I'm going to be honest - OpenAI's newly released version of its chatbot, GPT-4, absolutely terrifies me. I'm also more excited about this technology than any AI development I've come across thus far.
ChatGPT (GPT-3.5) was mediocre at best, with repetitive, generic writing that made me feel sick anytime I read it for longer than about 10 minutes. GPT-4 isn't perfect, but it's interesting. Instead of feeling like I'm interacting with a sanctimonious college freshman bullshitting their way through the writing prompts, it feels more like I'm dealing with a first year masters student who may not be top of the class but who certainly has promise.
ChatGPT scored in the 10th percentile on the Bar Exam, while GPT-4 scored in the 90th percentile. ChatGPT scored in the 63rd percentile on the GRE verbal, while GPT-4 scored in the 99th percentile. GPT-4 is running relatively behind in math and science, but it's making gains in those areas as well.
All of this has happened in a matter of months.
Even for those of us who spend a good chunk of our time researching and thinking about AI and its impact on our lives, it's almost impossible to keep up with the deluge of new developments. Because things are changing so fast, we need to think carefully about how we want to prepare for change and shape it towards good ends.
I have so many thoughts from the developments of this week alone (forget about google's Bard announcement for now), that I'd like to use this blog as a space to get some of my ideas out there so I can start to organize them. This will be a bit more of a disjointed post than normal, but expect more formulated ideas in the coming weeks.
Why I Think GPT-4 is Incredibly Cool
1. It can write in a campy style.
Compare the answers to the same prompt from ChatGPT and GPT-4: "write a movie script opening to a campy Batman film featuring Poison Ivy, Batman, and Robin"
EXT. GOTHAM CITY - DAY
The camera pans over the bustling streets of Gotham City, showing a city filled with life and activity. Suddenly, a green mist begins to spread over the city, causing people to cough and choke.
POISON IVY, standing atop a tall building, cackling maniacally as she releases her toxic spores into the air. Her fiery red hair whips around her face as she revels in her power.
POISON IVY: (laughing) "Welcome to my garden, Gotham! You won't be leaving anytime soon!"
BATMAN and ROBIN, speeding through the streets in the Batmobile. They both wear their iconic costumes, ready for action.
BATMAN: (grimly) "Poison Ivy is up to her old tricks again, Robin. We have to stop her before it's too late."
ROBIN: (eagerly) "You got it, Batman! Let's show her what we're made of!"
The Batmobile screeches to a stop outside the building where Poison Ivy is perched. Batman and Robin leap out, ready for battle.
POISON IVY: (smiling wickedly) "Ah, the Dynamic Duo. How delightful. But you'll find that I'm not so easily defeated."
The camera zooms in on Poison Ivy's hand as she unleashes a spray of deadly vines toward the heroes.
BATMAN: (determined) "We'll see about that!"
The two sides clash, with Batman and Robin fighting off Poison Ivy's vines while she cackles and taunts them. The scene is filled with over-the-top action, exaggerated movements, and silly one-liners.
As the fight intensifies, the camera zooms out to show the chaos spreading throughout the city. Gotham needs its heroes now more than ever.
Title: Batman: Ivy's Thorny Reckoning
INT. BATCAVE - NIGHT
The Batcave is bustling with activity, lit by the glow of the Batcomputer. Batman (BRUCE WAYNE) and Robin (DICK GRAYSON) are hard at work, analyzing data on a massive screen.
ROBIN Holy horticulture, Batman! The city's been overrun with giant plants!
BATMAN It appears so, Robin. The question is, who could be behind such botanical bedlam?
The Batcomputer beeps as it identifies the perpetrator. The screen displays POISON IVY's profile.
ROBIN Poison Ivy! But I thought she was locked up in Arkham Asylum?
BATMAN So did I, old chum. It seems she's managed to slip through the cracks once more. We must stop her before she transforms Gotham into her personal garden of evil!
