In 2022, artificial-intelligence firms produced an overwhelming spectacle, a rolling carnival of new demonstrations. Curious people outside the tech industry could line up to interact with a variety of alluring and mysterious machine interfaces, and what they saw was dazzling.
The first major attraction was the image generators, which converted written commands into images, including illustrations mimicking specific styles, photorealistic renderings of described scenarios, as well as objects, characters, textures, or moods. Similar generators for video, music, and 3-D models are in development, and demos trickled out.
Soon, millions of people encountered ChatGPT, a conversational bot built on top of a large language model. It was by far the most convincing chatbot ever released to the public. It felt, in some contexts, and especially upon first contact, as though it could actually participate in something like conversation. What many users suggested felt truly magical, however, were the hints at the underlying model's broader capabilities. You could ask it to explain things to you, and it would try — with confident and frequently persuasive results. You could ask it to write things for you — silly things, serious things, things that you might pass off as work product or school assignments — and it would.
From The New Yorker
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