“Playing with GPT-3 feels like seeing the future,” Arram Sabeti, a San Francisco–based developer and artist, tweeted last week. That pretty much sums up the response on social media in the last few days to OpenAI’s latest language-generating AI.
OpenAI first described GPT-3 in a research paper published in May. But last week it began drip-feeding the software to selected people who requested access to a private beta. For now, OpenAI wants outside developers to help it explore what GPT-3 can do, but it plans to turn the tool into a commercial product later this year, offering businesses a paid-for subscription to the AI via the cloud.
GPT-3 is the most powerful language model ever. Its predecessor, GPT-2, released last year, was already able to spit out convincing streams of text in a range of different styles when prompted with an opening sentence. But GPT-3 is a big leap forward. The model has 175 billion parameters (the values that a neural network tries to optimize during training), compared with GPT-2’s already vast 1.5 billion. And with language models, size really does matter.
Sabeti linked to a blog post where he showed off short stories, songs, press releases, technical manuals, and more that he had used the AI to generate. GPT-3 can also produce pastiches of particular writers. Mario Klingemann, an artist who works with machine learning, shared a short story called “The importance of being on Twitter,” written in the style of Jerome K. Jerome, which starts: “It is a curious fact that the last remaining form of social life in which the people of London are still interested is Twitter. I was struck with this curious fact when I went on one of my periodical holidays to the sea-side, and found the whole place twittering like a starling-cage.” Klingemann says all he gave the AI was the title, the author’s name and the initial “It.” There is even a reasonably informative article about GPT-3 written entirely by GPT-3.