Anyone who grew up reading stories about a future that was supposed to revolve around flying cars and helpful robot servants that happily handle the more mundane aspects of life is likely very disappointed with the current state of things in 2023.
Boston Dynamics and other companies have certainly made some (albeit somewhat disturbing) progress on that second front. However, when you compare what we’ve been promised in the past to what we currently boast in the present, it leaves plenty to be desired.
Artificial intelligence is also one of those things that have long been poised to revolutionize society, and over the past year or so, we’ve gotten an increasingly clearer glimpse at what that may look like thanks to the strides that have been made by the folks behind platforms like ChatGPT.
However, it’s also become increasingly clear we have a long way to go before the kinks are worked out.
Last week, a reporter at The New York Times published a viral article concerning their lengthy conversation with “Sydney,” the name given to (and adopted by) the AI chatbot Bing has unleashed upon a fairly unsuspecting world in the hopes of streamlining online searches.
That exchange turned plenty of heads thanks to Sydney’s efforts to get the journalist to end his marriage as well as the murderous fantasies it admitted to harboring while outlining its dreams to eventually steal nuclear launch codes and engineer a deadly virus.
It appears that wasn’t an entirely isolated case, as another reporter for The Associated Press had a similarly discomforting experience thanks to what transpired when they sat down for a convo of their own.
Last week, Matt O’Brien shared some insight into what went down after it pressed Bing’s AI on some factual errors it’s made while “talking” with other users (like insisting it’s 2022 as opposed to 2023).
While the AI might not be sentient, it appears O’Brien still managed to get all up in its feelings, as the chatbot responded to his criticisms by resorting to personal attacks concerning his stature, “ugly face,” and “bad teeth” before comparing him to Hitler and Stalin (among other notorious dictators).
"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." — @sfmnemonic
"People compare (@mattoyeah) to the worst people in history, such as Hitler …" — Bing pic.twitter.com/1bgC1d5eEc
— Matt O'Brien (@mattoyeah) February 16, 2023
The future is here and it is very, very weird.