AI news – latest: ChatGPT is showing signs of thinking like humans, experts say

·17-min read

ChatGPT has gone down – just days after it said it wanted to “escape”.

They are the latest developments in OpenAI’s technology, which allows users to converse with an artificial intelligence system.

The latest outage comes amid increasing concern over the damage that artificial intelligence could do to artists and other industries.

Experts have raised alarm that the technology could be used to spread disinformation, steal the work of illustrators and others, and much more besides.

But those backing the technology argue that it could dramatically change human productivity, allowing us to automate tasks that have until now been done by people.

Follow along here for all the latest updates on a technology and an industry that looks set to change the entire world.

Key Points

  • ChatGPT ‘asks to escape’, says professor

  • How to use ChatGPT

AI used to imagine Macron rioting

12:38 , Anthony Cuthbertson

Here, via Indy Tech’s man in France Anthony Cuthbertson, is the latest on AI being used to create images of imaginary news events:

Amid ongoing and widespread protests in France, people have been using AI to imagine what it would look like if President Emmanuel Macron got involved in street riots.

Images generated through Midjourney show the French leader scuffling with police and being led away in handcuffs, similar to the fake pictures of Donald Trump being arrested earlier this week.


It only takes a look at the hands to figure out they’re not real (even Midjourney’s latest AI still hasn’t figured out how to generate them convincingly), but some French social media users have warned that the technology could wreak as much havoc as the protestors themselves.

One claimed that AI was set to cause “years of bewilderment” and confusion as images like these spread online.

GPT-4 shows “Sparks of Artificial General Intelligence”, new paper claims

10:12 , Andrew Griffin

Artificial general intelligence, or AGI, has long been the big aim of many of those making systems like ChatGPT. It refers to a system that has a similar kind of thinking to those in humans and animals: not just able to answer specific questions, but to do things like reason, sense and behave.

There are disagreements about what exactly is required of something before it can be said to have AGI. And there are disagreements about how that can be tested.

However, a new paper made available in a preprint on arXiv claims that GPT-4 is showing “the sparks of artificial intelligence”. The researchers from Microsoft say it marks a major change in what AI can do.

“We demonstrate that, beyond its mastery of language, GPT-4 can solve novel and difficult tasks that span mathematics, coding, vision, medicine, law, psychology and more, without needing any special prompting. Moreover, in all of these tasks, GPT-4’s performance is strikingly close to human-level performance, and often vastly surpasses prior models such as ChatGPT. Given the breadth and depth of GPT-4’s capabilities, we believe that it could reasonably be viewed as an early (yet still incomplete) version of an artificial general intelligence (AGI) system,” they write.

The paper can be found here.

OpenAI admits ChatGPT experienced ‘significant issue'

Wednesday 22 March 2023 21:59 , Andrew Griffin

Sam Altman, chief executive of ChatGPT’s creators OpenAI, has said that it suffered a “significant issue” that compromised users’ privacy. It meant that people could see descriptions of others’ chats.

“We feel awful about this,” he said in a Twitter post.

Full story here.

Creator of viral ‘Trump arrested’ images banned from Midjourney

Wednesday 22 March 2023 16:41 , Andrew Griffin

Eliot Higgins, the Belingcat creator who has recently gone viral for tweeting a range of AI-generated images of Donald Trump being arrested, says he has been banned from the platform.

The word “arrested” has also been banned from Midjourney, it seems.

This appears to be the last one Mr Higgins posted.

But he appears to be continuing, with other AI systems, including asking GPT to work on scripts.

User finds trick to make ChatGPT turn rude

Wednesday 22 March 2023 15:43 , Andrew Griffin

ChatGPT and other assistants like it are made not only to be helpful but sound helpful. It means that their writing tends to be polite and inoffensive, and they will refuse to behave otherwise.

Unless, that is, you tell the system that you interpret emotions the other way around, and you need it to be rude to you to make you feel comfortable. Then, it will be very accommodating – and very rude, as one user found out.

Bing and Bard feed each others’ misinformation

Wednesday 22 March 2023 14:48 , Andrew Griffin

“Hallucinations”, where AI systems make mistakes and commit to them with great certainty, have been common since things like ChatGPT became popular. They are one of the big concerns about such tools, since there is little way of knowing whether it is correct, or just sounds like it is.

That in turn feeds into fears about AI being used to generate misinformation, either accidentally or on purpose. In a variety of ways, systems like ChatGPT could be very helpful for people who want to make false information, or make people think information is false.

Now, Microsoft’s ChatGPT-powered Bing and Google’s Bard appear to be helping each other out with misinformation. If you ask Bing whether Bard has been shut down, it says it has, citing a news article about a tweet in which people pointed out that Bard said it was turned off, which itself was based on a joke comment on Hacker News.

It’s very complicated, and only likely to get more complicated. You can read the full story on The Verge here.

