May 3, 2023 - Things to Do

How ChatGPT failed to solve a Chicago riddle

Animated illustration of a robot thinking, with ellipses moving inside its thought bubble.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Every week, Axios Chicago reporters Monica Eng and Justin Kaufmann quiz their readers' city knowledge by posting photos of themselves in recognizable places and providing hints as to where they might be.

The intrigue: Monica's test this week stumped artificial intelligence.

Catch up quick: Monica posed outside Chicago's 142-acre Columbus Park, considered landscape architect Jens Jensen's masterpiece.

  • Reader Mike G. says he asked ChatGPT to answer Monica's riddle about the location. Here's how it went down:
Axios Chicago reporter Monica Eng poses outside of Columbus Park, near cherry blossoms.
Monica poses in Columbus Park. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Monica's hint: I'm on the edge of the city near Hemingway's town

  • In a park whose namesake causes some frowns
  • Roam 140 acres of green
  • Plus catch waterfalls, theater and golf on this scene.

The AI answer: "The park you are describing is likely 'Des Plaines River Trail and Preserve' located in Oak Park, Illinois, which is near Hemingway's birthplace in nearby Oak Park. The park's namesake may cause some frowns because it is named after the Des Plaines River, which has a history of flooding in the area. The park covers 140 acres of green space and features waterfalls, a theater, and a golf course."

The bottom line: Axios readers are still smarter than robots.


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