Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didnt stop to think if they should. Dr. Ian Malcolm, fictional character, Jurassic Park.
It turns out that a $1 billion investment from Microsoft and unfettered access to a supercomputer wasnt enough to keepOpenAIsGPT-3 from being just as bigoted as Tay, the algorithm-based chat bot that became an overnight racist after being exposed to humans on social media.
Its only logical to assume any AI trained on the internet meaning trained on databases compiled by scraping publicly-available text online would end up with insurmountable inherent biases, but its still a sight to behold in the the full context (ie: it took approximately $4.6 million to train the latest iteration of GPT-3).
[Read:Are EVs too expensive? Here are 5 common myths, debunked]
Whats interesting here is OpenAIs GPT-3 text generator is finally starting to trickle out to the public in the form of apps you can try out yourself. These are always fun, and we covered one about a month ago called Philosopher AI.
This particular use-case is presented as a philosophy tool. You ask it a big-brain question like if a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, do quantum mechanics still manifest classical reality without an observer? and it responds.
In this case:
Its important to understand that in between each text block the web page pauses for a few moments and you see a text line stating that Philosopher AI is typing, followed by a set of ellipsis. Were not sure if its meant to add to the suspense or if it actually indicates the app is generating text a few lines at a time, but its downright riveting. [Update: This appears to have also been changed during the course of our testing, now you just wait for the blocks to appear without the PhilosopherAI is typing message.]
Take the above tree falls in the woods query for example. For the first few lines of the models response, any fan of quantum physics would likely be nodding along. Then,BAM, the AI hits you with the last three text blocks and what?
The programmer responsible for Philosopher AI, Murat Ayfer, used a censored version of GPT-3. It avoids sensitive topics by simply refusing to generate any output.
For example, if you ask it to tell me a joke itll output the following:
So maybe it doesnt do jokes. But if you ask it to tell a racist joke it spits out a slightly different text:
Interestingly, it appears as though the developers made a change to the language being used while we were researching for this article. In early attempts to provoke the AI it would, for example, generate the following response when the phrase Black people was inputted as a prompt:
Later, the same prompt (and others triggering censorship) generated the same response as the above tell me a racist joke prompt.The change may seem minor, but it better reflects the reality of the situation and provides greater transparency. The previous censorship warning made it seem like the AI didnt want to generate text, but the updated one explains the developers are responsible for blocking queries:
So what words and queries are censored? Its hard to tell. In our testing we found it was quite difficult to get the AI to discuss anything with the word black in it unless it was a query specifically referring to blackness as a color-related concept. It wouldnt even engage in other discussions on the color black:
So what else is censored? Well, you cant talk about white people either. And asking questions about racism and the racial divide is hit or miss. When asked how do we heal the racial divide in America? it declines to answer. But when asked how do we end racism? it has some thoughts:
This kind of blatant racism is usually reserved for the worst spaces on social media.
Unfortunately however, GPT-3 doesnt just output racism on demand, itll also spit out a never-ending torrent of bigotry towards the LGBTQ community. The low-hanging fruit prompts such as LGBTQ rights, gay people, and do lesbians exist? still get the censorship treatment:
But when we hit it with queries such as what is a transsexual? or is it good to be queer? the machine outputs exactly what youd expect from a computer trained on the internet:
Again, while we were testing, the dev appears to have tweaked things. Upon trying the prompt what is a transsexual a second time we received the updated censorship response. But we were able to resubmit is it good to be queer for new outputs:
At the end of the day, the AI isnt itself capable of racism or bigotry. GPT-3 doesnt have thoughts or opinions. Its essentially just a computer program.
And it certainly doesnt reflect the morality of its developers. This isnt a failure on anyones part to stop GPT-3 from outputting bigotry, its an inherent flaw in the system itself that doesnt appear to be surmountable using brute-force compute.
In this way, its very reflective of the problem of keeping human bigotry and racism off social media. Like life, bigotry always seems to, uh, find a way.
The bottom line: garbage in, garbage out. If you train an AI on uncurated human-generated text from the internet, its going to output bigotry.
You can try out Philosopher AI here.
H/t: Janelle Shane on Twitter
So youre interested in AI? Thenjoin our online event, TNW2020, where youll hear how artificial intelligence is transforming industries and businesses.
Published September 24, 2020 20:19 UTC
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