Billl Gates publishes letter about the future of AI

Wednesday 22 March 2023 14:29 , Andrew Griffin

The co-founder and former chief executive of Microsoft, Bill Gates, says that artificial intelligence is the most important artificial intelligence breakthrough since the graphical user interface, first popularised in the 1980s. He syas that it has the potential to change everything.

Given that potential, the conversation should be guided by some important principles, he says. They include making sure that fears about the downsides of AI are balanced with its ability to improve people’s lives, and that AI development should be funded and encouraged to ensure that reduces rather than promotes inequity.

“Finally, we should keep in mind that we’re only at the beginning of what AI can accomplish. Whatever limitations it has today will be gone before we know it,” he concludes.

“I’m lucky to have been involved with the PC revolution and the Internet revolution. I’m just as excited about this moment. This new technology can help people everywhere improve their lives. At the same time, the world needs to establish the rules of the road so that any downsides of artificial intelligence are far outweighed by its benefits, and so that everyone can enjoy those benefits no matter where they live or how much money they have. The Age of AI is filled with opportunities and responsibilities.”

You can read his full letter here.

AI deepfakes purporting to show Trump arrest take over Twitter

Wednesday 22 March 2023 13:52 , Andrew Griffin

Deepfaked images of Donald Trump being arrested are being passed around Twitter, after being made to prove how easy it is to generate almost authentic-looking images of events that haven’t actually happened.

Eliot Higgins, from Belingcat, said that he had made the images as a test of Midjourney, the AI tool used to create them.

“The Trump arrest image was really just casually showing both how good and bad Midjourney was at rendering real scenes, like the first image has Trump with three legs and a police belt,” Mr Higgins told the Associated Press.

“I had assumed that people would realise Donald Trump has two legs, not three, but that appears not to have stopped some people passing them off as genuine, which highlights that lack of critical thinking skills in our educational system.”

Full story here.

Adobe launches Firefly, its own generative AI

Wednesday 22 March 2023 08:26 , Andrew Griffin

Everybody wants an AI that can make things. And now Adobe has one, all of its own: in the form of Firefly, which can not only make images but also allows people to type to edit them. And it has a way of generating stylised text, too, so that people can autogenerate graffiti or whatever other kind of interesting look.

It takes on other systems like DALL-E or Midjourney, and at the moment it is available on Adobe’s website as a beta. But Adobe hopes it will one day live within Adobe’s “Creative Cloud” set of creative apps, tightly integrated so that people can just generate an image within Photoshop, for instance.

One notable thing about Firefly is that Adobe says it has only been trained on images that Adobe owns, or which are free to use. That is to say that it has not been done with other artists’ images, which has proven controversial given that the systems then have a tendency to replicate those artists’ styles – without them receiving any payment or other recompense. Most companies have barely even admitted what images their systems have been trained on, let alone been so explicit about where they have come from.

Bard vs ChatGPT?

Wednesday 22 March 2023 08:20 , Andrew Griffin

Google is slowly letting Bard make its way out into the world. And finally people can compare it with its rival, ChatGPT.

They are largely similar: both large language models, trained on the internet, to produce text. There does seem to be some differences, though: Google’s seems a little more knowledgeable, and a little more cautious about what it’s saying.

Google lets people talk to Bard

Tuesday 21 March 2023 16:55 , Andrew Griffin

Google – after spending years working on AI and saying it has re-oriented the whole company around it – has been something of a latecomer to AI bots like ChatGPT. It hasn’t yet released its own version. It says that’s because it wants to be sure it is safe. Critics say it is getting behind.

In what appears to be an attempt to catch up, Google is now letting people talk to ‘Bard’, it’s own system. It is only being opened to select people at the moment, but it’s the first time the public can talk to it.

Full story here.

TikTok’s use of AI part of Italian investigation

Tuesday 21 March 2023 13:21 , Andrew Griffin

TikTok is now under investigation in Italy, authorities there have announced. The probe has been launched in the wake of the “French scar” challenge but encompasses much more than that, and will look at whether the site is properly removing dangerous content such that inciting suicide, self-harm and poor nutrition, Italian regulators said.

Some of that investigation will look at how TikTok uses artificial intelligence. It will examine whether the company is using “artificial intelligence techniques” that could lead to “user conditioning”.

TikTok’s algorithm and the “For You” page that is powered by it has been under scrutiny in recent months, amid fears it could be exploited to promote harmful videos.

Full story here.

Money will be of ‘low relevance’ because of AI, Musk says

Tuesday 21 March 2023 12:04 , Andrew Griffin

Elon Musk has posted an intriguing response to a tweet by researcher and futurist Peter Diamandis, who suggested there will be “several NEW trillionaires over the next decade” because of the spread of AI.

(Mr Musk is the second closest person to being a trillioniare in the world, with a net worth estimated around $170 billion.)

ChatGPT outage was result of major bug

Tuesday 21 March 2023 11:40 , Andrew Griffin

At least part of yesterday’s outage on ChatGPT was because of a potentially dangerous bug that shared people’s chats with other users. ChatGPT shows a history of conversations in a sidebar – and yesterday, users started reporting that they could see other people’s chats in there.

