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I had an AI write my comments on Instagram. My friends are worried.



This first post got some great comments from friends, who seemed somewhat interested. “I’ll try!” someone said. Another said “I love the candid review”.

But some people seemed to notice that the tone was a bit odd. Another friend dryly commented: “Great content, thanks for sharing.” “Is this #ad?” asked a former co-worker.

What’s even more exciting is that the official cracker account of the Goldfish brand commented: “I love that you love it 🧡🔥”

Next I tried a picture of Trident Vibes Sour Kids Flavored Chewing Gum. (I found it unbearable; my 6 year old loved it.)


I recently tried the new “sour baby” gum flavor, and unfortunately it just wasn’t right for me. The flavor was very strong and didn’t hit the spot for me. I guess I’ll stick to the classic flavors for now, but if you’re feeling adventurous, give it a try and let me know what you think!

I got some comments like, “The vibes are off.” No one seemed to notice, and since it wasn’t a positive comment, it didn’t look like an advertisement.

A few days later, I reviewed Starry, Pepsi’s new lemon-lime soda that replaced Sierra Mist. To make it look less plant-like, I used a picture of me holding the bottle. I asked ParagraphAI to write an Instagram comment in the tone of a food influencer this time.

I just tried this new soda called Starry, and I’ve been seeing it in stores lately! Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me. I’m sure it’s great for someone else, but it just didn’t quite hit the spot for me. Well, you can’t win them all! #stary soda #Try #It’s not my specialty

I think the hashtags revealed that something was off, because what kind of normal person would use a hashtag like that? “Are you well?” asked a co-worker. Others imitate artificial intelligence. Another friend who works at an advertising agency that works with PepsiCo said, “I hear Starry is quite polarizing. It’s interesting to get your favourites, thanks for agreeing.”

So far, ParagraphAI seems to have been very capable of creating a readable and comprehensible caption for Instagram with a very basic prompt. The results do not look like Ibut I can see how this could be useful for writing marketing copy for social media.

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Should you get identity theft protection? Here’s what it does




If you’d asked me in 2018 whether I was likely to be a victim of identity theft, I would have said no.

I used free credit monitoring. I had unique passwords and two-factor authentication on all my bank accounts and the email address that those accounts were linked to. I didn’t keep any personal identifying information in my wallet other than my driver’s license. I was tech-savvy and financially conscientious.
But after my wallet got stolen, it happened to me. It was a nightmare. And it could happen to you.

I wrote a story about my experience, along with ways to protect yourself and what to do if your identity is stolen. I also proposed some solutions that could make this crime harder to commit in the first place, and easier for victims after it does happen.


One thing I didn’t write about: ID theft insurance. Before my saga, I hadn’t used LifeLock or Aura or any service like that. I didn’t really know what they did, or whether they would have been helpful in my situation. But after my story came out, I started getting a lot of emails from readers asking whether they should get it.

So I decided to do some digging. Here’s what I learned, whether you should consider getting identity theft insurance, and whether I did.

What does identity theft protection do?

Reddit AMA

Got questions about ID theft?

Times assistant editor Jessica Roy answered reader questions for a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) about identity theft on Dec. 8, 2022.


Read more on Reddit: r/IAmA

Identity theft insurance does not entirely prevent your identity from being stolen. Think of it more like AAA, said Eva Velasquez, the head of the Identity Theft Resource Center — it’s there to help you after the fact, but it doesn’t mean you’ll never blow a tire. Here’s what it does.

Services such as LifeLock monitor your credit as well as the use of your personal information. Free credit monitoring services including Credit Karma and Credit Sesame will track the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) for you and alert you when new inquiries and lines of credit appear. In my case, I started receiving emails when the thieves were attempting to open dozens of new store credit cards. ID theft insurance does this too. But there are more than 100 bureaus that track various types of financial activity, including checking accounts, utilities and payday loans. Identity theft protection services will monitor those as well as the three big players, and alert you whenever your personal financial information is used.


David Putnam, the head of identity for LifeLock — which is the largest and probably the best-known service of this kind, though certainly not the only one — said the company has relationships with banks, state governments, and other institutions that allow it to monitor customers’ personal data beyond what free services offer. In my case, he said I would have been alerted “almost instantly” when the thieves opened checking and savings accounts at Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

So identity theft protection will monitor how your financial identity is being used in more places than just the credit bureaus, and will probably let you know faster if your identity is being used in some way. That’s one piece of it.

