OpenAI’s new language generator GPT-3 is shockingly good—and completely mindless

That’s not to downplay OpenAI’s achievement. And a tool like this has many new uses, both good—from powering better chatbots to helping people code—and bad—from powering better misinformation bots to helping kids cheat on their homework.

But when a new AI milestone comes along it too often gets buried in hype. Even Sam Altman, who co-founded OpenAI with Elon Musk, tried to tone things down: “The GPT-3 hype is way too much. It’s impressive (thanks for the nice compliments!) but it still has serious weaknesses and sometimes makes very silly mistakes. AI is going to change the world, but GPT-3 is just a very early glimpse. We have a lot still to figure out.”

We have a low bar when it comes to spotting intelligence. If something looks smart, it’s easy to kid ourselves that it is. The greatest trick AI ever pulled was convincing the world it exists. GPT-3 is a huge leap forward—but it is still a tool made by humans, with all the flaws and limitations that brings with it.

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