Cutting Through the ChatGPT Hype — John Horgan (The Science Writer)

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Source: John Horgan


ChatGPT’s designers can devise software “patches” to fix problems, but patches make the software more kludgy. Larson compares ChatGPT to a boat constantly springing leaks. “You can’t just keep plugging up holes in your boat, right? You have to build it so that it doesn’t have leaks.” ChatGPT’s flaws stem from its “fundamental inability to understand how things work.”Retraining ChatGPT to fix a flaw or make its knowledge more up to date requires “3,125 servers running continually for over 3 months,” Larson says, at an estimated cost of “a couple of a billion dollars.” Computation-intense AIs like by ChatGPT are only achievable by “the hyper-rich, super-funded.”

All these problems, Larson suspects, explain why businesses have been slow to embrace ChatGPT. Yes, it can converse with humans, like Amazon’s “Alexa on steroids,” Larson says, and it can “serve as a kind of adjunct to search.” But so far ChatGPT is “not causing a major splash in the business world.”


…Larson is also concerned about military applications of AI, such as autonomous weapons systems, which can navigate and kill independently of human operators. AI has “obvious advantages in warfare,” because it allows you to kill your enemy without putting yourself “into harm’s way.” Drones are already becoming increasingly capable of autonomous decision-making.Larson knows a company designing “autonomous submarines,” which can carry out missions even if a communication blackout disconnects them from humans. Larson fears what will happen “if we automate warfare too much.” We are “placing humanity’s future into the hands of these systems.”

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