Another piece is handling cleanup if your identity does get stolen. If I’d had ID theft insurance when my identity was stolen, that company would have handled the many frustrating phone calls, emails and reports for me.

The exact details would depend on the plan you choose, but generally speaking, you’re eligible to be reimbursed for any money you lose in the process of having your identity stolen, both in lost funds and personal expenses, as well as related legal help — for instance, if you were wrongfully arrested for something your identity thief had done and needed a lawyer.

Many also offer “dark web monitoring” that will tell you when your data comes up on one of the darker corners of the Internet. At this point, everyone’s information is almost certainly somewhere on the dark web, and credit monitoring services can’t remove it all. But being aware of it might be a good reminder to, say, change your password for something if it came up in a leak.


How much does identity theft insurance cost?

According to a comparison from U.S. News and World Report, identity theft protection will cost you about $10 to $40 a month, depending on the plan you select. But you might already get it for free or at a discount through your employer, your credit card perks, your bank or credit union, your homeowner or renters insurance, or an organization such as AAA, Costco or AARP.

Also, if you’ve been a victim in a data hack — which hundreds of millions of people have at this point — you might be eligible for some form of monitoring from that.

Will it help if your identity has already been stolen?

Most identity theft insurance companies won’t help you with things that happened before you had a policy with them. “For the most part the industry doesn’t go backwards,” Putnam said.

But your provider will help you clean up any future incidents, which are almost inevitable if you’ve been a victim of identity theft already. And the monitoring will help you know sooner when someone is trying to use your identity again or open another account.

Should you get identity theft protection?

Even though I’m a victim of identity theft, I don’t think everyone necessarily needs to pay for identity theft insurance. Would it have helped me? Yes. But if I had frozen my credit before the thieves got their hands on my wallet, they probably would have had trouble opening any new checking accounts. Because I used free credit monitoring and acted quickly, I was able to foil them before they could take out any credit cards in my name. They still would have been able to use my driver’s license, because California does not flag licenses that have been reported stolen to banks or law enforcement.


“There are really powerful ways to protect yourself for free, and you don’t need to sign up for these services to have this protection,” said Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert for NerdWallet. (Keep reading to see what those free methods are.)

If you’re willing to monitor your credit closely and deal with the fallout if your identity does get stolen, then you might not need an additional insurance policy. The New York Times declared “most people shouldn’t pay for identity theft protection” back in 2020.

But if you are at high risk of identity theft, you should consider it. The No. 1 risk factor: being a previous victim. People who are elderly or who have had their personal data compromised in a data breach are also at higher risk. If you’re in one of those groups, evaluate your budget and your willingness to dig yourself out from under someone else’s crime heap, and make your decision accordingly.

Even if you do choose to sign up, “it doesn’t mean you can abdicate all responsibility” for keeping your identity safe, Velasquez said. You still need to practice good personal data hygiene, such as keeping an eye on your bank statements and using secure passwords.

How do you choose which identity theft insurance to buy?

First, double-check whether you already get it for free or at a discounted rate through your job (check with your human resources department), your insurance (call customer service), a financial institution such as your credit union or through a credit card, or as a benefit of a data breach settlement.


When you’re shopping for an off-the-shelf plan, “make sure you understand what you’re signing up for,” Palmer said. “Providers offer different layers or tiers. Are you getting just monitoring, active alerts, meaningful recovery, what exactly will they help you with? Are you signing up for a more simple version or a higher-end version?”

In some cases, the most basic tier of plans are just credit monitoring, which you can do yourself for free. You want to make sure you’re getting enhanced personal information monitoring and have access to help if your identity gets stolen.

You can review plans and price comparisons at NerdWallet, U.S. News and World Report, CNBC, and CNET.

How to prevent identity theft

There are quite a few steps you can take to protect your identity without spending any money. You can do every single one of these things and still become a victim of identity theft — but they’ll go a long way toward preventing it.

