GPT showing off on Conversations with Tyler

Since posting it in January of 2023, our post on a failure of ChatGPT has been one of the most popular articles of the year in terms of web traffic. Read ChatGPT Cites Economics Papers That Do Not Exist

LLMs will make up nonsense lies, but it might sound sophisticated and serious. As human editors, we are not used to detecting that kind of problem, because usually if something sounds serious that means it has been written by a serious thoughtful person (usually).

That’s a problem, but ChatGPT is really good at some tasks.

Instead of pointing out the fact that ChatGPT is not perfect, Tyler Cowen wants people to see the potential. He has done an entire podcast interview with ChatGPT, asking it to take on the voice and role of deceased writer Jonathan Swift.

I’ll share part of the transcript:

COWEN: In 1709, you, Jonathan Swift, still were calling yourself a Whig. What exactly induced you to switch to the Tory side of the ledger?

SWIFT: My shift from the Whigs to the Tories was a gradual and complex process, influenced by several factors, including personal connections, political developments, and ideological disagreements.

During my early years in politics, I was indeed more aligned with the Whigs, who championed principles such as constitutional government, religious toleration, and the supremacy of Parliament over the monarchy. However, over time, I became increasingly disillusioned with the Whigs, particularly as their internal factions and power struggles intensified.

The Whigs’ support for the war with France, which began in 1702, was a point of contention for me. I believed that the war was costly…

The replies seem nuanced and insightful. Nothing made me suspect that they were factually inaccurate, although I do not know enough about Irish history to judge.

Is there any human who could have produced this script? I think so, although it would have required a lot of work. If one of these replies is better than anything a human Swift scholar would produce, how would we know?

GPT4 can write good summaries for the work of a prolific author like Swift, because the model can train on lots of examples.

GPT4 could probably write a good biography of a modern figure by pulling together all of the writing by them and about them. Maybe GPT4 could efficiently scrape up all mentions of this figure online and synthesize them faster than a human scholar. However, we observed GPT3 completely making up citations when we tried to get it to do economics summaries.

I’m concerned that humans will use GPT4 to write but not do the requisite fact-checking. That could introduce a new corpus of work that the next LLMs will train on, which might be full of lies. Humans might not admit to using GPT, and therefore we wouldn’t have a mechanism for using extra scrutiny on AI-generated writing from 2023. Humans can make mistakes too… so the ultimate solution could be an all-powerful AI that somehow does begin with a fairly accurate map of the world and goes around fact-checking everything faster than human editors ever could.

2 thoughts on “GPT showing off on Conversations with Tyler

  1. Scott Buchanan April 10, 2023 / 8:41 pm

    “…That could introduce a new corpus of work that the next LLMs will train on, which might be full of lies.” Yikes!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s