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ChatGPT and other Artificial Intelligence programs

A place for information about ChatGPT and eventually, policy.

On March 5, 2023, your librarian, Helen, asked ChatGPT to "Explain the 1917 oil boom in Ranger, Texas."  The question was chosen because of her expertise.  The result was generic overview-type information that contained two significant errors.  First, the oil boom was NOT sparked because of oil in Desdemona.  Desdemona came after.  Second, the population of Ranger at the time was about 800.*  If you rely on ChatGPT for assignments, you will fail in multiple ways.  Your professors will know you are providing incorrect information, you will not provide the depth of knowledge necessary for a college level assignment, and you will have plagiarized.  DO NOT cheat.

The ChatGPT result:

The 1917 oil boom in Ranger, Texas was a significant event in the history of the oil industry in the United States. It was a period of rapid growth and development in the town of Ranger, which is located in Eastland County, Texas.

The oil boom was sparked by the discovery of oil in the nearby town of Desdemona in 1916. This discovery led to a rush of oil prospectors and speculators who descended upon the area in search of oil. Many of these individuals settled in Ranger, which was a small town with a population of just over 2,000 at the time.

As the number of people in the area grew, so did the demand for infrastructure and services. New businesses, schools, and churches were established to meet the needs of the growing population. The town also saw an influx of wealth, as oil companies set up operations and began drilling for oil.

By 1917, Ranger was producing more than 600,000 barrels of oil per day, making it one of the largest oil-producing regions in the world at the time. The boom brought prosperity to the town and surrounding areas, with many individuals becoming wealthy as a result of their involvement in the oil industry.

However, the boom was short-lived. By the early 1920s, oil production had declined significantly, and many of the speculators and investors had moved on to other areas. Ranger's population declined, and the town never fully recovered from the decline of the oil industry.

Despite this, the 1917 oil boom in Ranger, Texas remains an important event in the history of the oil industry and a significant moment in the history of the state of Texas.

*If you are interested in the 1917 Oil Boom please come visit Helen.

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After learning more about this topic and some of the issues, I ran the test question again.  The results were entirely different from the previous results.  The result was still generic overview type information that is of little value in the educational process.  There was only one significant factual error - occasional spills and accidents were not a significant problem.  Actually putting thousands of gallons of raw oil in pits on the ground because there were not enough pipelines to take it away was a problem.  There were many things that give a wrong impression because of the lack of detail, but are not technically wrong.  In particular it never discusses the collapse, leaving the reader to believe it is still a thriving multi-national community.  The most important aspect was the bibliography.  The retest was done because I learned how to do this.  There were five bibliographic items on the paper, none of which exist.  


ChatGPT results on 31 July 2023 for "Explain the 1917 oil boom in Ranger, Texas with bibliography"

The 1917 oil boom in Ranger, Texas, was a significant event in the history of the oil industry and the development of the state. It was a time when vast oil reserves were discovered near the town of Ranger, leading to an influx of people, investments, and rapid economic growth.

1. Discovery of Oil in Ranger, Texas: The oil boom in Ranger began with the discovery of oil in the region. In 1917, the McCleskey No. 1 well, drilled by W.K. Gordon, struck a massive oil reserve at a depth of around 3,000 feet. This discovery marked the beginning of a major oil rush to the area.

2. Impact on the Economy and Population: The oil boom brought significant economic prosperity to the town of Ranger and the surrounding areas. As word spread about the oil strike, entrepreneurs, workers, and investors flocked to the region, leading to a surge in population and business activities. The town experienced rapid growth, and new oil companies were established to capitalize on the newfound oil wealth.

3. Social and Cultural Changes: The sudden influx of people from various backgrounds had a profound impact on the social and cultural fabric of Ranger. The town became a melting pot of different cultures, as people from all over the country moved in to seek their fortune in the oil industry. This led to the emergence of a unique social landscape and various cultural exchanges.

4. Infrastructure and Urban Development: The oil boom spurred the development of infrastructure in Ranger and its surrounding areas. New roads, railroads, and pipelines were constructed to facilitate the transportation of oil and equipment. As the population grew, new housing, schools, hospitals, and other amenities were built to accommodate the needs of the residents.

5. Environmental Impact: The oil boom also had environmental consequences. The increased drilling and oil production resulted in changes to the landscape and potential pollution concerns. Spills and accidents occasionally occurred, raising questions about the industry's environmental impact and the need for regulations.

6. Oil Companies and Entrepreneurs: Numerous oil companies and entrepreneurs played a crucial role in the Ranger oil boom. Companies such as Texas Pacific Coal and Oil Company, Ranger Oil Company, and McCleskey Oil Company were among the prominent players in the region. The business strategies and innovations of these companies contributed to the growth and development of the oil industry in Ranger.


  1. Cantu, Maynard. Ranger, Texas and the Great Oil Boom. Denton, Texas: University of North Texas Press, 2005.

  2. Haley, James L. Oil Boom in Ranger, Texas. Abilene, Texas: State House Press, 1990.

  3. Peterson, Mark. Black Gold in the Brazos: The Story of the Ranger Oil Boom. Austin, Texas: Eakin Press, 1980.

  4. Scott, Larry E. Boom and Bust: The Ranger Oil Boom of the 1910s and Its Aftermath. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1989.

  5. Wright, Lawrence A. Rangers and Oilmen: A History of the Oil Boom in Ranger, Texas. Fort Worth, Texas: TCU Press, 1978.

These sources provide valuable insights into the 1917 oil boom in Ranger, Texas, its impact on the local economy, society, and culture, as well as the role of key players in the oil industry during that period.

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