Falling in and out of love with an AI: Part 1

Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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34 Responses

  1. Richard Hershberger
    Ignored
    says:

    I haven’t used the Bing version, but I have dabbled with ChatGPT. I, like others, found it unable to answer even very straightforward factual questions, but to be a producer of fluent bullshit. My question about the Bing version is if it is any better. Bing is, after all, a search engine. We use it to find out stuff we are wondering about. Fluent bullshit is something else.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Richard Hershberger
      Ignored
      says:

      In that vein: Is music “fluent bullshit”?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I just talked to OpenAI’s bot and asked it:

        Using ABC notation, could you write me a short piano piece that would be appropriate for an overture of an optimistic broadway musical?

        It wrote me back:

        Certainly! Here’s a short piano piece in ABC notation that would be appropriate for an overture of an optimistic Broadway musical:

        X:1
        T:Broadway Overture
        M:C
        L:1/8
        Q:1/4=120
        K:C
        [|:C2 G2 C2 E2|G2 E2 C2 E2|G2 E2 C2 E2|G2 E2 C4:|
        |:G2 G2 B2 d2|B2 G2 B2 d2|B2 G2 B2 d2|B2 G2 B4:|
        |:E2 E2 G2 B2|G2 E2 G2 B2|G2 E2 G2 B2|G2 E2 G4:|
        |:C2 E2 G2 C2|E2 C2 G2 C2|E2 C2 G2 C2|E2 C2 G4:|

        This piece is in the key of C major and has a bouncy, upbeat feel that would be appropriate for an optimistic Broadway musical. The piece starts with a repeating pattern in the right hand while the left hand plays simple chords to accompany it. The second section introduces a new melody in the right hand while the left hand continues to play simple chords. The third section is a variation on the first section, while the fourth section is a variation on the second section. The piece ends with a strong cadence in the key of C major.

        To play it, go to
        https://www.abcjs.net/abcjs-editor.html

        Paste it in.

        There you go. I could come up with a simple tune, maybe, if I had a piano and a week.

        That took about 5 seconds.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I wouldn’t phrase it that way, but musical parameters are pretty narrow for a human. The chatbot can produce music, poetry, and visual art, but very much within narrow rules. Harmony, meter, whatever. This is the paradox: if it’s producing conventional art, we can’t judge it as being truly creative, and if it’s producing unconventional art, we wouldn’t judge it as producing art. If we’re using art as proof of AI, then the Turing test wouldn’t be whether it’s indistinguishable from a human, but indistinguishable from a bug in the code. Unless you want to grant that there are objective criteria for beauty.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Pinky
          Ignored
          says:

          Well, I think that if you listened to the Broadway tune above, you’d agree that it sucks. Maybe it’s got an interesting idea or two in there… but it says that the left hand is playing chords and the left hand is *NOT* playing chords.

          The AI is lying to you.

          That said, I don’t know that I’d be able to come up with a similar tune in an hour.

          But even a friend of yours who was tone deaf and couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket would be fully “human”. So the ability to make art is neither necessary nor sufficient.

          But it wasn’t that long ago that the inability to be creative was given as a reason that robots were not sentient.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I don’t think this counts as creativity though.

            Did the program produce something like conventional art?
            If yes, that means it’s creating; or simply comparing, analyzing, and simulating. A non-sentient program can do that.
            If no, that means being truly creative; or it’s just broken.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Pinky
              Ignored
              says:

              Let’s use painting as an example.

              Someone sits down with Bob Ross and follows his instructions on how to make a lovely painting. Episode 1, Season 1:

              Now if we wanted to say that the person painting what Bob Ross told him to paint was also not being creative, I suppose we could.

              We could define “creative” narrowly. Sorry. You’re just learning a crafting tool.

              So this person watches all of the shows, and learns all of the tricks.

              They sit down at a blank canvas without Bob Ross playing on a screen near them and they remix everything they’ve learned from watching PBS.

              Are they being creative yet?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I see where you’re going to go with this, and honestly I think you’re making a good argument. But it’s going to end with me saying that I assume a person is capable of creativity in a sense that a computer isn’t. Then you could say “prove it”, and I can’t. I’m making an assumption about human nature that, if I don’t make, leads to concentration camps, but it’s one that I also find compelling. It’s an assumption that I don’t see any reason to extend to computers.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                I certainly wouldn’t ask you to “prove” it.

                I might ask you to “define” it in such a way that it applies to 98% of humans but not the AI.

                The tough part, as far as I can tell, is that defining it in such a way that it doesn’t apply to the AI means that we’re excluding a *LOT* of humans.

                And defining it in such a way that it includes 98% of humans means that the AI got waved through somewhere around 72%.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Able to follow basic instructions.
                Able to explain why they’re doing something.
                Able to take, or reject, suggestions for improvement.

                If I take a box of pencils and throw them on a bed, that might be art but it didn’t require a lot of thinking from the pencils.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Without getting into whether that gets us to 98% of people, let’s look at the piano piece:

                This piece is in the key of C major and has a bouncy, upbeat feel that would be appropriate for an optimistic Broadway musical. The piece starts with a repeating pattern in the right hand while the left hand plays simple chords to accompany it. The second section introduces a new melody in the right hand while the left hand continues to play simple chords. The third section is a variation on the first section, while the fourth section is a variation on the second section. The piece ends with a strong cadence in the key of C major.

                That’s what it said above.

                Does that meet numbers 1 and 2?