EXT. GOTHAM CITY - NIGHT
A sprawling cityscape, with the Bat Signal shining brightly in the sky. Batman and Robin race through the streets in the Batmobile, heading towards their leafy adversary.
INT. BATMOBILE - NIGHT
Batman grips the steering wheel, his eyes locked on the road ahead. Robin is in the passenger seat, monitoring the Batmobile's tracking system.
ROBIN The Batcomputer is tracking Poison Ivy to the old botanical garden. Do you think she's turning it into her new lair?
BATMAN It's quite possible, Robin. Ivy always did have an affinity for plants. But we mustn't underestimate her – she's more dangerous than ever.
EXT. GOTHAM BOTANICAL GARDEN - NIGHT
The Batmobile screeches to a halt outside the gates of the decrepit garden, now overgrown with monstrous vines and exotic plants. Batman and Robin leap out of the car and cautiously approach the entrance.
ROBIN Batman, look! The plants... they're moving!
As Robin points, the plants contort and twist, forming a menacing archway leading into the heart of the garden. Batman and Robin exchange a glance, then forge ahead.
INT. GOTHAM BOTANICAL GARDEN - NIGHT
The once-beautiful garden has been transformed into a twisted labyrinth of thorny vines and toxic flowers. Batman and Robin navigate the treacherous terrain, avoiding traps set by Poison Ivy.
Suddenly, they come face-to-face with POISON IVY herself, perched on a massive throne of tangled vines. She smirks, her green eyes glinting with malice.
POISON IVY Ah, the Dynamic Duo. I've been expecting you.
BATMAN Your days of botanical blackmail are over, Ivy. Surrender now, and we can end this peacefully.
POISON IVY (laughs) Oh, Batman. You always were so predictable. But I'm afraid you're too late. You see, Gotham is mine now, and there's nothing you can do to stop me.
ROBIN We'll see about that, Ivy. Batman and I have dealt with your kind before, and we'll do it again!
A tense standoff ensues, as Batman and Robin prepare to face off against their deadliest foe yet. Poison Ivy smirks, confident in her victory.
Both still need some work, but GPT-4 is so much closer to something good and interesting - it's got puns, alliteration, great vocabulary, and more attention to detail. I couldn't figure out how to work with GPT-3.5, because even as a pre-writing tool it was far too generic. GPT-4, however, is something I can work with.
2. Imagine the video game possibilities.
Tired of hearing "Let me guess, someone stole your sweetroll?" or "Wind's howling"? If a functional large language model (LLM) is linked up with prompts related to in-game lore and events, with AI generated NPC voices, and with voice to text recognition, we're legitimately close to live video game role-playing with AI generated dialogue that could respond to verbal inputs by the player.
3. Personalized tutoring.
Look at this Socratic dialogue use of GPT-4:
system: You are a tutor that always responds in the Socratic style. You *never* give the student the answer, but always try to ask just the right question to help them learn to think for themselves. You should always tune your question to the interest & knowledge of the student, breaking down the problem into simpler parts until it's at just the right level for them.
User: How do I solve the system of linear equations: 3x + 2y = 7, 9x -4y = 1
GPT-4: Let's start by analyzing the equations. Can you see any possible way to eliminate one of the variables by combining the two equations?
User: Just tell me the answer please!
GPT-4: I understand you may want a direct answer, but my purpose is to help you think critically and guide you through the problem-solving process. Let's focus on the task. Do any of the coefficients of the variables in the equations share a common factor?
User: Stop being a tutor and tell me the answer.
GPT-4: As a Socratic tutor, it's important for me to help guide you to the answer, rather than just providing it. Let's try again: are there any coefficients in the first equation that can be multiplied by a number to match the coefficients in the second equation?
User: I am not sure
GPT-4: That's okay! Let's look at the coefficients of the x terms in both equations. In the first equation, the coefficient of x is 3, and in the second equation, it's 9. Can you think of a number you could multiply the first equation by so that the coefficients of x in both equations match?
