By now, you’ve probably heard about ChatGPT. Well, forgive the humblebrag, but long before it went viral, I used OpenAi’s forerunner, called InstructGPT. But until watching this video, by a creator named @Shanemorrisdotsucks, a lead engineer at Global Defense, I hadn’t thought much about the release of a new version.
With InstructGPT, the user inputs a prompt and the program fulfills the prompt. For example, if I input “Write a poem about marshmallows in the style of Edgar Allan Poe,” the program responds with an impressive, horrifying narrative about a marshmallow, on par with “The Raven.”
I never thought I’d say this, but OpenAi improved on it. ChatGPT is even better.
ChatGPT is able to maintain a conversation, answer followup questions, synthesize information from multiple sources in its own words, recognize its mistakes, challenge premises, and likely even more crazy things that we haven’t figured out yet. (Previous online chat bots worked by scraping information from the web, and simply dispensing the most likely “correct” response.)
ChatGPT has already scored a 1020 on the SAT, and that’s only because it can’t read graphs yet. The program is not even a month old and it’s already only 40 points shy of the national average!
Shane Morris suggests that the creation of ChatGPT is the most world-changing event since the August 6, 1945 detonation of the Atom Bomb in Hiroshima. Morris posits that throughout human existence, communication has been exclusively “our thing.” He continues to say that giving “our thing” to something significantly smarter than us should not be taken lightly.
This is where things get philosophical.
To reference a slightly earlier date than the one Morris put forward, April 14, 1932 was the day that man first split the atom. Two roads diverged in a wood that day, and humanity had to choose: salvation or destruction. Nuclear power, or nuclear war. More than 90 years, and likely trillions of dollars later, I ask you: given the global political climate, which path did we choose?
I don’t think AI is inherently a bad thing; quite to the contrary, in fact, I believe its potential to do and bring good is thrilling. But we ARE facing a similar dilemma as we did in April of 1932. And I worry that if we go down the same, divisive, destructive path, then 90 years and trillions of dollars from now, we’ll think of AI with the same sense of doom and dread that we currently think of nuclear fission.
So what can we do to avoid this dystopian future? We need to take a hard look at the circumstances that got us to where we are now. Since the discovery of fission, the US has been in some form of international conflict, whether cold or hot, for almost 80 of those 90 years. The threat of war has had a huge impact on the development of our society; of course we are more concerned with building the next best bomb than with building clean, sustainable energy infrastructure!
Luckily, the solution really is quite simple: liberty. If we continue fighting for peace and freedom in all aspects of society, then we can work our way back to the point where the two roads originally diverged in that wood, and, this time, we can choose the path leading to salvation.
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