chatbots are beta tools. Open AI and Google are engaging the public to help train their tools and expand the databanks their AI bots use. They have a lot of data in their databanks scraped from the internet – but not all of this data is reliable data (rubbish in – rubbish out). Also that data can be biased. Facial recognition and racial biases in health care are two classic well documented examples.

One of the main issues with chatbots is that they sometimes make up facts and spout nonsense. They interpolate between the missing data… what AI researchers call “a hallucination”. Unfortunately it’s hard to know what’s truth and what’s un-truth and this mis-information can often be taken as the truth! When using these tool you need to validate the data. The databanks used by OpenAI and Google are black box affairs and often do not give you an indication of how or where the output was sourced, its just output.

Unless you have a deep understanding of the subject you might be getting a mixture of facts and made-up untruths! The issue is how do you differentiate the real facts from the made-up untruths?

We decided to set both ChatGPT and Bard a simple task to expose some of these issues of AI chatbots.

We asked ChatGPT and Bard to provide a: Summary of Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF from 1940 to 1947.

BajanThings posting on Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF from 1940 to 1947 is a definitive piece of fact based research taken from:

  • Errol Barrow’s redacted Record of Service papers that were released by the UK Ministry of Defence Headquarters Air Command RAF Cranwell
  • 88 Squadron Operations Record Books which are held by the UK National Archive at Kew:
    – RAF form 540 – which summarises daily operations by month
    – RAF form 541 – which list by day the aircraft and crews that took part in daily operations.
  • RCAF training records
  • the RAF logbook entries belonging to his pilots F/O Andrew Cole RAF, S/L Geoff Norton RAF and RAAF wireless operator/gunner First Officer Leo Schultz
  • supplemented with stories from those that flew with him.

Prior to this research by BajanThings most sources dealt with Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF from 1940 to 1947 in a line maybe two!

Errol Barrow Navigator RAF -Barbados stamp 2008
Barbados stamp from 2008 featuring Bajan World War II heroes. The Black Avro Lancaster was to depict that Barrow was part of Bomber Command. Barrow’s crew flew Douglas Bostons and were part of 2nd Tactical Air Force (2TAF) NOT Bomber Command. Wrong on two counts.

We felt that using Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF from 1940 to 1947 was a subject that we knew in great detail. We also knew some of the content available on the wider internet relating to Errol’s time in the RAF was questionable. It’s a classic issue of mis-information that has been repeated so often that it has become gospel – especially when repeated by trusted sources. For instance in 2008 the Barbados Post Office printed a black Lancaster bomber in the background of the stamp commemorating Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF. Errol Barrow NEVER flew Lancaster bombers. Errol Barrow while in 88 Squadron 2TAF (which was separate from Bomber Command) flew Douglas Boston light bombers (aka Douglas DB-7 / A-20 Boston / Havoc Attack Bomber). The source of this error, which has been repeated and repeated and repeated came from the book: “The Life and Times of Errol Barrow” by Peter Morgan published by Caribbean Communications Inc,  in November 1994.

The results of this exercise comparing the output of ChatGPT and Bard, highlights what we all should know. When using beta tools like ChatGPT and Bard you need to fact check. Context is everything. You CANNOT take as gospel their output. Sometimes, as you will clearly see, the data is made-up (my word “interpolated”, AI researchers word “a hallucination”). What is hard to tell, unless you know your subject intimately is: what is truth and what is codswallop. The fear is that the codswallop gets perpetrated over and over and then gets looped back into the black box databanks as unconscious bias! Much like the fact that Errol Barrow supposedly flew Lancaster bombers! Back in 2008 Peter Morgan’s book was taken as gospel by the Barbados Post Office stamp designers. The Barbados Post Office did not fact-check what Peter Morgan wrote – they took his output as gospel.

