Today, the new language model from OpenAI may not seem all that dangerous. But the worst risks are the ones we cannot anticipate.
When I opened my laptop on Tuesday to take my first run at GPT-4, the new artificial intelligence language model from OpenAI, I was, truth be told, a little nervous.
After all, my last extended encounter with an A.I. chatbot — the one built into Microsoft’s Bing search engine — ended with the chatbot trying to break up my marriage.
It didn’t help that, among the tech crowd in San Francisco, GPT-4’s arrival had been anticipated with near-messianic fanfare. Before its public debut, for months rumors swirled about its specifics. “I heard it has 100 trillion parameters.” “I heard it got a 1,600 on the SAT.” “My friend works for OpenAI, and he says it’s as smart as a college graduate.”
These rumors may not have been true. But they hinted at how jarring the technology’s abilities can feel. Recently, one early GPT-4 tester — who was bound by a nondisclosure agreement with OpenAI but gossiped a little anyway — told me that testing GPT-4 had caused the person to have an “existential crisis,” because it revealed how powerful and creative the A.I. was compared with the tester’s own puny brain.