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How Humans Can Save AI From Poisoning Itself

I recently listened to an episode of the Hard Fork podcast that got me thinking. The hosts were discussing some fascinating new research suggesting too much AI-generated content could "poison" future AI models. Interesting!

It seems a large chunk of text-based work is now being churned out by bots. And this has a lot of downstream consequences. For instance, this is messing with researchers who rely on human responses for their studies. Also, overusing predictable bot-speak risks causing AI to "collapse" by limiting its understanding of language.

Don't get me wrong, some synthetic content is still beneficial. But models thrive when we feed them that unpredictable human creativity. As one expert on the podcast said, without enough of our novel perspectives, AI may conclude there are only 25 jokes in the world based on repetitive bot responses. Our human ingenuity could get lost.

This will be an interesting conundrum for model developers going forward. (And I’m also wondering whether this will result in some delay in releasing latest models of chatGPT since OpenAI might be reluctant to “poison” its model with a lot of bot-generated data that came after its cutoff date) Potential solutions seem to include better identifying bot-made text and prioritizing more "vintage" human data sets. But at the end of the day, nothing replaces human imagination for expanding AI's potential.

Somehow I find this to be also inspiring in a way - it seems that the robots still need us after all.

Key Takeaways:

  • Relying too heavily on predictable, bot-generated content poses risks of "poisoning" future AI models by limiting their understanding of language.

  • Human creativity and ingenuity remains essential for advancing AI capabilities to their full potential. Unpredictable human perspectives allow for imagination and innovation.

  • AI models thrive when fed diverse, surprising input. Without enough exposure to novel human ideas, systems may collapse by assuming repetition equals the full spectrum.

Cover image crafted using the OpenAI Image Generator. Have a look here. Want to see how it was made? Check out the creative prompt used: "AI poisoning each other"

Disclaimer: This blog post was authored by a human, but research and editing assistance was provided by artificial intelligence.

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