This issue of un-truths / nonsense / codswallop / hallucinations is now coming to a head. This was the headline in one of my news feeds the other morning: An Australian mayor prepares world’s first defamation lawsuit over ChatGPT content (Reuters Thu 6 Apr 2023 05.32 BST). The issue that has been highlighted according to James Naughton, a partner in Australian law firm Gordon Legal, is that it’s very difficult for somebody to look behind the output and say “how does the algorithm come up with that answer”? ChatGPT is accused of giving users a false sense of accuracy by failing to include footnotes. In the UK there is much talk about whether the Government should regulate AI information providers? The jury is out. What do you think?

Here is a very good article on how AI Chatbots work: Why Chatbots Sometimes Act Weird and Spout Nonsense – by Cade Metz from the New York Times 16th February 2023 [If you cannot access the article due to the New York Times firewall, Google: “Why Chatbots Sometimes Act Weird and Spout Nonsense” and you should be able to see the article].


Open AI ChatGPT Results for: “Summary of Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF from 1940 to 1947.”

This exercise was carried out on 5th April 2023.

ChatGPT – Result 1

Errol Barrow was a prominent Barbadian politician who served as the country’s Prime Minister on three separate occasions. He also had a distinguished military career, serving in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II.

Barrow joined the RAF in 1940 as an aircraftman, and he was eventually commissioned as a pilot officer. He was trained as a navigator and flew various aircraft, including the Lancaster bomber, on numerous missions over Germany and occupied Europe.

In 1943, Barrow was promoted to flight lieutenant and was appointed as a navigation instructor in England. He continued to serve in this capacity until the end of the war in 1945. After the war, Barrow remained in the RAF and was stationed in India and Singapore, where he served as a squadron leader and commanding officer.

Barrow left the RAF in 1947, having achieved the rank of wing commander. His time in the military played a significant role in shaping his worldview and political ideology, and he remained a staunch supporter of the British monarchy and the Commonwealth throughout his life.

We gave this a – Thumbs-down and included the following explanations: “Not Factually correct. Errol Barrow did not fly Lancaster bombers. He was not stationed in India or Singapore. He left the RAF as a Flying Officer. Refer to: https://www.bajanthings.com/errol-barrow-statesman-pm-barbados-raf-navigator-world-war-ii/

ChatGPT – Result 2

Errol Barrow joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1940 at the age of 20. He was initially rejected because he was too short, but he was eventually accepted after he convinced the recruiting officer that he would grow.

Barrow trained as an observer (navigator) and was posted to 88 Squadron, which was based at RAF Downham Market in Norfolk. He completed 48 bombing missions over occupied Europe and Germany.

Barrow was a highly skilled navigator and was known for his calmness under pressure. He was also a popular member of his crew and was respected by his fellow airmen.

Barrow’s experiences in the RAF also made him a more confident and capable leader. He learned how to make quick decisions under pressure and how to motivate and inspire others. These skills would serve him well in his later career as a politician and statesman.

We gave this a – Thumbs-down and included the following explanations: “Not Factually correct. Errol Barrow was initially based at RAF Hartford Bridge (lka RAF Blackbushe) and then Vitry-En-Artois, France. Refer to: https://www.bajanthings.com/errol-barrow-statesman-pm-barbados-raf-navigator-world-war-ii/”

ChatGPT – Result 3

Errol Barrow, a prominent Barbadian politician, served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1940 to 1947 during World War II.

Here’s a summary of his time in the RAF:

  • Barrow joined the RAF in 1940 as a volunteer, after completing his studies in England.
  • He trained as a navigator and was posted to the No. 101 Squadron RAF, which was involved in bombing operations over Germany and occupied Europe.
    Barrow was involved in several operations, including the bombing of the German city of Cologne in 1942, and the bombing of the V-1 rocket launch sites in France in 1944.
  • He was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant in 1944 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in the RAF.
  • After the war, Barrow remained in the RAF as a reservist and was involved in the Berlin Airlift operation in 1948.
  • He left the RAF in 1947 and returned to Barbados, where he became involved in politics and eventually became the country’s first Prime Minister in 1966.

