GPT-3…that’s the Generative Pretrained Transformer…is an artificial intelligence system that has been getting a lot of attention in the tech world of late. Created by OpenAI, the system is designed to work with languages…or other forms of text data structured in some way, such as computer code…it takes an input and transforms it into a response or creation which is predicted to be useful in a particular domain. Several people have remarked that GPT-3 answers to questions are much more coherent and easy to understand than are Google Search results for the same query.
First, let’s ask some questions about literature and history….
My question: Summarize fiction and nonfiction books about social impact of first world war
GPT’s response: The First World War had a profound impact on society, both during and after the conflict. In fiction, many books have explored the effects of the war on individuals and communities. For example, “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque tells the story of a group of young German soldiers who are sent to fight in the war and the devastating effects it has on their lives. Other fiction books that explore the social impact of the war include “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway and “Parade’s End” by Ford Madox Ford.
In nonfiction, there are many books that delve into the broader social impact of the war. For instance, “The Great War and Modern Memory” by Paul Fussell examines how the war affected the way people think and remember the conflict. “The Guns of August” by Barbara Tuchman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book that looks at the origins of the war and how it quickly escalated. “The First World War” by John Keegan is a comprehensive overview of the conflict, including its causes and consequences.
My evaluation: Not bad…maybe a B- for a high school senior (in a non-honors class).
I’m sorry, but I am not able to browse the internet, so I cannot provide a list of novels about World War I. However, some well-known novels about World War I include “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque, “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway, and “The Red Badge of Courage” by Stephen Crane. These novels are known for their realistic depiction of the war and the impact it had on the soldiers who fought in it.
My evaluation: Obviously it doesn’t need to browse the current Internet to deal with historical events and books written about them prior to its cutoff date of 2021, not clear why it begged off on this one whereas it answered the last one. It did go ahead and list three novels, but one of them had nothing to do with WWI. A grade of D- at best.
Yes, both of these novels were written by Erich Maria Remarque and they both deal with the experiences of soldiers in World War I. The Road Back is a sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front and continues the story of the main character, Paul Bäumer, as he struggles to adjust to civilian life after the war. Like its predecessor, The Road Back is a powerful and moving exploration of the psychological effects of war on the human spirit.
My evaluation: Correctly identified the theme of the book, but got the name of the main character wrong. D+.
My question: Social effects of inflation, with historical and literary examples?
Inflation is a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing power of money. This can have a number of social effects, some of which can be negative. For example, inflation can lead to a decrease in people’s standard of living, as their money is worth less and they are able to buy fewer goods and services. This can lead to an increase in poverty, as people are unable to afford basic necessities.
Inflation can also lead to an increase in inequality, as those with fixed incomes, such as pensioners, may see their purchasing power decline, while those with variable incomes, such as those who own businesses, may be able to adjust their prices to compensate for the increase in costs.
Historically, high levels of inflation have been associated with economic instability and social unrest. For example, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, high levels of inflation in the United States were accompanied by widespread protests and social upheaval. Similarly, in the Weimar Republic of Germany, hyperinflation in the 1920s led to widespread economic hardship and social disruption.
In literature, inflation and its effects have been a common theme, with many authors using it as a backdrop for their stories. For example, in George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm,” the inflation of the animals’ currency, known as “Squealers,” is used to symbolize the erosion of their wealth and the eventual collapse of their society. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” the character of Gatsby is able to amass great wealth through illicit means, but is ultimately unable to protect it from the ravages of inflation.
Pretty decent, again about a B- for a high school senior.
Now let’s try some technology questions:
My question: Who invented the jet engine?
Automatic elevators use sensors and computer algorithms to move people or goods between floors in a building. The sensors help the elevator detect where it is in the shaft and where it needs to go, and the computer algorithms help it move efficiently and safely. When a person enters the elevator and selects a floor, the computer receives this information and uses it to determine the best route to that floor. The elevator then moves along its track, using motors and pulleys to lift or lower itself, until it reaches the desired floor. Once the elevator arrives at the destination, the doors open and the passengers can exit.
My evaluation: OK, although the response doesn’t really contain much information. Grade: B. Let’s try a follow-on question….
Can you make an automatic elevator without computers?