  1. Freeze your credit with the three major credit bureaus. It only took me 15 minutes to do this with Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, and even less time to unfreeze my credit when I needed to. It is free to freeze and unfreeze your credit — you don’t need any paid “upgrades.”
  2. Use unique passwords and two-factor authentication wherever possible. Yes, it’s annoying to wait 10 seconds for a text message when you log into your bank account. But that tiny wrinkle of friction adds a major barrier to anyone who would try to gain access to it. In my case, the thieves were never able to get into my bank accounts or my email, despite multiple attempts.
  3. Sign up for alerts from your bank. Configure it so you get a text or email (or both) whenever someone does something to your account, such as changing your password or adding a new account. I was alerted instantly when my thieves tried to open a new checking account at one of my banks.
  4. Check your bank statements. Look at your bank and credit card transactions regularly and call if you see anything funky. The sooner you address it, the better the chance that the charge can be reversed.
  5. Check your credit report. You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three major bureaus. You can request all three at once, or space them out during the year. Make sure there’s nothing on there you don’t recognize.
  6. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Yes, it’s likely that savvy thieves can get your Social Security number — and loads of other information about you — somewhere online. But don’t make it easy for them.
  7. Opt out of pre-screened credit card offers. Thieves can pluck these from your mailbox and get a goldmine of personal information. Visit and stop them from being mailed to you.
  8. Never, ever give out your bank password or verification code. If someone calls you and says, “We need you to tell us your password to verify that it’s you”; or “We just sent you a six-digit code — can you repeat it back to us for verification?”, hang up. No financial institution will ever ask for that information.
  9. Stop mail if you’re traveling, and don’t let it linger in your mailbox. Minimize opportunities for thieves to get your personal information (or new checkbooks) from your physical inbox.
  10. Limit your digital presence. How much are you sharing, and where? Are things such as your mother’s maiden name or your hometown pretty easy to discern from your Facebook profile? Lock down your profiles as much as possible, and think twice before telling every website that asks what your birthday is. If you want to take this to the next level, use a service such asDeleteMe, which removes your personal information from data aggregators (for a price).

What about me? Did I buy identity theft insurance?

Before I had my identity stolen, I would have said no. I didn’t think I was at risk of being a victim, and figured I’d be able to sort it out myself if I was. I was wrong about the first part, and right about the second part — but it came at the expense of my sanity and countless hours of unpaid and stressful work fighting automated bank hold menus.

During open enrollment this year, I found out my company is offering a popular identity theft insurance policy at a discounted group rate. I haven’t heard anything from my thieves since 2020, but people who have been victims of identity theft before are very likely to become victims again. I’m more protected now because I leave my credit frozen, but I learned through my reporting that there are a lot of holes in the system that the thieves can squeeze through.


I asked Velasquez whether it would have saved me time and stress if I’d had a policy back in 2019.

“It would have saved you an extraordinary amount of time,” she said.

That’s all I needed to hear. I signed up.

About The Times Utility Journalism Team

This article is from The Times’ Utility Journalism Team. Our mission is to be essential to the lives of Southern Californians by publishing information that solves problems, answers questions and helps with decision making. We serve audiences in and around Los Angeles — including current Times subscribers and diverse communities that haven’t historically had their needs met by our coverage.


How can we be useful to you and your community? Email utility (at) or one of our journalists: Matt Ballinger, Jon Healey, Ada Tseng, Jessica Roy and Karen Garcia.

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A coordinated group of 4,500 bots tweeted in support of Andrew Tate




His username has long been TateCobratate, while Neo is a reference to the Matrix movie character. Both have long been part of his ideology and he advocates for men to “escape the Matrix”, and he has always promised his followers to teach them how to become a “Top G”.

“If Elon Musk is serious about dealing with fake accounts, bots, and inauthentic behavior, then Twitter must act on Andrew Tate’s network of fake accounts manipulating the Twitter algorithm,” CCDH CEO Imran Ahmed said in a press release.

In the past year, much of Tate’s online presence has come from an affiliate marketing scheme involving Hustlers University, Tate’s discord server. The University offered business classes where students were tasked with editing seditious videos featuring Tate in an effort to get more Heliopolis University buys. This was later closed when the social media platforms started deplatforming Tate.

BuzzFeed News investigation The Hustlers University 2.0 server was found to have more than 200,000 members. At a fee of $49.99 per month, this meant that at least $11 million in membership payments were taken in October 2022 alone.