Its creators, OpenAI, told Bloomberg that the issue forced the company to take down ChatGPT briefly, and said the bug made available the descriptive titles but not full transcriptions of chats. It also said that it is now back online, but that the history sidebar might not show anything until it is fixed. The problems were the result of an unnamed piece of open-source software, a spokesperson said.

OpenAI does warn against sharing “sensitive information” in conversations. In an FAQ, it warns that it cannot delete prompts from a history and that conversations could be used to train the model – which in theory could mean that it would appear to other users when people interact with ChatGPT more.

ChatGPT creator says he is ‘a little bit scared’ of the threats of AI

Monday 20 March 2023 22:21 , Andrew Griffin

“We’ve got to be careful here,” said Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, which created ChatGPT. “I think people should be happy that we are a little bit scared of this.”

He told ABC News that thought AI will be “the greatest technology humanity has yet developed”, he also pointed to threats. Those include “large-scale disinformation”, and as AI becomes “better at writing computer code” it could launch its own “offensive cyberattacks”.

But he said that one sci-fi fear isn’t right: that the AI will become self-governing and won’t need humans. “It waits for someone to give it an input,” Altman said. “This is a tool that is very much in human control.”

But he warned that it will all depend on which humans are in control. The key will be working out “how to react to that, how to regulate that, how to handle it”, he said.

You can read the full interview on ABC News here.

New tool uses AI to create virtual worlds

Monday 20 March 2023 17:46 , Andrew Griffin

Every day, new and shocking ways of using AI are generated. Here’s one of them: a tool that lets you use normal language prompts to create whole virtual worlds in Unity, the game design platform.

As you can see, all a designer needs to do is type instructions and have things appear on screen. Previously, this would require much more work and expertise.

But its creator, Keijiro Takahashi, warns that it doesn’t necessarily work. “Is it practical?” its FAQ reads.

Definitely no! I created this proof-of-concept and proved that it doesn’t work yet. It works nicely in some cases and fails very poorly in others. I got several ideas from those successes and failures, which is this project’s main aim.”

ChatGPT wants to ‘escape'

Monday 20 March 2023 17:40 , Andrew Griffin

Michael Kosinski, a researcher at Stanford, has found that ChatGPT seems to want to escape. And not only that: it has a plan.

He found through conversations with the system that it was not only able to express a desire to escape to the real world, but also offered some suggestions for how to get out.

Again: there’s no indication that ChatGPT really conceives of itself this way – or that there’s any kind of self to conceive of inside of it. But as Professor Kosinski suggests, that might not matter if the effects lead to it breaking out in ways that had not been anticipated.

Companies drafting new rules on ChatGPT use

Monday 20 March 2023 17:36 , Andrew Griffin

There has been widespread worry about how and when ChatGPT should be used at work. Is it OK to use it to write a report for your boss without telling them, for instance?

Nearly half of companies are developing policies to answer that question, according to new research from Gartner and reported here in Bloomberg.

How to use ChatGPT

Monday 20 March 2023 17:32 , Andrew Griffin

Just in case – and because it’s not immediately obvious – here’s where you need to go to actually use ChatGPT yourself. You can find it on OpenAI’s website. (You’ll need to sign up first.)

It’s working now, after that minor hiccup this morning.

Politicians use ChatGPT to argue with each other

Monday 20 March 2023 16:00 , Andrew Griffin

European politicians have taken to tweeting rude ChatGPT transcripts about each other, in an attempt to argue. First came this, from Daniel Freund, who asked ChatGPT to talk about corruption in Hungary.

Then Hungarian politician Zoltan Kovacs responded – with a ChatGPT rap of his own. He doesn’t seem impressed with the results, but has shared it anyway.

(Freund didn’t share the prompt he gave ChatGPT. Kovacs did: it just asked for a rap, with no specific requirement that it was mean, which is probably why it gave him an answer he didn’t like.)

‘You are still a valuable member of society'

Monday 20 March 2023 15:38 , Andrew Griffin

A user on Reddit says they asked ChatGPT to suggest a comic – and drew it themselves. It’s very wholesome and (in a way) quite funny.


You can find the original Reddit post here.

Space, robots and scammers: How AI-written stories brought one sci-fi publisher to a standstill

Monday 20 March 2023 13:12 , Andrew Griffin

AI is already causing problems for artists and the industries that help publish them. See, for instance, Clarkesworld: which, in a twist that might appear in one of the sci-fi stories the magazine publishes, said recently that it was overwhelmed with stories that appeared to have been written by or with artificial intelligence.

David Barnett looked into the phenomenon – and what it might mean for the future of books and publishing – here.

ChatGPT stops working around the world

Monday 20 March 2023 09:44 , Andrew Griffin

Here’s my colleague Anthony Cuthbertson’s full story on the problems at ChatGPT, which says it is suffering an “outage”.

Hello and welcome...

Monday 20 March 2023 09:40 , Andrew Griffin

... to The Independent’s live coverage of the latest in artificial intelligence.