The most exciting new arrival in the world of AI looks, on the surface, disarmingly simple. It’s not some subtle game-playing program that can outthink humanity’s finest or a mechanically advanced robot that backflips like an Olympian. No, it’s merely an autocomplete program, like the one in the Google search bar. You start typing and it predicts what comes next. But while this sounds simple, it’s an invention that could end up defining the decade to come.
The program itself is called GPT-3 and it’s the work of San Francisco-based AI lab OpenAI, an outfit that was founded with the ambitious (some say delusional) goal of steering the development of artificial general intelligence or AGI: computer programs that possess all the depth, variety, and flexibility of the human mind. For some observers, GPT-3 — while very definitely not AGI — could well be the first step toward creating this sort of intelligence. After all, they argue, what is human speech if not an incredibly complex autocomplete program running on the black box of our brains?
Input any text, and GPT-3 completes it for you: simplicity itself
As the name suggests, GPT-3 is the third in a series of autocomplete tools designed by OpenAI. (GPT stands for “generative pre-trained transformer.”) The program has taken years of development, but it’s also surfing a wave of recent innovation within the field of AI text-generation. In many ways, these advances are similar to the leap forward in AI…