It would be difficult, if not impossible, to make an automatic elevator without the use of computers. The complex algorithms and calculations that are used to control the movement of the elevator would be too difficult for a person to perform manually. Additionally, the sensors and other equipment that are used to detect the elevator’s position and movement would be difficult to operate without the use of computers. In short, while it might be possible to make an elevator without computers, it would not be an automatic elevator in the traditional sense.
This gets an F, because the answer is just wrong. I so informed it, and asked the same question again today. The response:
It is possible to design and build an elevator system without using computers, but it would likely be a very basic and limited system. Modern elevators use computers to control and coordinate their movements, monitor their operation, and provide a range of safety features and conveniences for users. Without computers, an elevator system would likely be much slower and less efficient, and would not be able to offer the same level of safety or comfort. It is also worth noting that many building codes and safety regulations now require the use of computers in elevator systems, so building a non-computerized elevator may not be allowed in some places.
Better, but “very basic and limited system” would have to include the multiple elevators installed in the Empire State Building beginning in the 1930s. I also wonder about the assertion re building codes…could this really be true? I’ll say a C-.
Back to literature and history:
Darkness at Noon is a novel written by Arthur Koestler, first published in 1941. It is a powerful and thought-provoking work that explores the consequences of totalitarianism and the effects of government-controlled thought on individuals.
The novel is set in the Soviet Union during the Stalinist purges of the late 1930s. It centers on the character of Rubashov, a former high-ranking Communist Party official who has been arrested and imprisoned for crimes against the state. Throughout the novel, Rubashov is subjected to various forms of psychological torture and interrogation as he struggles to maintain his integrity and hold on to his beliefs in the face of overwhelming pressure from his interrogators.
One of the key themes of the novel is the tension between individual conscience and the demands of the state. Rubashov, like many of the other characters in the novel, is a true believer in the ideals of communism, but he is forced to confront the reality of the corrupt and oppressive regime that has taken over the country. As he grapples with his own personal dilemma, he must also confront the fact that his own actions have contributed to the suffering of others.
Another important theme of the novel is the idea of the “show trial,” in which individuals are falsely accused and convicted of crimes in order to maintain the appearance of justice and to reinforce the government’s power. Through the character of Rubashov, Koestler illustrates the devastating effects of such trials on the individuals involved and on society as a whole.
Overall, Darkness at Noon is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that serves as a warning about the dangers of totalitarianism and the need for individuals to maintain their integrity and stand up for their beliefs. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the Soviet Union and the consequences of government-controlled thought.
So far, I’d say it’s a pretty impressive system, but don’t think I’d want to trust it at this point for anything important. While it’s true that the responses are generally more on-point and understandable than Google Search, the price you pay for that is that you only get one answer, so you can miss important perspectives…and sometimes, it’s just wrong, as the example of the automated elevators makes clear. (At one point, it confused Erich Maria Remarque with Ernst Junger)
GPT Chat is only one application of GPT-3…it is available as an API (an application programming interface), and is being imbedded into a wide range of applications. One interesting application that was mentioned at Twitter:
I mentor a young lad with poor literacy skills who is starting a landscaping business. He struggles to communicate with clients in a professional manner. I created a GPT3-powered Gmail account to which he sends a message. It responds with the text to send to the client.
It turned””Sally I am starts works at yours monday from dave”
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to let you know that I will be starting work with you on Monday. I am really looking forward to getting started.
If you have any questions or need any help with anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Another guy said he used ChatGPT to help with writing code, and that he’d easily pay $1k/month for it, and probably more. He mentioned a 2X productivity improvement, though I think this was ChatGPT in conjunction with some other tool.
My sense is that this technology is going to indeed be quite significant, though maybe not to the level or with the timing that some advocates are expecting. And, of course, there are some dangers. Here’s Marc Andreessen:
The level of censorship pressure that’s coming for AI and the resulting backlash will define the next century of civilization. Search and social media were the opening skirmishes. This is the big one. World War Orwell.
Who is OpenAI? OpenAI LLP is a for-profit corporation whose parent is the non-profit OpenAI Inc…it is considered a competitor of Alphabet’s Deepmind. Founders of OpenAI were Elon Musk and Sam Altman. Musk resigned his board seat in 2018, citing potential conflicts of interest re self-driving cars. Investors include Microsoft.