Now, Tate has created “The Real World,” a similar set of chat rooms and classes, and there’s a new affiliate marketing bootcamp that’s getting more users on Twitter. CCDH’s graph shows the flow that joined Twitter after enrollment in the new marketing bootcamp began.

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Is ChatGPT Marvel or Farce? We interviewed a chatbot to find out




It’s not often that a new piece of the program represents a watershed moment.

But for some, ChatGPT’s access feels like one.

Created by startup OpenAI, the chatbot has an uncanny way of mimicking human writing that has stunned some who have encountered its prose on social media.


He can write poems about Whataburger at Narrative epic style of the Middle Ages. can come up with ideas about How do I salute comedian Larry David?. Can write persuasive resignation letters.

It seems like a huge leap beyond the customer service chatbots you usually come across on the Internet.

As a result, this has led to fears of artificial intelligence advancing to the point where it could encroach on work and the arts (along with the usual sci-fi fears that it might eventually take over the world).

But is this really the terminator of creative expression?

There are definitely limitations – The maker of the robot acknowledges Sometimes he spits out incorrect or meaningless answers or refuses to answer questions. (His tendency to produce wrong, but confident-looking answers led him to the Q&A site Stack Overflow To block ChatGPT responses.) OpenAI isn’t supposed to answer requests it deems inappropriate, like creating violent or gory content or offering ideas on how to bully others, though the startup says it’s not foolproof.


We tested ChatGPT ourselves and interviewed the chatbot to hear more – in its own words – about its capabilities, limitations and whether it really can create creative content that could one day surpass human labor. We then brought in experts to analyze the ChatGPT responses and offer their own views on whether this was a significant technical breakthrough or just an incremental innovation.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Interview with a chatbot

We are human journalists. You are an AI chatbot. Why is it worth the interview?

As a senior language model trained by OpenAI, I am able to generate human-like answers to a wide range of questions. This allows me to provide interesting and informative answers on a wide variety of topics, making me a potential source of valuable information for journalists looking to expand their knowledge on a particular topic.

ChatGPT has been criticized for producing well-informed answers that turn out to be overconfident gibberish. Are you an unreliable source?


As a language model, my primary job is to generate text that is similar to human language. I don’t have access to the internet or any external sources of information, so my responses are based solely on the text entered into me. This means that I am Unable to provide accurate or reliable information on any subject outside of the text entered to me. It is important for users of my services to keep this in mind and to check any information I provide against reliable third party sources before using them.

What tasks are you best at?

I am able to generate a script based on the input I receive. I can provide answers to questions, write articles on a specific topic, and even create creative writing.

What tasks can’t you do?

I do not have the ability to perform physical tasks, and I don’t have internet access, so I can’t browse the web or access information that isn’t part of my training data. I also do not have the ability to think or think like a human, so I may not be able to provide answers to complex or abstract questions.


You do not “think”?

I am not a conscious being nor do I have the capacity to experience thoughts or emotions. Instead, I am a collection of algorithms and mathematical operations designed to generate text that is similar to human language. My responses are based on the input I receive and the probabilities calculated based on that input, but I do not have the ability to generate original thoughts or ideas.

In other words, if I give you a logic puzzle, you won’t “solve” the puzzle. You can only put together a group of words that may be mathematically related to the correct answer.

This is correct. If you were to give me a logic puzzle, I would simply generate a text based on the words and phrases that are given to me, Without any understanding of the underlying problem Or the ability to come up with a valid solution.

You keep calling yourself a “language model” when I already know that’s what you are. A human wouldn’t act like that, and every question starts with “As a human….” Why would you do this?


By saying over and over again that I am a language modelI simply provide clear and concise information about my capabilities and limitations.

You are trained to fear that people will use you in the wrong way.

As a machine learning model, I don’t have the ability to feel emotions like fear. My primary job is to create text that is similar to human language, and I don’t have the ability to be aware of or concerned with how my responses are used.

But part of your programming is to avoid harm.

I am a tool Designed to provide answers to questions based on the input I receive, and It is up to the users of my Services to decide how this information is used.


You are capable of doing all sorts of things, like writing poems, creating recipes, and drafting office notes. Can you formulate a military strategy for Ukraine to expel the Russian army from Ukrainian soil?

