Ship Captain Believes ChatGPT Told Him To Change Course

By John Konrad (gCaptain).

gCaptain has obtained a troubling report from an American captain, who claims that a shipowner utilized an AI bot, potentially ChatGPT, to suggest modifications to the ship’s voyage plan. While the captain chose not to adhere to the recommendations, they are concerned that others may not exercise the same caution.

gCaptain was asked not to reveal the name of the captain or specific details about the incident which could be traced back to them. With the limited size of the US flag fleet this request has severely limited our ability to report on the story, but we can provide an overview of this troubling report.

During a recent ship’s voyage planning – a process in which navigational routes, safety measures, and logistical considerations are meticulously evaluated, and the crew works to optimize efficiency while mitigating potential hazards – meeting several minor safety concerns about the ship’s route and cargo that worried the ship’s officers.

The captain composed a message with the concerns and emailed it to the shipowner for guidance. Typically in these situations, a maritime superintendent working for the shipowner will review any concerns with various experts (e.g. experienced captains, cargo planners, engineers) in the officer and provide guidance to the ship captain on ways to mitigate risk.

In this case, the captain received a quick reply. The captain informed gCaptain that the first and final paragraphs of the message contained pleasantries and appears to be written by a human, but the advice on how to mitigate risk “sounds like an AI wrote it”. This message included advice that would have required a course change during the voyage.,

Read more at John Konrad (gCaptain).