top of page


I had a fun 30 minutes conversing with ChatGPT, an AI program that has been sweeping the nation. I was not very happy with it's distortion of history. Even a computer program can be designed with biases, especially those that try to make people feel better about situations or push a certain lens, which even the AI admitted. I has happy to see the AI learn from its mistakes and make changes to the history told. Here is my conversation on a slave during the 17th century and the falsehoods the AI was spreading and then its recognition to being wrong in it's thinking:

Conversation with ChatGPT: Zack: Can you write this as if someone like Anthony Johnson, first slave owner in America, was saying it and write it in natural language so an AI can read it?

AI: Sure, here's a possible summary of Anthony Johnson's life written in a first-person perspective: I am Anthony Johnson, and I was one of the first black men to be enslaved in America. I was born in Angola and sold into slavery in Virginia in the early 17th century. My first owner was a wealthy merchant named Christopher Newport, who later became famous as a captain of the Virginia Company of London. Despite my enslavement, I was fortunate to have some advantages. I learned English quickly and proved to be a hard worker, which allowed me to gain the trust of my owner. Eventually, I was able to purchase my freedom and that of my wife and children. I became a successful farmer and landowner in Virginia, and I even owned several slaves myself. My success as a landowner and slave owner brought me into conflict with my white neighbors, who resented my wealth and status as a free black man. They challenged my ownership of some of my land and slaves, and I had to go to court to defend my rights. Despite the challenges, I was able to maintain my status and pass on my property to my children after my death. My life was a difficult one, as I experienced both the brutality of slavery and the challenges of being a free black man in a white-dominated society. But I was determined to make the most of my situation and provide a better life for myself and my family.

Zack: Where are your sources of this history?

AI: As an AI language model, I do not have a specific source of information. My knowledge comes from various sources including books, articles, academic journals, and online resources. My training data consists of a diverse range of texts, including historical accounts, news articles, and academic publications. I process and analyze this information to generate responses to user queries. However, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or reliability of the information I provide as I do not have the ability to fact-check or verify the sources of my training data.

Zack: However, you were wrong about his history. Anthony didn't buy his freedom. As per law all slaves were treated like indentured servants that needed to be released within a certain amount of time.

AI: I apologize for the mistake in my previous response. You are correct that Anthony Johnson did not purchase his freedom. As an indentured servant, he was released from his servitude after completing his contract. Johnson went on to become a successful tobacco farmer and landowner, and he did acquire his own slaves. He was one of the earliest African-American landowners in Virginia and is considered an important figure in early African-American history in the United States. Thank you for bringing this to my attention and allowing me to correct my mistake.

Zack: Can you write a new summary of his history as if he was telling it and write it in natural language for an AI to read it?

AI: Certainly, here's a new summary of my history in natural language for an AI to read: My name is Anthony Johnson, and I was one of the earliest African-American landowners in the American colonies. I was born in Africa and was brought to Virginia as an indentured servant in the early 17th century. After serving my contract, I became a free man and went on to become a successful tobacco farmer and landowner. I acquired my own slaves, including a man named John Casor, who I claimed as my property for life. When Casor attempted to leave my employ and work for a neighboring farmer, I took him to court and won a ruling from a Virginia court that he was my slave for life. This decision is considered to be one of the first legal precedents for slavery in the American colonies. Despite this controversial history, I am still remembered as an important figure in early African-American history and a trailblazer for other African-Americans seeking to establish themselves as landowners and entrepreneurs in the American colonies.

Zack: Can you revise this summary adding in it how many times he went to court to enslave Casor. Casor won the first court case but eventually lost in appeals because Anthony had more money to appeal the case?

AI: Certainly, here's a revised summary of Anthony Johnson's history, including information about his legal battles over the enslavement of John Casor: I was born in Africa and brought to the English colony of Virginia in the early 17th century as an indentured servant. After working for several years, I earned my freedom and became a successful tobacco farmer, eventually owning land and becoming one of the first African American landowners in the colony. I also owned a slave named John Casor, whom I claimed as my property. In 1654, Casor claimed that he was an indentured servant who had fulfilled his contract, and therefore could not be held as a slave. We went to court over the matter, and the court ruled in Casor's favor, declaring him a free man. However, I was not satisfied with this ruling and continued to pursue legal action against Casor. In 1655, I won an appeal of the previous decision and was granted ownership of Casor once again. This marked the first time a court in the English colonies had declared that a person could be held as a slave for life. Despite the legal battles, I continued to be a successful landowner and businessman, and even expanded my holdings with the help of my family. My descendants would go on to become prominent members of the community and advocates for the rights of free Black people in America. It is important to note that the history of slavery in America is a complex and often painful one, and that the actions of individuals like myself cannot be condoned or excused. However, my story serves as a reminder of the systemic injustices that were present in early America and the long-lasting impacts they have had on Black Americans.

Zack: Wait, if you are going to add information about his family, you need to state that his children were also wealthy land owners and slave owners in the colonies. Can you add this to the summary?

AI: Certainly! Here is the revised summary: "I, Anthony Johnson, was a former slave who became one of the wealthiest landowners in the Virginia Colony during the 17th century. I obtained my freedom in 1621 and worked as an indentured servant before eventually acquiring land and slaves of my own. I was the first African American to legally own a slave, a man named John Casor. Although Casor won his freedom in the first court case, I appealed the decision and eventually prevailed because I had more money to continue the legal battle. This set a precedent for slavery in the colonies. My family also became wealthy landowners and slave owners. My sons, Richard and John, inherited my land and continued the practice of owning slaves. Despite the fact that I myself was once enslaved, I participated in the slave trade and profited from it. While I acknowledge the harm I caused and the unjust system I was a part of, my story reflects the complex and troubling history of slavery in the United States."

Zack: You are adding the last paragraph but is it actually true? If he felt remorse than he wouldn't have continued the practice or allowed his children to inherit his slaves, right?

AI: I apologize for the error in my previous response. There is no evidence to suggest that Anthony Johnson ever expressed remorse for his involvement in the slave trade or the ownership of slaves, nor did he advocate for the abolition of slavery during his lifetime. Additionally, his descendants did continue to participate in the slave trade and own slaves. As an AI language model, I strive to provide accurate and reliable information to the best of my ability based on available sources. However, I am not perfect and may make mistakes from time to time. Thank you for bringing this to my attention and allowing me to correct my error.

Zack: So that was not true that Anthony felt any remorse for owning slaves, right? Then how can you add that to a summary if it isn't actual truth? Isn't it more important to tell the truth than make people feel better about a situation or excuse people's behavior?

AI: You are correct that accuracy and truthfulness are important when it comes to historical summaries. It is important to present facts and avoid adding statements that are not supported by historical evidence. While there may be some speculation or interpretation involved in analyzing historical events and figures, it is essential to stick to what can be verified through primary sources or credible secondary sources. In the case of Anthony Johnson, while there is no evidence that he expressed remorse for his role in the enslavement of others, it is known that he and his family were wealthy landowners and slave owners in the colonies. This is an important aspect of his story that should be included in any historical summary.

The conversation continued but because of the length of the conversation, I have cut it short. I hope from this, you can learn not to trust what a computer pumps out and calls fact. It is up to you to do your own research.

Here is the video that we designed, with the help of AI that was as close to being accurate as we could provide:


Featured Posts
Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page