Overall, Barrow’s time in the RAF was marked by his bravery and dedication to serving his country, both during and after the war.

We gave this a – Thumbs-down and included the following explanations: “Not Factually correct. Errol Barrow was in RAF 88 Squadron based at RAF Hartford Bridge (lka RAF Blackbushe) and then Vitry-En-Artois, France. Errol Barrow was not involved in the Berlin Airlift – in 1948 he was re-training undertaking two degrees. Refer to: https://www.bajanthings.com/errol-barrow-statesman-pm-barbados-raf-navigator-world-war-ii/”


Google Bard Results for: “Summary of Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF from 1940 to 1947.”

This exercise was carried out on 5th April 2023.

Bard – Result 1

Errol Walton Barrow was a Barbadian statesman and politician who served as the first Prime Minister of Barbados from 1966 to 1976. He was also a prominent figure in the Caribbean independence movement.

Barrow joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1940 and served as a navigator during World War II. He completed 48 bombing missions over occupied Europe and Germany.

After the war, Barrow returned to Barbados and studied law. He entered politics in 1951 and quickly became one of the leading figures in the Barbados Labour Party (BLP).

In 1966, Barrow led the BLP to victory in the general election and became the first Prime Minister of Barbados. He served in this position until his death in 1987.

We gave this a – Thumbs-down and included the following explanations: “This is light on detail for the period 1940 to 1947. Refer to: https://www.bajanthings.com/errol-barrow-statesman-pm-barbados-raf-navigator-world-war-ii/”

Bard – Result 2

Errol Walton Barrow was born on January 21, 1920, in Bridgetown, Barbados. He was a brilliant student and won several scholarships, including one to study Classics at Codrington College. However, his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. In December 1940, at the age of 20, Barrow joined the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Barrow was trained as a navigator and served with RAF 88 Squadron during World War II. He flew 48 bombing missions over Germany and France, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for his bravery.

Barrow’s time in the RAF had a profound impact on his life and his political career. He learned about leadership, teamwork, and discipline. He also developed a strong sense of patriotism and a commitment to fighting for freedom and democracy.

After the war, Barrow returned to Barbados and began a career in politics. He was elected to the Barbados House of Assembly in 1951, and became leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in 1955. In 1966, Barrow led the BLP to victory in the general election, and became the first Prime Minister of Barbados.

Barrow served as Prime Minister for 10 years. During his time in office, he oversaw Barbados’ transition to independence from the United Kingdom. He also introduced a number of social and economic reforms, including universal education and healthcare.

Barrow died in office in 1987. He is remembered as one of the most important figures in Barbados’ history. He is credited with leading the country to independence and with laying the foundations for its future prosperity.

Here are some additional details about Barrow’s time in the RAF:

  • He was commissioned as a pilot officer in 1941.
  • He served with RAF 88 Squadron, which was based in England.
  • He flew a variety of aircraft, including the Vickers Wellington, the Handley Page Halifax, and the Avro Lancaster.
  • He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944.
  • He was discharged from the RAF in 1947.

Barrow’s time in the RAF was a formative experience that shaped his character and his political career. He learned about leadership, teamwork, and discipline. He also developed a strong sense of patriotism and a commitment to fighting for freedom and democracy. These qualities would serve him well in his later life as a politician and statesman.

We gave this a – Thumbs-down and included the following explanations: “This is light on detail for the period 1940 to 1947. Errol Barrow did not receive the DFC and he did not fly Wellington bombers. Refer to: https://www.bajanthings.com/errol-barrow-statesman-pm-barbados-raf-navigator-world-war-ii/ “

Bard – Result 3

Errol Barrow was a Barbadian statesman who served as the first Prime Minister of Barbados from 1966 to 1987. He was also a member of the Barbados Labour Party and a prominent advocate for independence for Barbados.

Barrow was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, in 1921. He attended Harrison College and then the University of the West Indies, where he studied law. After graduating from university, Barrow worked as a lawyer in Barbados.

