Article by Melissa Heikkilä: “This sentence was written by an AI—or was it? OpenAI’s new chatbot, ChatGPT, presents us with a problem: How will we know whether what we read online is written by a human or a machine?
Since it was released in late November, ChatGPT has been used by over a million people. It has the AI community enthralled, and it is clear the internet is increasingly being flooded with AI-generated text. People are using it to come up with jokes, write children’s stories, and craft better emails.
ChatGPT is OpenAI’s spin-off of its large language model GPT-3, which generates remarkably human-sounding answers to questions that it’s asked. The magic—and danger—of these large language models lies in the illusion of correctness. The sentences they produce look right—they use the right kinds of words in the correct order. But the AI doesn’t know what any of it means. These models work by predicting the most likely next word in a sentence. They haven’t a clue whether something is correct or false, and they confidently present information as true even when it is not.
In an already polarized, politically fraught online world, these AI tools could further distort the information we consume. If they are rolled out into the real world in real products, the consequences could be devastating.
We’re in desperate need of ways to differentiate between human- and AI-written text in order to counter potential misuses of the technology, says Irene Solaiman, policy director at AI startup Hugging Face, who used to be an AI researcher at OpenAI and studied AI output detection for the release of GPT-3’s predecessor GPT-2.
New tools will also be crucial to enforcing bans on AI-generated text and code, like the one recently announced by Stack Overflow, a website where coders can ask for help. ChatGPT can confidently regurgitate answers to software problems, but it’s not foolproof. Getting code wrong can lead to buggy and broken software, which is expensive and potentially chaotic to fix…(More)”.