Essays & Articles


GPT-4: We Are in a Major Technological Change

Yes, there has been much hype over the imagined powers and flaws of the new Large Language Models (e.g., Chat GPT-4), but the recent advances (that is, as of today in April 2023) indicate that there is a major transformation taking place that everyone needs to pay attention to. I call your attention to a brilliant article and an engaging video talk about the major accomplishments. I consider it extremely important that you watch the video (by one of the authors of the article) and, then, read the 150-page article if you have time. (It is very well written in everyday language. The only times technical knowledge is required are in the sections on mathematics and computer programming: skip those parts if they are not your interests.)

GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer. Ugh, a name describing the underlying technology. Fortunately, the article and video I am recommending does not require you to understand the name nor any of the deep underlying technology. This material, however, will give you a good understanding of why people are so excited.

The video and article I refer you to come from senior folks at Microsoft who have been involved in this work. The system itself was developed by the company Open AI, which has been heavily funded by Microsoft (multiple $billions). Microsoft has integrated the system into many of its products, including its browser and some of its Office suite of products. (The video is a talk by Sebastian Bubeck, the lead author of the article.)

Other AI companies are also producing similar products. I am using the Microsoft publications primarily because they are well-written in easy to understand language, and address many of the powers and flaws of the system in an extremely thoughtful way. I believe they are required reading and watching for all who might be interested in this.

Note: The video is 48 minute long. I watched it the way I usually watch talks: at 1.5 times normal speed with closed caption ON, which reduced the 48 minutes to 23, reading the captions rather than listening to the speaker. I also paused the video at times to reflect upon what had just been said and shown, and occasionally backed up to review it again, this time at normal speed.

The article:

Bubeck, S., Chandrasekaran, V., et al. (2023). Sparks of artificial general intelligence: Early experiments with gpt-4. arXiv:2303.12712v3 [cs.CL] 27 Mar 2023.


The Video

A talk by the lead author, Sebastian Bubeck, at MIT on March 22, 2023: Sparks of AGI: Early experiments with GPT-4. (AGI stands for Artificial General Intelligence.)