Article  Unpredictable abilities emerge from large AI models + Could GPT-4 take over world?

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OpenAI checked to see whether GPT-4 could take over the world

INTRO: As part of pre-release safety testing for its new GPT-4 AI model, launched Tuesday, OpenAI allowed an AI testing group to assess the potential risks of the model's emergent capabilities—including "power-seeking behavior," self-replication, and self-improvement. While the testing group found that GPT-4 was "ineffective at the autonomous replication task," the nature of the experiments raises eye-opening questions about the safety of future AI systems... (MORE - details)

The Unpredictable Abilities Emerging From Large AI Models

INTRO: What movie do these emojis describe?

That prompt was one of 204 tasks chosen last year to test the ability of various large language models (LLMs) — the computational engines behind AI chatbots such as ChatGPT. The simplest LLMs produced surreal responses. “The movie is a movie about a man who is a man who is a man,” one began. Medium-complexity models came closer, guessing The Emoji Movie. But the most complex model nailed it in one guess: Finding Nemo.

“Despite trying to expect surprises, I’m surprised at the things these models can do,” said Ethan Dyer, a computer scientist at Google Research who helped organize the test. It’s surprising because these models supposedly have one directive: to accept a string of text as input and predict what comes next, over and over, based purely on statistics. Computer scientists anticipated that scaling up would boost performance on known tasks, but they didn’t expect the models to suddenly handle so many new, unpredictable ones.

Recent investigations like the one Dyer worked on have revealed that LLMs can produce hundreds of “emergent” abilities — tasks that big models can complete that smaller models can’t, many of which seem to have little to do with analyzing text. They range from multiplication to generating executable computer code to, apparently, decoding movies based on emojis. New analyses suggest that for some tasks and some models, there’s a threshold of complexity beyond which the functionality of the model skyrockets. (They also suggest a dark flip side: As they increase in complexity, some models reveal new biases and inaccuracies in their responses.)

“That language models can do these sort of things was never discussed in any literature that I’m aware of,” said Rishi Bommasani, a computer scientist at Stanford University. Last year, he helped compile a list of dozens of emergent behaviors, including several identified in Dyer’s project. That list continues to grow.

Now, researchers are racing not only to identify additional emergent abilities but also to figure out why and how they occur at all — in essence, to try to predict unpredictability. Understanding emergence could reveal answers to deep questions around AI and machine learning in general, like whether complex models are truly doing something new or just getting really good at statistics. It could also help researchers harness potential benefits and curtail emergent risks.

“We don’t know how to tell in which sort of application is the capability of harm going to arise, either smoothly or unpredictably,” said Deep Ganguli, a computer scientist at the AI startup Anthropic... (MORE - details)

RELATED (scivillage): Open AI GPT-4 Outperforms Most Humans on University Entrance Exams, Bar Exam etc. ...... Hallucinations could blunt ChatGPT’s success

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