Talking about the Beatles with GPT-3

You may have seen some people having a laugh because they managed to get GPT-3 (a massive and well-hyped ML model that can generate human-like text) to tell them that the world’s fastest marine mammal is a sailfish. I assume that’s a problem with the training data, more so than the approach GPT-3’s inventors used. GPT-3 is trained from a huge “corpus” of text that resulted from crawling the web for eight years, plus a lot of books and Wikipedia. So sure, you can trip this thing up on some subjects because it’s only as smart as the Internet. GPT-3 doesn’t really have “knowledge” but rather it generates plausible text based on it’s training, your input and what it recently generated. So it’s not correct to say it’s “stupid” because it doesn’t know that a sailfish isn’t a mammal. This was just some plausible human-sounding text it generated based on those factors, so most likely there is something on the internet led GPT-3 to generate text implying a sailfish is a mammal. But anyway, I played around with GPT-3 and found it to be pretty mindblowing.

OpenAI just put out a Chatbot interface to GPT3 so it’s easy to try it for yourself. Check out this conversation I had with it. I tried to “trick” it by asking about how many members of the Beatles there were. Everyone knows there were 4 members: Paul, John, George, and Ringo. Except there weren’t. There was also Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best, who were early members who didn’t quite work out or had other interests. And what about their producer, George Martin? Some people called him the “fifth” Beatle. I found that the Chatbot incorporated my prior questions and answers, and appeared to get smarter about this subject pretty quickly. Impressive!