Welcome to the Wet Hot AI Chatbot Summer

Last year, I attended an event organized by Google to celebrate its AI advancements. The corporate domain name in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood is now literally expanding on the Hudson River, and about a hundred of us gathered in a dockside exhibition space to see scripted presentations from executives and demos of the latest advancements. Speaking from afar from the West Coast, the company’s senior compute priest, Jeff Deanpromises “a hopeful vision for the future.”

The theme for that day was “explore the (not) possible.” We already know how Google’s AI is being used to fight wildfires, forecast floods, and assess retinopathy. But the star of the show is what Google calls “creative AI models.” These are content machines, learned on huge training data sets, designed to generate articles, images, and even computer code that previously only humans could hope for. create.

Something strange is happening in the AI ​​world. At the turn of this century, the field emerged from stagnation – known as AI winter – thanks to the innovation of “deep learning”. led by three scholars. This AI approach has changed the field and made many of our apps more useful, providing language translation, search, Uber routing, and just about anything with the word “smart” ” in its name. We’ve spent decades in this AI spring. But over the past year or so, there’s been a dramatic aftershock to that quake, as suddenly a multitude of mind-shaping generative models emerge.

Most of the toys that Google shows off on the docks in New York show the fruit of general models like their flagship large language model, called LaMDA. It can answer questions and work with creative writers to do stories. Other projects can produce 3D images from text prompts or even help video production by making storyboard-like recommendations on a scene-by-scene basis. But a large part of the program has addressed some of the ethical issues and potential dangers of unleashing the world’s robotic content creators. The company has tried to emphasize how they are proceeding with caution in using their powerful creations. The most telling statement came from Douglas Eck, a principal scientist at Google Research. “Creative AI models are powerful—no doubt about that,” he says. “But we also have to acknowledge the real risks this technology can pose if we’re not careful, which is why we were slow to release them. And I’m proud that we were slow to release them.”

But Google’s competitors don’t seem to have the word “sluggish” in their vocabulary. Although Google has provided limited access to LaMDA in a protected environment test kitchen app, other companies have been offering an all-you-can-eat snack with their own chatbots and image generators. Just a few weeks after Google’s event, the most important release has arrived: The latest version of OpenAI of its own powerful text generation technology, ChatGPT, a lightning-fast, talkative firefly, can produce coherent essays, poems, plays, songs, and even obituaries with the slightest hint. Taking advantage of the chatbot’s wide availability, millions of people tinkered with it and shared its amazing responses, to the point where it became an international obsession, as well as a source of wonder and awe. fear. Will chatGPT kill college essay? Destroy traditional internet search? Place millions of copywriters, journalists, artists, musicians and legal assistants unemployment?

The answers to those questions are not clear right now. But one thing is. Giving open access to these models kicked off a hot and humid AI summer that is invigorating the tech sector, even as the current giants are laying off massive amounts of their workforces. surname. Contrary to Mark Zuckerberg’s belief, the next big paradigm isn’t the metaverse—it’s this new wave of AI content tools, and it’s here now. In the 1980s, we saw a gold rush of products that switched tasks from paper to PC applications. In the 1990s, you could make a lot of money fast by moving those desktop products online. A decade later, the movement turned mobile. In the 2020s, the big shift is towards building with artificial intelligence. This year, thousands of startups will emerge with business plans based on exploiting the APIs of those systems. Price of release generic copy will come back. By the end of the decade, AI video creation systems could dominate TikTok and other apps. They may not be as good as the innovative creations of talented humans, but robots will dominate in numbers.


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