All-knowing machines are a fantasy

Beware the human-sounding ChatGPT

The idea of an all-knowing computer program comes from science fiction and should stay there. Despite the seductive fluency of ChatGPT and other language models, they remain unsuitable as sources of knowledge. We must fight against the instinct to trust a human-sounding machine, argue Emily M. Bender & Chirag Shah.

 

Decades of science fiction have taught us that a key feature of a high-tech future is computer systems that give us instant access to seemingly limitless collections of knowledge through an interface that takes the form of a friendly (or sometimes sinisterly detached) voice. The early promise of the World Wide Web was that it might be the start of that collection of knowledge. With Meta’s Galactica, OpenAI’s ChatGPT and earlier this year LaMDA from Google, it seems like the friendly language

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