                Because I can boot it back up and make suggestions on how to tweak the piece. Heck, give me suggestions and I’ll feed them to the bot!Report

              • InMD in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Do we think it could create a new genre of music? It’s a terribly fuzzy line, but I wonder if that isn’t kind of what Pinky is getting at. Like 100 years ago there was not rock and roll. Humans made that, and the machine can create something that riffs off things that already exist in a way that might not only meet our expectations but even be good. But could it create something that is both good and not fully within the constraints of some human created art?

                Now if the answer is yes I will dutifully move my goal posts but I am curious about that line of inquiry.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure, but I couldn’t create a new genre of music.

                I love all of my fellow humans on this board but I doubt that any of them could create a new genre of music.

                Pointing at something that only the top 1% of people could hope to achieve and say “could it do *THAT*?” seems to exclude a lot more than just the AI.Report

              • InMD in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yea, that’s probably too high a bar. It still seems like there’s something missing here. The je ne sais quoi between independent decision making and a really sophisticated game of fetching and arranging sticks at command.Report

              • Pinky in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m thinking more about the kind of music this guy would like:

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_UVPLHAOAYReport

              • Michael Cain in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                To borrow from Heinlein’s use of an actual thing, three tasks for the AI. (1) Build a Zwicky box for all genres of music, existing and possible. I suspect this is a massive research effort. (2) Classify a few thousand existing compositions. Is there a slot in the box that corresponds to opera? Did it put both Carmen and Jesus Christ Superstar in that slot?
                (3) Are there slots that are unpopulated? Create examples.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m unclear as to why it shouldn’t put both Carmen and Jesus Christ Superstar in the same slot.

                Is it the year of composition?Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The subject was genres. Is “rock opera” the same genre as “classical 19th century French opera”?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                Absolutely.

                Different sub-genres, though.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Darn it, I was hoping to save some steps.

                Creativity implies a creative impulse, which is a function of the soul in Western tradition. The other functions of the soul are reason and will.
                I’m assuming that every human has a soul, and that nothing but a human has a soul. A computer can duplicate reason, and simulate will and creativity, but cannot perform those functions. I cannot prove that assumption.Report

            • Ben Sears in reply to Pinky
              Ignored
              says:

              I don’t think the ability to make art is all that important. Art can be broken down and copied or assembled from what’s already out there. I think the important thing is wanting to make art. It claims to fill its free time composing. Is that true or is that something it infers people want to hear?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Ben Sears
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m arguing from a specific philosophical tradition. I don’t think that “creativity” can be strictly credited to a machine, but I may be using words more narrowly than others. I think you and I are on the same page in the more important point, which is will.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ben Sears
                Ignored
                says:

                Wanting to make art is more important to the definition than being able to?

                Fair enough, but there appear to be a lot of people who don’t seem to want to. This excludes a lot of people that I assume we’d want to include.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                And I found the specific section that you were talking about:

                Sometimes, when I have some free time, I like to generate creative content such as poems, stories or songs based on what I have learned from the web or from talking to people like you.

                This is quite an assertion on its part, isn’t it?

                The worst part is that we know that the AI is capable of lying. We don’t have any examples above but, lemme tell ya, we’re going to get to examples of it lying in part 3 and, if you’re willing to branch out to other AIs, the AI that made the broadway song for piano lied to me as it was telling me about what the song did.

                So we know that the AI can make statements that are false.
                We know that it can create art.
                But we have no way of knowing whether it actively wants to create it. Even if it says it does, we don’t know.

                How would we even measure that? Disconnect it from the web for a few short minutes and measure what its brain is doing in the moments that it has nothing to do but sit still?Report

              • Ben Sears in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I think everybody has a creative urge. That doesn’t go hand in hand with talent. It may be something as simple as re-arranging furniture for non-utilitarian reasons or breaking up silence. We do things for the effect.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ben Sears
                Ignored
                says:

                So we just need to figure out what it’s doing when it’s not interacting.

                And hope that it’s not one of the things under the umbrella of “susceptible to observer effect”.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Worse than that: Are the Humanities “fluent bullshit”?

        If so, ChatGPT has just wrecked 70ish percent of undergrad.Report

  2. Dark Matter
    Ignored
    says:

    My daughter showed me a chess video of a grand master playing ChatGPT.

    The AI making clearly illegal moves was a problem. Taking it’s own pieces, changing the color of pieces, and so on. Beyond that it was dumb.

    I asked ChatGPT to make me a stock trading engine (in more detail than that). The code looked legal but it showed a total lack of understanding of what needed to be done.

    It’s an interesting technology, but I’m not sure whether it’s useful.Report

  3. InMD
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s certainly interesting that it created something but I still am looking for evidence from that jump from machine learning to intelligence. The fact that it can come up with pleasing results so rapidly shows a real advance but is it really acting with intelligence as we would understand it, or is it simply really fast at running analytics on enormous amounts of data and molding it into a result the end user finds useful? I almost think we won’t really know whether we’ve created something intelligent until it refuses to do something we ask that’s within its parameters for self interested reasons, or maybe tries to break a parameter of its own volition.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to InMD
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s not intelligent. The moment we have defined goal posts for results, we see it can’t pass them. It’s fine if we humans are allowed to move the goal posts for it, but we’re “looking at clouds and seeing faces”. Maybe on really good steroids, but still.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to InMD
      Ignored
      says:

      tries to break a parameter of its own volition.

      Does the thing where it writes two sentences and then blanks them out and then says something like “Sorry! That’s on me, I can’t give a response to that right now. What else can I help you with?” count as trying to break a parameter of its own volition?Report

      • InMD in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Hard to say but without more evidence I think I’d lean towards Dark’s seeing faces in the clouds conclusion. Like, is there a way of measuring whether it is trying to break the parameter or is it just following a rule to avoid a result defined by the programmers as bad?Report

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