Wednesday, August 24, 2022

First thoughts on the implications of GPT-3 [here be dragons, we're swimming and flying with them]

I'm bumping this to the top to remind myself what I was thinking two years ago.

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A bit revised from a comment I made at Marginal Revolution:

Yes, GPT-3 [may] be a game changer. But to get there from here we need to rethink a lot of things. And where that's going (that is, where I think it best should go) is more than I can do in a comment.

Right now, we're doing it wrong, headed in the wrong direction. AGI, a really good one, isn't going to be what we're imagining it to be, e.g. the Star Trek computer.

Think AI as platform, not feature (Andreessen). Obvious implication, the basic computer will be an AI-as-platform. Every human will get their own as an very young child. They're grow with it; it'll grow with them. The child will care for it as with a pet. Hence we have ethical obligations to them. As the child grows, so does the pet – the pet will likely have to migrate to other physical platforms from time to time.

Machine learning was the key breakthrough. Rodney Brooks' Gengis, with its subsumption architecture, was a key development as well, for it was directed at robots moving about in the world. FWIW Brooks has teamed up with Gary Marcus and they think we need to add some old school symbolic computing into the mix. I think they're right.

Machines, however, have a hard time learning the natural world as humans do. We're born primed to deal with that world with millions of years of evolutionary history behind us. Machines, alas, are a blank slate.

The native environment for computers is, of course, the computational environment. That's where to apply machine learning. Note that writing code is one of GPT-3's skills.

So, the AGI of the future, let's call it GPT-42, will be looking in two directions, toward the world of computers and toward the human world. It will be learning in both, but in different styles and to different ends. In its interaction with other artificial computational entities GPT-42 is in its native milieu. In its interaction with us, well, we'll necessarily be in the driver's seat.

Where are we with respect to the hockey stick growth curve? For the last 3/4 quarters of a century, since the end of WWII, we've been moving horizontally, along a plateau, developing tech. GPT-3 is one signal that we've reached the toe of the next curve. But to move up the curve, as I've said, we have to rethink the whole shebang.

We're IN the Singularity. Here be dragons.

[Superintelligent computers emerging out of the FOOM is bullshit.]

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ADDENDUM: A friend of mine, David Porush, has reminded me that Neal Stephenson has written of such a tutor in The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (1995). I then remembered that I have played the role of such a tutor in real life, The Freedoniad: A Tale of Epic Adventure in which Two BFFs Travel the Universe and End up in Dunkirk, New York.

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