The Latest AI Research Assistant? Evaluating You.com

The Latest AI Research Assistant? Evaluating You.com February 17, 2024

I saw an ad on Facebook for You.com which from its URL sounds like it could be any number of things other than what it is, an adaptation of ChatGPT that supposedly can be better at providing sources so that you can have AI write an actual research paper. Of course I had to try it out. The verdict? It is terrible, but not in the ways that I feared it would be.

How is it terrible? Read my brief exchange with it.

Can you provide a bibliography for a paper about Jesus having been a disciple of John the Baptist?

Based on the information available, here’s how you can cite the sources for a paper about Jesus having been a disciple of John the Baptist:

It is argued that if Jesus was ever John’s disciple, he would very probably have to have first become his disciple no more than a matter of months before beginning his own ministry. The shortness of the time in which his confidence in his religious beliefs could have developed means that, during the period in which any potential discipleship would have begun, it is probable that Jesus had at least a fairly deep assurance about what he believed in religious matters, including what he believed concerning his own crucial place in God’s plan. This assurance makes it unlikely that he would have wished to become John’s disciple 1.

The Gospel of John mentions the two sons of Zebedee only once, where they were two of the seven disciples who met the risen Lord by the Sea of Galilee. Even there, however, they are not mentioned by name. Tradition has identified John as being the anonymous disciple whom Jesus loved who was present at the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the empty tomb, and in Jesus’s final Sea of Galilee appearance. He may also have been the other disciple who, along with Andrew, had been a follower of John the Baptist and heard him testify that Jesus was the Lamb of God 2.

There is a great deal of debate as to whether Jesus can be considered one of John the Baptist’s disciples. The accepted scholarly opinion is that Jesus was technically one of John’s disciples, citing Jesus’ baptism by John as a sign of discipleship and his adherence, for a time, to John’s ministry and movements. Opponents of this position reason that Jesus came with a clear-cut agenda of his own, mapped out long before the advent of his discipleship to John the Baptist. They argue that the scale of Christ’s plan supersedes any humble deferment to the direction of his teacher — who by his own admission saw Jesus as the Messiah and therefore himself as an agent of Christ’s will in the first place 3.

In summary, the sources provide varying perspectives on the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist, with some arguing for Jesus’ discipleship to John and others presenting opposing views. These sources can be cited to provide a comprehensive overview of the scholarly debate on this topic.

It gave the option “Would you like scholarly articles or books?” so I clicked it and got this:

For a paper about Jesus having been a disciple of John the Baptist, scholarly articles and books would be the most suitable sources to provide in-depth and well-researched information. These sources are written by experts in the field and are typically subjected to peer review, ensuring their credibility and relevance to the research topic.

When citing scholarly articles and books, it’s important to consider the following characteristics:

  • Authorship: Scholarly articles are typically written by professors, researchers, or scholars who specialize in the field and are often identified by the academic institution at which they work 1.
  • Purpose: They are published by professional associations, university publishers, or other academic publishers to report research results or discuss ongoing research in detail 1.
  • Content: Articles tend to be long and detailed, providing in-depth analysis and research in a particular academic discipline.
  • Sources and Documentation: Scholarly articles include full citations for sources, extensive bibliographies, and lists of references, ensuring the traceability and credibility of the information presented 2.

These characteristics make scholarly articles and books valuable sources for a paper about Jesus’ discipleship to John the Baptist, as they provide well-researched and authoritative insights into this historical and religious topic.

That still wasn’t providing actual sources so I asked “Can you recommend specific articles and books?” Then it gave me this:

Based on the search results, here are some specific articles and books that can provide valuable insights for a paper about Jesus having been a disciple of John the Baptist:

### Articles:
1. **”Was Jesus ever a disciple of John the Baptist? A historical study”** – This article provides arguments and reasons for considering the likelihood of Jesus being a disciple of John the Baptist.

2. **”Who Was John the Apostle? The Beginner’s Guide – OverviewBible”** – This article discusses the possibility of John the Apostle being a disciple of John the Baptist before following Jesus.

3. **”Is John the Baptist the same John who wrote the Book of John in …”** – This article explores the identity of the “Beloved Disciple” and its association with John the Apostle, shedding light on his potential discipleship to John the Baptist.

### Books:
1. **”John the Apostle”** – This book delves into the traditional belief that John the Apostle was first a disciple of John the Baptist, providing insights into this historical perspective.

2. **”Books about John the Baptist the archives near Emmaus”** – This source recommends books for studying the historical John the Baptist, which may offer valuable information on the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus.

These articles and books can serve as valuable resources for exploring the topic of Jesus’ discipleship to John the Baptist, offering diverse perspectives and scholarly insights.

Those weren’t links but there were a few links at the end, and I was delighted to see that one of them went to Brian LePort’s blog. Now that’s helpful.

So my verdict is that it is a complete failure at actually giving someone useful things for a research paper in terms of content. Since an AI chatbot works based on patterns in text it is not surprising that it will blur John son of Zebedee and John the Baptist. Human beings occasionally make this mistake too. Indeed, it linked to an online discussion forum where someone asked about this but did not incorporate the point of the responses, which is not surprising since an AI chatbot has no understanding. You.com did provide one really useful source but far down in the process and accompanied by others such as Wikipedia.

If you need to write an essay, then research and write an essay. There are plenty of guides on how to do it. I’d rather that you ask me for guidance even if you are a complete stranger reading this, than that you turn to an AI that lacks the crucial human skills necessary to accomplish this task. Leave a comment and I’ll try to help. Hopefully this post will have already helped a little!

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