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HomeAI News & UpdatesDictionaries' Words of the Year Reflect Societal Concerns: AI, Hallucinate, and Authenticity

Dictionaries’ Words of the Year Reflect Societal Concerns: AI, Hallucinate, and Authenticity

The much-anticipated annual announcement of dictionaries’ words of the year is shedding light on societal fears and preoccupations. Merriam-Webster, a prominent U.S. lexicon, declared “authentic” as its word of the year. The choice is attributed to increased searches influenced by discussions on artificial intelligence (AI), celebrity culture, identity, and social media.

The concept of authenticity holds a central place in contemporary discourse, especially as large language models like ChatGPT and image generators like Dall-E blur the lines between reality and artificial creations. Concerns about AI’s role in creativity and the spread of misinformation online further amplify the relevance of authenticity in today’s world.


Surprisingly, other leading dictionaries have made similar choices for their words of the year. Cambridge opted for “hallucination,” emphasizing generative AI’s capability to produce false information and present it as fact. Collins, not mincing words, selected “AI” as its word of the year.

This alignment in choices is uncommon, as dictionaries typically have diverse selections. However, the shared focus on AI indicates a pervasive societal unease and fascination with the impact of technology, transcending generational divides.

In a world marked by polarization, the solidarity among dictionaries underscores a shared apprehension: the fear of robots. Unlike previous selections like “gaslighting” and “goblin mode,” the overarching concern with AI suggests it is a universal obsession cutting across age groups, from boomers to Gen Z.

Image Credit: https://www.capstan.be/

Simultaneously, in the realm of human interaction, the idea of presenting one’s “authentic self” has become a prevalent trend. Merriam-Webster notes that authenticity itself has turned into a performance, with celebrities and wellness gurus showcasing carefully curated versions of themselves. The challenge lies in distinguishing between actual reality and performative authenticity.

However, the pursuit of what is truly “real” often proves less captivating. Apps like BeReal, attempting to showcase users’ authentic moments by capturing unfiltered images, have seen limited success. The rising popularity of cosmetic surgery further suggests a desire for enhanced and polished versions of oneself.

The proposition is to reconsider authenticity, viewing social media feeds not as accurate reflections but as intentionally crafted extensions of identity – akin to small aspirational art projects. Instead of dismissing platforms like Instagram and TikTok as performative, there is an invitation to appreciate them as authentic performances reflecting individuals’ desired identities.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff at AI Surge is a dedicated team of experts led by Paul Robins, boasting a combined experience of over 7 years in Computer Science, AI, emerging technologies, and online publishing. Our commitment is to bring you authoritative insights into the forefront of artificial intelligence.


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