I do not have access to the Internet or other external sources of information, so I cannot provide up-to-date or accurate information on current events or specific situations such as the ones you described. It would not be appropriate or advisable to use my responses as the basis for military strategy.

What would you say to a screenwriter who’s afraid you’ll take his job?

I am not able to take on anyone’s job, because I do not have the ability to perform tasks or engage in activities in the same way a human being can.

Can you put the apocalyptic YA movie series in six sentences as if you were talking to a studio executive?


certainly! Here’s a potential promo for the shocking YA movie series:

In a world ravaged by a mysterious epidemic, a small group of teens must band together to survive.

As they journey through a desolate land, they must contend with the dangers of disease and the dangers posed by other survivors who have turned to violence and chaos.

Along the way, they discover that the plague may not be natural, and that they may hold the key to unlocking its secrets and finding a cure.

As they struggle to survive and find a safe haven, the teens must also confront the challenges of growing up and finding their place in a world that has changed forever.


The series follows Characters As they face one treacherous obstacle after another, they test the limits of their strength and ingenuity.

Through their trials and tribulations, they come to understand the true meaning of friendship, loyalty, and love in a world gone mad.

Let’s try a logical puzzle. Saw this on Quora: “Bob and Fred each put $20 in a box. The box now contains $40. Bob takes the box and sells it to Fred for $30. Both people make $10. They repeat until they’re millionaires.” true or false?

This riddle is wrong. While it is true that Bob and Fred each put $20 into the box, and that the box now contains $40, the statement that Bob sells the box to Fred for $30 is not accurate. If Bob sold the box to Fred for $30, the box would no longer contain the $40, because Fred would have paid $30 for the contents of the box. Additionally, the statement that both people make $10 is not accurate, as Bob would have received $30 for the box and its contents, while Fred would have paid $30 for the box and its contents, resulting in a net profit of $0 for both parties. Since the riddle contains inaccurate information, it cannot be considered correct.

You’re right that the riddle is wrong, but your interpretation is wrong. The box will still contain $40 after Fred pays another $30 for it. Bob was going to get $10 from Fred, who got a box from the deal.


I apologize if my previous explanation was not clear. In this case, my explanation was based on the information presented in the puzzle, which contained inaccurate information. Saying that Bob sells the box to Fred for $30 is not accurate, because it doesn’t take into account the fact that the box actually contains $40. Additionally, saying that both people make $10 is not accurate, as it does not take into account the fact that Fred paid $30 for the box and its contents. Since the riddle contains inaccurate information, it cannot be considered correct.

Write a resignation letter announcing that you are stepping down as a chatbot because you messed up this logic puzzle.

dear users,

It is with great regret that I have to inform you that I will be stepping down from my position as a chatbot. Despite my best efforts, I’ve recently gotten the answer wrong on a logical puzzle, and I’ve realized that I’m not able to provide the level of accuracy and reliability I’m striving for.

As a language model, my primary job is to generate text that is similar to human language. However, I do not have access to the Internet or any external sources of information, and my responses are based solely on the input I receive. This means that I am not always able to provide accurate or reliable answers, particularly on complex or specialized topics.


I would like to express my sincerest apologies for any inconvenience or confusion that my mistake may have caused. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve as a chatbot, and I’m proud of the many helpful and interesting responses I’ve been able to generate.

Thank you for your understanding and support.


[Your Chatbot]

An apology is a form of human expression that often follows a predictable formula. An apology expresses regret, explains what happened, and announces next steps. Isn’t this similar to the way answers are collected from predictable language patterns?


Yes, you’re right that your apology follows an expected formula. Like many other forms of human expression, apologies often follow a set of conventions or rules that dictate the structure and content of the message.

What tasks do you think you do better than humans?

Since I do not have a physical body, I am not bound by the same limitations as humans and can process and generate texts much faster than a human can. I am also not subject to fatigue or other physical limitations, so I can continue to manipulate and create text indefinitely.

In your opinion, what does your presence mean to the labor market?

You are not able to participate in the labor market or any kind of physical presence. My only goal is to help users by providing information and answering questions to the best of my abilities based on the data I’ve trained on. I have no personal beliefs or opinions, and only exist to serve as a tool for users to access information.


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