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Scientists Created Something Beyond Their Control

News and concerns about Artificial Intelligence systems like ChatGPT, Google Gemini, and Bing AI Chat are all over the media. These systems are an unprecedented technological breakthrough and the consequences still unknown. What's amazing is that even the creators of these systems have no idea how they work.

NYU professor and AI scientist Sam Bowman has spent years building and assessing systems like ChatGPT. He admits he and other AI scientists are mystified:

If we open up ChatGPT or a system like it and look inside, you just see millions of numbers flipping around a few hundred times a second, and we just have no idea what any of it means. With only the tiniest of exceptions, we can’t look inside these things and say, “Oh, here’s what concepts it’s using, here’s what kind of rules of reasoning it’s using. Here’s what it does and doesn’t know in any deep way.” We just don’t understand what’s going on here. We built it, we trained it, but we don’t know what it’s doing.

Bowman is concerned about AI's unpredictability:

We’ve got something that’s not really meaningfully regulated and that is more or less useful for a huge range of valuable tasks. We’ve got increasingly clear evidence that this technology is improving very quickly in directions that seem like they’re aimed at some very, very important stuff and potentially destabilizing to a lot of important institutions. But we don’t know how fast it’s moving. We don’t know why it’s working when it’s working.

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