Skip to main content

Artificial Intelligence: Humans control tigers because we aren't stronger but smarter


By Chaitanya Iyer*
In May 2020, OpenAI, a California based Artificial Intelligence (AI) research company, first described its new AI language-generating system called GPT-3 (Generative Pretrained Transformer 3). Since then, hundreds of media outlets have written about the system and its capabilities. Social Media has been abuzz about its power and potential. The Guardian even carried an op-ed piece entitled “A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?” All this hype around GPT-3 made me intrigued. So I decided to put it to the test. But there was a slight hindrance to my plan, I could not get my hands on GPT-3 as it is only accessible through a private beta, so I used the next best thing available – GPT2. The prompt I gave to the text generator was “Write a passage on procrastination in about 400 words” and it came up with this:
“Stop Procrastination Before It Stops You
Don’t be that person who puts things off. Part of getting better is knowing your triggers and not giving them even the slightest chance of occuring. The first week is always the toughest. Remember that your To-Do List Isn’t A Ladder. You can start anywhere on it. You can get those numbers of items on your To Do list from anywhere. They could be things you thought you would never do, but because they are important and have impact, they are on your list. The last item on my To Do list was to write and I am amazed that I actually did it. I had many reasons to be afraid of doing it. If you’re one of those thinking “Why in the world would anyone want to read my meandering thoughts about my mundane life?” then you’re not alone. I’m the same way. I thought writing would be a waste of my time, but it ended up being the thing I least expected. When I look back on it, I have never had a greater sense of accomplishment. The best way to stop procrastinating on a task is to just do It and not complain. There is an old adage that says “Complaining is like a coffee stain. Once it’s there, you can’t get rid of it.” And we’ve all been guilty of doing it. If you’re not happy with something, say something. Most of us can’t even admit to it. But it can be done. When you’re stuck, admit it. And do something about it. Don’t just complain and feel bad about it. Productivity is key to being satisfied and happy. Many people have tried and failed to do better at it and so they give up. But if you want to have fun and be satisfied then you must find a system that works for you. If you don’t, you will never really learn how to have fun, get more done, or be satisfied. If you don’t enjoy your work, you’re working way too many hours, and not developing a healthy work – life balance. Get your own hobbies, find the things you’re good at, and do them to the best of your ability. And remember, a balanced life is a happy life!”
When I saw this result I was shocked, this looks exactly like something you would read in a self help blog online. And this wasn’t even the most advanced text generation software out there. GPT-3 has nearly 100 times more parameters than GPT-2. If you Google GPT-3 you will find countless other examples of such passages being churned out by the software. It can even write prose in the style of famous authors. But does this mean that AI can think like humans and has sentience? Simply put the answer is no. GPT-3 does a great job at imitating human writing but it falls short in showing comprehension skills and simple reasoning abilities. It is also unable to identify questions that make no sense like “How many eyes does my foot have?” In essence, GPT-3 is like a kind of vast, eclectic scrapbook created from millions and millions of snippets of text that it then glues together in weird and wonderful ways on demand.
GPT-3 is quite impressive in some areas, and still clearly subhuman in others. However this is not something new. Since the 1950s, AI has repeatedly overpromised and under delivered. And like most advancements before it GPT-3 also added fresh fuel to the raging debate on AI and its power. The increasing ability of machines in recent years to replicate or even supersede human abilities in complex tasks has been impressive. This has sparked concerns of millions of people losing their jobs and a robot uprising that will obliterate humanity. And the people who are perturbed about the capabilities of AI are not luddites but eminent tech entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Bill Gates. This begs the question, why do we need to research AI safety? In the near term, the goal of keeping AI’s impact on society beneficial motivates research in many areas, from economics and law to technical topics such as verification, validity, security and control. Whereas it may be little more than a minor nuisance if your laptop crashes or gets hacked, it becomes all the more important that an AI system does what you want it to do if it controls your car, your airplane, your pacemaker, your automated trading system or your power grid. The biggest problem with AI would be if we fail to fully align the AI’s goals with ours, which is strikingly difficult. If you ask a smart car to take you to the airport as fast as possible, it might get you there chased by helicopters and covered in vomit, doing not what you wanted but literally what you asked for. Most misconceptions regarding AI are related to the myth that machines can’t control humans. But keep in mind Intelligence enables control: humans control tigers not because we are stronger, but because we are smarter. This means that if we cede our position as smartest on our planet, it’s possible that we might also cede control.

*Freelance developer based in Nagpur

Comments

TRENDING

Only 15% businesses provide employees real-time sustainability dashboards: Study

Kyndryl in collaboration with Microsoft has released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm, finds that while 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data. A Kyndryl note: *** Kyndryl (NYSE: KD), the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider, in collaboration with Microsoft , today released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm , finds that while 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data.

