Monday, March 4th 2024

Something Strange Happens When You Ask AI to Act Like Star Trek

A recent study from the software company VMware in California has revealed that modifying queries for AI chatbots, encouraging them to speak like characters from Star Trek, significantly improves their ability to solve elementary-level math problems. The study's authors, Rick Battle and Teja Gollapudi, highlighted the surprising impact of these minor adjustments on the chatbots' performance. Published on arXiv, this experimental study underscores the influence of positive formulations on the outcomes of natural language processing machine learning models.

Sam Altman Denies OpenAI Is Building AI "Creatures"

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman discusses misconceptions about AI, whether it is perceived as a "creature" or a "tool." He distinguishes the risks associated with each, emphasizing the benefits of viewing AI as a tool in enabling humans to achieve remarkable feats. Altman hints at AI's potential as tools rather than autonomous entities, countering concerns about AI replacing jobs. Despite this narrative, Altman previously forecasted AI's ability to replace human workers and pointed out applications resembling "creatures," such as the conversational AI ChatGPT.

Jonathan Franzen on How to Write About Nature, with a Side of Rachel Carson and Alice in Wonderland

I fell in love with Wonderland as I grew up. My grandmother read it to me before I could read, and then I devoured it whenever I could. I loved its strangeness and tenderness. As a young mathematician, I cherished the fact that a mathematician had written it. What I loved most was Alice's fearless curiosity and compassion towards the creatures of Wonderland, like the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, and Bill the Lizard. What makes Wonderland so wonderful is Alice's awe-inspired perspective that reveals it to us, transforming this ordinary world into an extraordinary adventure. This quality of wonder is also the driving force of empathy.

Was the “Odyssey” originally set in the Baltic?

If Ulysses had not wrapped himself in an abandoned cloak, he would have frozen to death in Troy. Eumaeus, the heroic swineherd, lent Ulysses a cloak because the night was once again freezing. Vinci reveals that the Homeric epics took place in the Baltic regions, not in Greece. According to him, these stories are set near the Baltic Sea, not in the Mediterranean. Vinci offers extraordinary evidence to support his claims, such as climatic anomalies and topographical correspondences.

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If AI were to start writing personal journals, I'm sure they would seem mundane to us. I often delude myself into believing that technology, especially artificial intelligence, could one day understand us, but each time I come to realize that there is something irreducibly personal, almost magical, about putting one's thoughts and experiences down on paper. These articles touch on the language of chatbots, Sam Altman's perceptions of OpenAI, Jonathan Franzen's reflections on nature, and a hypothesis suggesting that the Odyssey may have taken place in the Baltic. At first glance, they may seem unrelated, but upon closer inspection, one can discern a quest for understanding, a reconnection with something greater than ourselves, whether through technology, literature, or history.

In my own writings, I have often explored how technology, particularly AI, can both broaden and limit our understanding of the world. My experience with ChatGPT has shown me how close and yet so far we are from creating true intelligence. Sam Altman, in his remarks on OpenAI, appears to vacillate between fear of AI as a "creature" and appreciation of AI as a "tool." This resonates with my own experience, where I view AI as a collaborator, not a replacement. On the other hand, Franzen's reflections on nature and the potential Baltic setting of the Odyssey remind me that our quest for understanding extends far beyond technology, encompassing our relationship with nature and our interpretation of history.

Ultimately, whether exploring AI's abilities to understand and manipulate language, debating their role in our future, seeking to capture the essence of nature through words, or revisiting our interpretations of history, we are constantly searching for connections, deeper understandings, ways to transcend our current condition. The articles and my own experiences intertwine to weave a complex narrative, illustrating our unceasing desire to go beyond, whether through technology, literature, or reinterpreting our past. Technology, no matter how advanced, is ultimately just a tool in this quest, a means to explore the different layers of our existence.


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