Tour Guides vs Robots

The Chatbot's Mission

The Guardian recently posted an article about sophisticated new AI that “stunned onlookers with its writing ability, proficiency at complex tasks, and ease of use.”

It was somewhat alarmist in tone, so I decided to test it out myself. Could this chatbot do a better job than me at guiding you to Dutch tulips? I instructed the chatbot to “write a guide about seeing tulip fields in the Netherlands”. This is what it produced:

The Chatbot's Article

“The Netherlands is known for its beautiful tulip fields, which attract tourists from all over the world. If you’re planning to visit the Netherlands and see the tulip fields for yourself, here’s a guide to help you make the most of your trip.

The best time to visit the tulip fields in the Netherlands is during the spring, when the tulips are in full bloom. The exact dates will vary depending on the weather, but generally, the tulip season lasts from mid-April to mid-May.

To see the tulip fields, the most convenient way is to rent a car and drive around the countryside. This will give you the flexibility to stop and take photos whenever you want, and explore the different tulip fields at your own pace. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour, which will take you to the most popular tulip fields and provide you with background information about the flowers.

When visiting the tulip fields, it’s important to respect the property of the farmers who own the fields. Don’t pick the tulips or trample on the flowers, and stay on the designated paths to avoid damaging the plants.

There are many beautiful tulip fields to see in the Netherlands, but some of the most famous ones are located in the Keukenhof Gardens and the Noordoostpolder. The Keukenhof Gardens are located in the town of Lisse, and they are home to over 7 million tulips, daffodils, and other spring flowers. The Noordoostpolder, on the other hand, is a rural area in the province of Flevoland, where you can see miles and miles of tulip fields stretching across the landscape.

In addition to the tulip fields, there are many other attractions to see and things to do in the Netherlands. Amsterdam, the capital city, is a popular destination for its historic canals, museums, and vibrant nightlife. Other cities worth visiting include Rotterdam, known for its modern architecture, and The Hague, home to the Dutch government and the International Court of Justice.

To sum up, the Netherlands is a beautiful country to visit, and its tulip fields are a must-see attraction. Plan your trip for the spring, rent a car or join a tour, and respect the property of the farmers. And don’t forget to explore the other attractions and cities the Netherlands has to offer.”

Was It Good?

Paragraph 1: This is a cliched opening paragraph, but fair enough, most online writing is cliched, so let’s not fault it for that.

Paragraph 2: This contains a supposed fact or guidance – the best time to visit the Netherlands to see tulip fields. Technically it’s correct in that by mid May there is usually one or two tulip fields (out of hundreds, if not thousands) still in bloom, but you definitely wouldn’t want to plan a visit in mid May especially to see these last remaining fields as you will have know way of knowing where they are (plus, it will be way better two or three weeks earlier).

Paragraph 3: This paragraph is technically correct, but everyone already knows that a car offers the most flexible way of getting around, so it doesn’t come close to enriching your knowledge.

Paragraph 4: This advice about how to treat the tulip fields you visit is correct.

Paragraph 5: This paragraph is terrible. Notwithstanding the cliched opening, it is incorrect that there are tulip fields in Keukenhof Gardens. Many people have seen pictures of Dutch tulip fields and wrongly assume this is what you see at Keukenhof. Keukenhof is a series of very manicured flower beds and displays, but no fields of tulips.

There are tulip fields near Keukenhof, but you won’t be able to visit them without making special arrangements.

Paragraphs 6 & 7: This is typical online filler that¬† doesn’t enrich your knowledge about how to see Dutch tulip fields.

The Verdict

Sorry Robot, but you’re not that smart! Your article looks and feels like a typical online blog article that is written just for SEO and not out of passion. And it’s less useful than such an article.

You get one or two incidental facts right but they add no value at all. And the most important fact of the article is actually wrong. And there is a very obvious lack of specific or rich information that would help a potential visitor out.

Fellow Humans, we can all breathe a little sigh of relief.. (for now).