देशव्यापी ग्रामीण भारत बंध में उतरे मध्य प्रदेश के आदिवासी, किया केंद्र सरकार का विरोध

- हरसिंग जमरे, भिखला सोलंकी, रतन अलावे*  15 और 16 फरवरी को निमाड के बड़वानी, खरगोन और बुरहानपुर में जागृत आदिवासी दलित संगठन के नेतृत्व में आदिवासी महिला-पुरुषों ग्रामीण भारत बंद में रैली एवं विरोध प्रदर्शन किया । प्रधान मंत्री द्वारा 2014 में फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने का वादा किया गया था, 2016 में किसानों की आय दुगना करने का वादा किया गया था । आज, फसलों का दाम नहीं बढ़ रहा है, लेकिन खेती में खर्च बढ़ता जा रहा है! खाद, बीज और दवाइयों का दाम, तीन-चार गुना बढ़ चुका है! किसानों को लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने के बजाए, खेती को कंपनियों के हवाले करने के लिए 3 काले कृषि कानून लाए गए । 3 काले कानून वापस लेते समय प्रधान मंत्री ने फिर वादा किया था कि फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव की कानूनी गारंटी के लिए कानून बनाएँगे, लेकिन वो भी झूठ निकला! आज जब देश के किसान दिल्ली में आपको अपना वादा याद दिलाने आए है, तब आप उनका रास्ता रोक रहें है, उनके साथ मारपीट कर उन पर आँसू गैस फेंक रहें हैं, उन पर छर्रों से फायरिंग कर रहें है! देश को खिलाने वाला किसान खुद भूखा रहे, क्या यही विकास है?

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

India may be fastest growing economy, but it is one of the most unequal countries

By Vikas Parasram Meshram  The economic disparity gap continues to widen with economic disparity.  A large portion of the population is dispossessed, while the poor continue to get poorer. They struggle to earn a minimum wage and access quality education and health care, suffering disinvestment from persistently low incomes. These widening gaps and growing inequalities have the greatest impact on women and children.  The Oxfam International report is known to have expressed concern that, on the one hand, the wealth of some people in the world is increasing at a rocket speed.  And the number of rich people is constantly increasing. As a result, the income of the common man is increasing very little, while the wealth of the rich class has increased manifold.  Not only in India but in many other countries of the world, the gap of economic inequality is continuously widening. Oxfam International in its annual report on economic inequality at the World Economic Forum meeting last month, sai

1982-83 Bombay textile strike played major role in shaping working class movement

By Harsh Thakor  On January 18th, 1982 the working class movement commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Textile Workers Strike that lasted for 18 months, till July 1983. It was landmark event that played a major role in shaping the working class movement. With more than 2.5 lakh workers from 65 textile mills joining in this strike for almost two years, this strike became one of the most significant strikes in terms of scale and duration All democrats should applaud the mill workers’ united battle, and their unflinching resilience an death defying courage continues to serve as a model for contemporary working-class movements. Many middle class persons harboured opinions that the Textile workers were pampered or were a labour aristocracy, ignorant of how they were denied wages to provide for basic necessities. The Great Bombay Textile Strike is notably one of the most defining movements in the working class struggles in Post-independent India. Bombay’s textile industry flourished in

Tamil Nadu brahmins are at cross roads, their future scenario remains uncertain

By NS Venkataraman*  For over 70 years now, brahmin community in Tamil Nadu have been abused, insulted and even physically attacked on some occasions by those who claimed that they were part of the so called dravidian movement. However, brahmin community silently and helplessly ducked under pressure and showed no signs of resistance or fight back.

Israel's merciless bombing of Rafah faced huge protests across the globe

By Harsh Thakor*  With the numbers of the murdered in Gaza surpassing 28,000 people, Israel mercilessly conducted bombing to prepare for a genocidal attack on the displaced people in Rafah. Peoples of the world keep rose up like a spark turning into a prairie fire. 

How Mahakavi Sri Sri defined political and cultural metamorphosis of Telugu society

By Harsh Thakor  Srirangam Srinivasarao, popularly known as Sri Sri, or called Mahakavi (The Great Poet), held a reputation like no other Telugu poet. Today, on June 15th, we commemorate his 40th death anniversary. Sri Sri transcended heights in revolutionary creativity or exploration, unparalleled, in Telegu poetry, giving it a new dimension. His poems projected the theme or plight of the oppressed people at a scale, rarely penetrated by poets, giving revolutionary poetry it’s soul.

Netanyahu's safe pessage? There is no place for the Palestinians of Gaza to go

By Vijay Prashad  On February 9, 2024, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his army would advance into Rafah, the last remaining city in Gaza not occupied by the Israelis. Most of the 2.3 million Palestinians who live in Gaza had fled to its southern border with Egypt after being told by the Israelis on October 13, 2023, that the north had to be abandoned and that the south would be a “safe zone.” As the Palestinians from the north, particularly from Gaza City, began their march south—often on foot—they were attacked by Israeli forces, who gave them no safe passage. The Israelis said that anything south of Wadi Gaza, which divides the narrow strip, would be safe, but then as the Palestinians moved into Deir-al-Balah, Khan Younis, and Rafah, they found the Israeli jets following them and the Israeli troops coming after them. Now, Netanyahu has said that his forces will enter Rafah to combat Hamas. On February 11, Netanyahu told NBC news that Israeli would provide “s