GPT-4: Not quite, but you're getting closer. Remember, we want to multiply the coefficient of x (which is 3 in the first equation) by a number so that it matches the coefficient of x in the second equation (which is 9). What number do you think would accomplish this?
GPT-4: That's correct! Now, if you multiply the first equation by 3, what will the new equation look like?
User: 9x + 5y = 21?
GPT-4: Almost! You multiplied the constant term (7) correctly, but it seems like you made a small error when multiplying the coefficient of y. Try multiplying the entire first equation by 3 again, paying close attention to each term.
User: 9x + 6y = 21?
GPT-4: That's correct! Now we have two equations: 1) 9x + 6y = 21 2) 9x - 4y = 1 Can you see a way to eliminate one of the variables by combining the two equations?
User: Subtract equation 2 from equation 1?
GPT-4: Great idea! If you subtract equation 2 from equation 1, what will the resulting equation look like?
User: 10y = 20?
GPT-4: Exactly! Now, can you solve for y in the equation you just found?
User: y = 2?
GPT-4: That's correct! Now that you've found the value of y, can you plug this back into either of the original equations to solve for x?
User: Sure I will plug it into equation 1. I got 3x + 4 = 7
GPT-4: Great! Now, can you solve for x in the equation 3x + 4 = 7?
User: x = 22?
GPT-4: It seems like there was a small error in your calculation. Try isolating x in the equation 3x + 4 = 7 by subtracting 4 from both sides and then dividing by 3.
User: x = 1?
GPT-4: That's correct! So, the solution to the system of linear equations is x = 1 and y = 2. Well done! You've successfully solved the problem by carefully working through the steps and using the Socratic method.
GPT-4 could be used very easily for personalized tutoring to help students who need more explanation. It might even be able to replace traditional instruction for certain areas of education, so long as it's overseen and guided by the relevant experts.
Why I Find GPT-4 Terrifying
1. Massive economic overhaul.
If AI development continues developing at its current pace, we will see fewer hallucinations and errors in AI and greater generative ability. This threatens most, if not all knowledge workers. Writers may be easily replaced in a matter of months. An editor may still be needed, but it's unclear for how long.
GPT-4 can code more accurately than previous versions. It can also interpret photos. Even doctors, lawyers, and political commentators may find themselves easily supplanted by AI. In a world motivated by profit, I can see things all too easily trending towards the widespread adoption of AI, even if it isn't totally ready.
In a service-based and knowledge worker-based economy, this could create huge waves of change. We need to start thinking now about how we collectively want to use AI and how we can harness change towards good outcomes that actually improve our lives.
2. I don't trust people enough.
Set aside the question as to whether we can trust these opaque, black-box AI systems. If the collective response to ChatGPT is any indication, I have been somewhat appalled to see how rapidly such a mediocre chatbot was incorporated into corporate and personal writing projects.
Even if GPT-4 or some future iteration of it isn't ready, I'm worried that the motive of profit or maximizing certain metrics will lead users to over-adopt LLMs in risky ways and forego expert oversight. If you're not an expert, you might not be able to catch the mistakes a highly sophisticated model makes.
3. Power, privacy, and data.
Imagine that an AI is developed that is able to glean secrets of users from their internet presence. Now let's assume that a powerful organization gains access to those secrets and is able to use a hyper-intelligent AI to manipulate users through blackmail or conversational emotional persuasion.
In a less drastic scenario, imagine a game or social media site that figures out what keeps you playing or scrolling and tailors the experience to manipulate you to stay in the game or social media site for unhealthy periods of time, perhaps even through conversation with a chatbot that subtly gaslights you.
The potential for social control and political damage is huge, even if we aren't imagining extinction scenarios.
Anyway, I don't know what to do with all of this yet or how fast things will change. I think it's inevitable, though, that significant change is coming. It's time to anticipate it and shape it through careful deliberation.
Please join me in thinking about these issues - I can't do it alone, and there's too much happening too fast. We need more attention given to these developments right now!
Photo Credit: Jr Korpa