How to Fact Check Google’s Gemini AI

How to Fact Check Google’s Gemini AI

As we are learning, artificial intelligence chatbots like Gemini can be mighty powerful. They can also be very wrong. Gemini is a helpful research tool that can generate ideas and data. However, before you start playing with Gemini, remember the golden rule of fact-finding—consider the source. Also, know the second rule: AI chatbots aren’t search engines.

Note: The tips and screenshots below are from Gemini Pro (Free Tier), which is the base version.

Use Gemini to start your research only

Gemini can understand text, images, audio, and more. Throw in sophisticated reasoning, and you have an extraordinary bank of information. But begin your fishing expedition with skepticism because the first-generation multi-modal engine is far from perfect. Support your search with more reliable sources like alternative search engines and authoritative websites.

Google warns against relying on Gemini’s responses for medical, legal, financial, or other professional advice and against sharing personal information with the data-hungry chatbot.

Look at the cited sources

In many cases, Gemini will mention the source. If Gemini quotes directly from a web page, it will cite the page with a link. Otherwise, for multiple sources, it will mention a popular website in brackets.

Review the citation and check if Gemini got the context right. Is that link actually the best source for your answer?

Credit: Saikat Basu

Switch on the “Real-time responses” setting

Ensure that the Real-time responses setting is turned on by default. With this enabled, you can see Gemini’s answer appear gradually, often line by line instead of in a single block. This makes Gemini feel faster but also allows you to see if Gemini is struggling with the information or the prompt. You can use these visual clues to review the answer or tweak your prompt.

Credit: Saikat Basu

Connect to other sources with Gemini’s extensions

Gemini and its apps can use extensions for richer results; these extensions connect to a few other Google services. For instance, it can automatically pick up a travel-related prompt from you and connect to Google Flights or Google Maps to deliver a customized answer. With YouTube as an extension and a vast search engine in its own right, you can tell Gemini to extract videos and the information in them for more information.

To use a single extension, type your prompt and then enter @ and select the extension. Then, hit the Submit button.

Credit: Saikat Basu

Double-check a response

After Gemini provides an answer, hit the button with the Google logo. The Double-check a response feature is a built-in fact checker (using Google Search). Click it, and Gemini will highlight parts of the answer in three different colors. You can also select Understand the results to see what each highlight stands for.

  • Text with a green highlight suggests similar content to the answer. Select the downward arrows to read more from the source. This feature of Gemini makes checking citations easier.
  • Orange highlights suggest differences or no relevant content was found. This is where you have to dig manually for a bit.
  • Finally, no highlight means insufficient information—so you can ignore this part of Gemini’s response if you aren’t feeling confident.

Gemini also displays a few “Search related topics” below the response. These open up more results on Google Search.

Credit: Saikat Basu

Keep practicing your prompt engineering skills

Ultimately, giving Gemini more information and context with your prompts is the best way to get better results. Google suggests you follow these best practices:

  • Use natural language.
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Provide context.
  • Use specific and relevant keywords.
  • Break down complex tasks into separate prompts.

End by fine-tuning Gemini’s responses

Tweak Gemini’s answers to help it match what you want. You can edit the original prompt or play with the three draft answers the chatbot generates. Then, the Modify selected text feature can be used to tweak any selected part of the response. You can change the length of the response, modify the tone, or just regenerate the entire thing with more context.

Review all the drafts Gemini throws up. Then, like or dislike the versions (with the Good response and Bad response thumb icons) so that Gemini learns where it didn’t quite get it right.

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