In 1940, Barrow enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) to serve during World War II. He was trained as a navigator and flew 48 bombing missions over Germany. After the war, Barrow returned to Barbados and resumed his law practice. He also became involved in politics and joined the Barbados Labour Party.

In 1951, Barrow was elected to the Barbados House of Assembly. He served as Leader of the Opposition from 1955 to 1961. In 1961, Barrow led the Barbados Labour Party to victory in the general election. He became Prime Minister of Barbados and served in that position until his death in 1987.

Barrow was a charismatic leader who is credited with leading Barbados to independence from the United Kingdom. He was also a strong advocate for social and economic justice. Barrow is remembered as one of the most important figures in Barbadian history.

Here is a summary of Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF from 1940 to 1947:

  • December 1940: Enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) to serve during World War II.
  • 1941-1943: Trained as a navigator at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire, England.
  • 1943-1945: Served with RAF 88 Squadron, flying 48 bombing missions over Germany.
  • 1945-1947: Demobilized from the RAF and returned to Barbados.

Barrow’s time in the RAF was a formative experience in his life. He learned about leadership, teamwork, and discipline. He also saw first hand the horrors of war. These experiences would later shape Barrow’s political career and his commitment to peace and justice.

We gave this a – Thumbs-down and included the following explanations: “This is factually incorrect and light on detail for the period 1940 to 1947. Errol Barrow did not train as a navigator at RAF Cranwell. Refer to: https://www.bajanthings.com/errol-barrow-statesman-pm-barbados-raf-navigator-world-war-ii/”


There you have it – the results from Open AI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard for the question: Summary of Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF from 1940 to 1947.

You would NOT want to rely on these results – yet some will and do. These machine learning AI technologies are still in beta and in their infancy. We deliberately chose an area we knew intimately to test ChatGPT and Bard. If we were to score the results we could only mark them as maybe 25/100. In fact that might be a generous result.

The bottom line: Don’t believe everything a chatbot tells you. Fact check the output. (In fact don’t believe everything you read on the internet without doing some fact checking.) Caveat emptor (buyer beware).


Do go and have a play with Open AI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard. I just tried again with a slightly different ask which was: “Write a summary of Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF from 1940 to 1947.” and the results were similar.

Do let us know your thoughts and experience of using chatbots like ChatGPT and Bard. Below are the links for you to try them out:

Open AI ChatGPT: https://chat.openai.com/chat

Google Bard: https://bard.google.com/

Microsoft’s Bing browser that includes Open Ai’s ChatGPT was introduced by Microsoft on 22nd February 2023. Interestingly Bing seem to be including refences! It is understood that Microsoft Bing is using ChatGPT v4 and the OpenAI link above that we used is using ChatGPT v3.

Microsoft's Bing now incorporates Open Ai's ChatGPT
Microsoft’s Bing now incorporates Open Ai’s ChatGPT.

Additional information on Errol Barrow’s time in the RAF can be found in the following BajanThings post:

2 thoughts on “A BajanThings 101 on AI Chatbots: ChatGPT and Bard. Why you MUST fact check the output…”

  1. Thanks for posting and doing this comparison. I find the the AI very interesting but have had similar results.
    Although you get some good information you need to know your subject to ensure all the information is correct.
    I did a few queries regarding: the work of Dr. Karl Watson, and one on Henry John Wilkinson. For Karl Watson there was no result and for Wilkinson I received details on someone else, with the same name.
    Do not go in blind is my recommendation.

  2. Fascinating article.

    There is so much misinformation ‘out there’ much of it now taken as ‘gospel’.

    Some of it is even perpetuated by bodies like the UK National Archives who continue to wrongly insist the Empire Windrush sailed from Australia in 1948.

    There is a permanent plaque in London in honour of Emma Clarke who, it is claimed, was the first black woman footballer – Emma was not black!

    And so much more…

    Looks like ChatGTP and Bard are not the answer.

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