Understanding Generative AI Hallucinations and the Importance of Expert Guidance

Feb 19, 2024 | Blog


What are Generative AI hallucinations?


GenAI hallucinations, also known as AI-generated hallucinations or AI-generated hallucinatory content, refer to instances where a Generative AI system produces information, images, or text that are not based on factual data or reality. These hallucinations can range from subtle inaccuracies to entirely fabricated content that appears authentic.

This phenomenon occurs when an AI system generates incorrect or unrealistic information, often in a convincing manner. Unless explicitly developed to address hallucinations, many AI systems cannot recognize when they lack the information or context to accurately answer a query. Their job is to answer queries, and they are not programmed to say “I don’t know”, so they make things up. 




Think of It This Way 


You’ve probably seen this in the media: Someone is lost in the desert, crawling through the sand. Their lips are dry and cracked from dehydration. Their skin is red from the constant onslaught of the sun. Then, they see it. A beautiful oasis with fresh water and shady trees to sit under. Salvation at last.

AI Hallucination - Oasis Example

But as the weary wanderer approaches, the oasis disappears. It was just a mirage, a hallucination, that the wanderer’s brain created from elements around them to solve a pressing problem. Only when confronted with the reality of what’s actually at the perceived oasis, does the wanderer realize the mistake.

But what if the wanderer had been given a water bottle, a shady tent to rest in, and a guide to ask simple questions to help the wanderer think through their predicament? The guide could ask a question like “Does it make sense that a body of water would be in the middle of this desert” or provide useful information such as a map.

It may not be a perfect analogy, but it is pretty similar to how GenAI hallucinations can be created. Without the full picture of what’s happening, AI systems may hallucinate, and we need to help guide them toward better answers.



Why Do AI Hallucinations Happen?


Generative AI hallucinations can occur due to various reasons, including:

Data Bias: If a GenAI model is trained on biased or incomplete data, it can generate hallucinations that reflect these biases. This is particularly concerning when the AI is responsible for decision-making or content generation.

Model Complexity: Highly complex GenAI models, such as deep neural networks, may have millions of parameters. This complexity can lead to unexpected behavior and hallucinations that are challenging to predict or prevent.

Lack of Context: GenAI models may not fully understand the context of a given task, leading to erroneous outputs that seem plausible at first glance.

Overfitting: AI models can become overfitted to their training data, making them less adaptable to new, unseen data and more prone to hallucinations.







Why Are AI Hallucinations Problematic for Businesses?


Generative AI hallucinations can have severe consequences for businesses in various ways:

Misinformation: AI-generated hallucinations can disseminate false or misleading information, damaging a company’s reputation and causing confusion among customers or stakeholders.


Legal and Ethical Concerns: Fabricated content generated by AI can lead to legal issues, especially when it involves copyright infringement or deceptive practices.


Loss of Trust: Customers and users may lose trust in a business if they encounter AI-generated content that is not accurate or reliable.


Financial Impact: Businesses may incur financial losses due to legal disputes, lost customers, or damage control efforts following AI-generated hallucinations.


How ClearObject Can Help Eliminate GenAI Hallucinations


ClearObject specializes in AI and IoT solutions. They offer expertise in developing and implementing AI systems that are accurate, efficient, and trustworthy. Here’s how ClearObject can help:

Quality Assurance: ClearObject combines extensive QA testing with state-of-the-art prompt engineering techniques to ensure high coverage and accuracy of questions within your domain space, as well as safeguards to know when a question is out of scope.


Model Selection and Optimization: ClearObject’s experts select and fine-tune AI models where required that are well-suited to your specific business needs, optimizing for cost & performance while mitigating the issues that lead to hallucinations.


Context Awareness: ClearObject takes great care in understanding the context in which your AI system operates, enabling it to provide accurate and contextually relevant outputs.


Continuous Monitoring and Improvement: ClearObject implements monitoring systems to detect any changes in the expected outputs of AI systems, ensuring the ongoing reliability of your AI solution.



GenAI hallucinations pose a significant challenge for businesses, but partnering with AI experts, like those at ClearObject, can help mitigate these risks. By prioritizing quality assurance, AI model selection & optimization, context awareness with prompt engineering, and continuous improvement, ClearObject can ensure that your AI solutions are accurate, efficient, and trustworthy. This commitment to excellence not only protects your business from potential harm but also enables you to harness the full potential of AI technology for your growth and success.