Finally, a debate is settled, or probably not. Shrews-bury or Shrows-bury?

Development of artificial intelligence has been underway for decades. From primitive beginnings, it has been growing in power and in “humanness”. Contact your bank or your council and in many cases, you’ll be talking to AI by voice or online. But no one thinks these have intelligence. Mutter something unexpected to your bank’s bot like “how do you cook crumpets” and you can cut through to a real human operator. At least I think it is a real human operator.

Chat GPT is becoming a favourite internet game. It has serious possibilities for learning, writing – and cheating. Some pundits think Chat GPT fulfils the Turing Test, which is passed when a computer’s responses cannot be distinguished from those that would have been made by a human. However, Chat GPT itself is dismissive of the idea:

“It is difficult to say whether Chat GPT, or any other language model, would pass the Turing Test.”

This is what Chat GPT says about Ludlow, it is good. It also has written us a poem. And how to pronounce Shrewsbury, which is controversial.

Ludlow is a market town in the county of Shropshire, in the West Midlands region of England. It is located on the River Teme, near the border with Wales, and it has a population of around 10,000 people. Ludlow has a rich history and a strong sense of community, and it is known for its beautiful medieval architecture and its thriving food and drink scene.

Ludlow has a long and storied history, and it was an important center of trade and industry in medieval England. The town was founded by the Normans in the 11th century, and it became an important stop on the route between London and Wales. Over the centuries, Ludlow grew and prospered, and it became known for its bustling markets and its strong trading links.

Today, Ludlow is a popular tourist destination, and it is known for its beautiful historic buildings and its vibrant cultural scene. The town is home to a number of medieval buildings, including Ludlow Castle, St. Laurence’s Church, and the Feathers Hotel. The town also has a thriving food and drink scene, with a number of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Ludlow is also home to a number of annual festivals and events, including the Ludlow Food Festival, which attracts thousands of visitors each year. The town is also home to a number of cultural and community organizations, including the Ludlow Assembly Rooms and the Ludlow Shakespeare Festival.

Despite its small size, Ludlow has a strong local economy, and it is home to a number of small businesses and independent shops. The town is also a popular location for commuters, with good transport links to nearby cities and towns.

Overall, Ludlow is a charming and historic market town with a strong sense of community and a rich cultural heritage. The town’s beautiful architecture and vibrant cultural scene make it a popular destination for visitors and locals alike.

The reference to the Ludlow Shakespeare Festival shows one the limitations of this chat bot. It can be dated because it only uses data up to 2021. Indeed, it thinks Peter Nutting is still leader of Shropshire Council.

I asked Chat GPT to write a poem about Ludlow. It’s really good, if a little cheesy:

In the town of Ludlow, so fair and fine,
Where the river Teme flows, so clear and divine,
Nestled in the rolling hills of Shropshire,
A charming little town, with its own unique fire.

The castle stands tall, a testament to time,
A reminder of days long gone, in a different time and clime,
The town square bustles with life and activity,
As people go about their day, with their own sense of propriety.

The winding streets and narrow alleys,
Are filled with the history of days long gone by,
From the old stone houses, to the cobbled streets,
Ludlow is a town that truly cannot be beat.

And on how to pronounce Shrewsbury:

Shrewsbury is a town in the county of Shropshire, England. It is typically pronounced “SHROOZ-bree” in British English.

I agree but half the county won’t.

The main limitation with Chat GPT is that it’s intelligence stops in 2021. Hopefully that will be resolved once the software gurus work out how to deal with contemporary news. The problem is obvious. Trump says he won the last presential election. Russia says it is not at war. Truth has always been an uncertain quantity. It is more so in our times. But perhaps computers will eventually become better at discerning the truth than many humans.

One thought on “I asked a chat bot about Ludlow, it wrote a poem, and how to pronounce Shrewsbury”
  1. I’m surprised it calls the Feathers ‘medieval’. I would have thought it should know that the medieval period ended with the arrival of the Tudors, or at least with the reign of Henry VIII.

Comments are closed.

Discover more from

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading