ChatGPT gives one answer. If you ask it about its sources - it can't tell you. It also has some subjects that have obviously been manipulated to parrot woke nonsense. If you use it to write something - if someone suspects it came from ChatGPT - they can submit a part of the writing to ChatGPT and ask if it wrote it. It will answer Yes if it did. Maybe this is not universal - but it was for several cases.

Finally - and most important - Google gives pages of results for a search. One word can get you started. I typically scan the results - and look at several. As noted above - ChatGPT gives one answer.

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Thank you for continuing to pound much needed sense into this dangerous LLM phenomenon. Like self-driving cars, this technology is not yet ready for widespread public distribution and should be banned on the internet until it becomes mature and reliable. ChatGPT is what I call fake AI.

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What if the whole civilization is careening towards some kind of Biblical scale catastrophe fueled by out of control technological development, but we can't focus on that threat because we're so distracted by these shiny new toys? What if we're children playing with digital crayons?

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Jan 14, 2023Liked by Gary Marcus

Proposed guidelines for the use of ChatG in writing academic papers along with a list of papers that have done so.


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Good article as usual. Two thoughts:

- I bet Google is scrambling next week to add conversion of hours/minutes/seconds format to their search code. Perhaps there's some syntax ambiguity that it would cause or, more likely IMHO, it is just an oversight.

- Mentioning ChatGPT as an author might have one benefit. It will cause smart readers to double-check the paper's results.

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Jan 14, 2023·edited Jan 14, 2023

This reminds me of the old garbage-in, garbage-out principle.

The expression "4:21 min" isn't a standard (in science) representation of time interval, so it's ambiguous.

Is it supposed to be 4.21 min = (4.21*60) = 252 seconds?

Or is it 4 min 21 sec = (4*60 + 21) = 261 seconds?

ChatGPT is clearly making assumptions and improvising, when it should (at least) be asking the user to clarify or rephrase the question, which is what Google is doing implicitly by not giving a calculation.

Google doesn't need a full simplification to SI units; just a bit less ambiguity (even if there's still implied precedence) e.g.

"4min 21sec/km in min/mi" => 7.00 min/mi

As it happens, 4.21 min/km is 6.78 min/mi but ChatGPT hasn't given that answer either, so its failure clearly runs deeper than picking the wrong one in just this pair of interpretations.

We may need a revised version of the principle for LLMs: "anything-in, something-out"?

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My New Year resolution - to co-author an AGI paper with Gary Marcus! I promise to contribute!

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The problem is that since GPT3 , there are two things open AI and others have added: use of huge number of custom instructional tasks with labeled human data and using human feedback to further fine tune initial models. Don’t you think it appears more intelligent because of that ?

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It's a complex tool. On the one hand it's essentially a language calculator and would you credit e.g. your graphing calculator for the calculations in a paper? Of course not.

On the other hand, it is capable of novel language constructs, willingly writing to order, e.g. poetry of all kinds, even critical of itself. To wit, when prompted to write a limerick on the dangers of using ChatGPT to write scientific papers it aptly produced this:

There once was a scientist so green

Who used ChatGPT to write his thesis scene

But its knowledge was old

And the facts he was told

Were untrue, so his work was not clean!

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Jan 17, 2023·edited Jan 17, 2023

What is most worrying isn't ChatGPT being anthropomorphized or being credited with results which are wrong.

What is more worrying is that Microsoft just poured another $10 billion into OpenAI and some other big money is following it in to almost taking full control.(49%)


Apparently MS has plans to integrate it into MS's software ecosystem like the Bing search engine and their Office suite of products.

Whenever there is massive funding involved with Big Tech you know something will screwup down the line!

My biggest worry on the ethical front is that apps like ChatGPT will be exposed to extremely sensitive personal/private information which normally should not be given to any software program owned by a megacorporation, especially the likes of Microsoft!

Already news stories of crisis counselors and some therapists using this with their patients to aid in their treatment is extremely dangerous. Not only because of the inherent inaccuracies of this limited model but that such information will be collected by a 3rd party.

The ultimate fear I have is that chatbots like ChatGPT are the perfect "prison warden" for humans, the CCP would love such a software agent which can keep an eye on the activities over every citizen 24/7 and report to the authorities behavior and actions which are deemed forbidden. Such as searching for information on a taboo political topics.

Like him or hate him there is a good reason why Elon Musk left OpenAI and I suspect he knew which companies would come knocking on the door sooner rather than later.

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Jan 15, 2023·edited Jan 15, 2023

Why people keep asking ChatGPT math questions, when he clearly can't do any kind of math, and complain all around Twitter that he's fake?? ChatGPT is a great compiler of various texts, like simple essays, emails, brainstorm ideas etc. And he's perfect at that.

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I assume co-writing an article with human supervision might still be fine? Academic writing style can be quite difficult for someone new to the field (or international ESL)! And being able to present a series of points and have it rewrite into a form that would be acceptable prose for an academic paper and academic reviewer standards seems quite valuable.

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An actual human contrarian wonders...

The premise behind your piece would seem to be that relying on ChatGPT would undermine the credibility of science, and thus presumably scientific advancement. Typically such a development is seen as an undesirable negative.

What if the key challenge of the 21st century is to somehow gain control of the knowledge explosion, that is slow it down, so that it proceeds at a pace which we can confidently manage? What if maturity would involve ending the simplistic teenager mindset that assumes without questioning that we ought to create as many powers of vast scale as we can as fast as we possibly can?

If there is any truth in that last paragraph, then any factor which interferes with uncontrolled scientific advancement might have a silver lining?

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ChatGPTs falsehoods can nevertheless be useful (a) as a simple test for human involvement, (b) as a zeroth-order approach to the superimposed underlying truth (c) to build-upon its output, and get things done on a higher level. I called this superposition "Schrödinger Facts" in our last post at the Sentient Syllabus Project (https://sentientsyllabus.substack.com/p/chatgpts-achilles-heel). I absolutely agree that ChatGPT has no ideas "of its own" and can't be a co-author. Thanks!

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Jan 14, 2023·edited Jan 14, 2023

Forget about the math. ChatGPT didn't catch that I'd inverted the second ratio. When I asked "What is a 4.21 min/km running pace in MI/min?" It very confidently responded that "A 4.21 min/km running pace is equivalent to a 6.6 mi/min pace."

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"ChatGPT, could you write me a Willie Nelson themed headline for my piece about the perils of co-authorship with chat bots on scientific papers?" Hilarious 😂😂

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