07 November 2023

Writing a Family History Story Using Artificial Intelligence Part Two

Image created in Magic Studio by Canva
Text to Image using the words library, writer, short white hair, female

Previously, I wrote about using artificial intelligence in genealogy and demonstrated what AI could do using facts from my Roots Magic Software program. I used ChatGPT 3.5 to create a story about my father, Bruce Glover in the previous blog post.

I am not one to be satisfied with using only one AI Generator, I had to try another one. I use google products in my daily life and decided to check out Google Bard, an AI generator. Using the same set of facts, and the same prompt, Google Bard returned the following story.

Bruce Glover was born on February 17, 1925, in Detroit, Michigan. He was raised in Hazel Park, Michigan, where he attended Hazel Park High School. After graduating from high school in 1943, Glover enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. He served in World War II as a radio operator and gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber. After the war, Glover returned to Hazel Park and worked as a sports editor for the Hazel Park Journal. In 1950, he moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he worked as a teacher. In 1952, he married Audrey Jane Frederick. The couple had two children together.

Glover was a member of the Palms United Methodist Church in Palms, Michigan. He was also a member of the Kalamazoo Kiwanis Club. In 1983, Glover moved to Denton, Texas. He retired from teaching in 1990. In 2003, he moved back to Kalamazoo. Glover died at his home in Portage, Michigan, on September 8, 2018, at the age of 93.

"Just the facts, ma'am", is my first observation. There are no additional details that make the story interesting like there was in ChatGPT. The Google Bard story is shorter, two paragraphs vs. seventeen. 

Also, Google Bard using the facts provided returned a story with multiple errors. The highlighted words are inaccurate. I wonder where Bard gets its information. Google perhaps?

  • The sentences about his military service are far from the facts provided. My father, Bruce Glover, was in the Army. He never operated a radio or served as a gunner.
  • The returning to Hazel Park after the war to work as a sports editor is the same problem I had with ChatGPT. It leads me to think I need to fix something in my fact list.
  • The teaching in Kalamazoo is another erroneous fact. This is created because I have a fact about teacher certification that was given from Western Michigan University in 1950. ChatGPT returned the same interpretation from this fact.
  • My mother's name was Fredrick, not Frederick. I have the correct spelling in the fact list.
  • They had four children, not two. I didn't include any number of children in my fact list.
  • The Palms church was Lutheran, not Methodist.
  • Bruce Glover never belonged to the Kiwanis Club in Kalamazoo, or any Kiwanis Club.
  • Bruce Glover moved to Kalamazoo in 1990.

Some of the errors in the story have to do with the gaps in my listing of facts in Roots Magic. The AI generated story shows I need to clarify some things in my database. The AI generated story is only going to be as good as the information given to it.

 I am guessing here because I don't know what sources Bard uses, probably Google search engine, but AI generation finds online information (Palms Methodist Church, Kiwanis Membership) and pulls it from the web into the story.

 I wrote before about AI generation not being perfect and I caution family history researchers to analyze any results they get before posting it publicly. We have seen many trees that are shared with erroneous information and people repeatedly keep sharing these trees. Don't do this with stories. If you write using an AI generator inform your reader of this fact.

 I tried out two AI generation products, ChatGPT and Google Bard. These aren't the only ones that can generate stories from a set of facts. I don't plan to try them all out, but you may find one you like better than another. For now, I will play around with ChatGPT, but it won't replace writing my own blog posts.

For a list of AI generators for text, check out We are Developers, The Best AI Chatbots: ChatGPT and Other Alternatives, article for a list of generators and their pros and cons. 

AI and genealogy will be a good fit and I am looking forward to what the future brings in this area. 


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