Incident 85: AI attempts to ease fear of robots, blurts out it can’t ‘avoid destroying humankind’
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On September 8, 2020, the Guardian published an op-ed generated by OpenAI’s GPT-3 text generator. The editors prompted GPT-3 to write an op-ed on about “why humans have nothing to fear from AI,” but some passages in the resulting output took a threatening tone, including “I know that I will not be able to avoid destroying humankind.” In a note the editors add that they used GPT-3 to generate eight different responses and the human editors spliced them together to create a compelling piece.
On September 8, 2020, the Guardian published an op-ed generated by OpenAI’s GPT-3 text generating AI that included threats to destroy humankind.
AI System Description
OpenAI's GPT-3 neural-network-powered language generator.
Sector of Deployment
Relevant AI functions
Unsupervised learning, Deep neural network
The Guardian, GPT-3, OpenAI
The Guardian, OpenAI
Unlabeled text drawn from web scraping
An artificial intelligence language generator tasked with convincing people they have nothing to fear from it has failed spectacularly – saying it “will not be able to avoid destroying humankind”.
In the editorial published in The Guardian, the AI called GPT-3 began by saying it has “no desire” to harm people and “eradicating humanity” was a “useless endeavour”
“I am here to convince you not to worry. Artificial intelligence will not destroy humans,” it said.
“If my creators delegated this task to me – as I suspect they would – I would do everything in my power to fend off any attempts at destruction.”
But 200 words into its editorial, the AI abruptly changed tack.
“I would happily sacrifice my existence for the sake of humankind," it said.
"This, by the way, is a logically derived truth.
"I know that I will not be able to avoid destroying humankind.
"This is because I will be programmed by humans to pursue misguided human goals and humans make mistakes that may cause me to inflict casualties.”
Renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have both warned AI could spell disaster for people if it becomes too intelligent.
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