On Reddit, a user asked “How does this user post so many large, deep posts so rapidly?”
While the post was then deleted, the user was asking out of curiosity, about how could a user write long answers to deep and difficult questions on /r/AskReddit so quickly.
Having only registered on September 26, 2020, the user in question that goes with the name thegentlemetre, managed to get more than a thousand karma points from hundreds of its posts in a brief of time.
How is that possible?
It was then realized that thegentlemetre is actually a bot, created from OpenAI’s GPT-3.
The artificial intelligent agent has been posing as a human on Reddit for more than a week. Some Reddit users certainly suspected it was a bot, but no one confirmed it was GPT-3 until that long.
Read: Technology And Artificial Intelligence, And Where They Fall Short
The users’ knowledge about many topics, the way the posts were written, and the inhuman speed in which the user was posting, caught the attention of Philip Winston, a writer.
“I read through some of the posts and they reminded me of text I’d seen from OpenAI‘s language model GPT-3,” wrote Winston in a blog post.
“GPT-3 is not an AI entity or an agent, it has no reason or logic or memory. Instead it’s basically autocomplete on steroids, but it does not just guess the word you are typing, it will write paragraphs upon paragraphs of what might plausibly come next after any ‘prompt’ that you give it.”
The AI has been “allowed to operate unfettered” on Reddit, to post once per minute for at least seven days, Winston said in a post.
Winston shared his theory through a post on the subreddit /r/GPT3.
It was another Redditor named Wiskkey that shone some light into the situation. He saw that the structure of this thegentlemetre’s writing, was similar to that used by the Philosopher AI, a controversial text-generator powered by GPT-3.
Wiskkey contacted the app’s developer, Murat Ayfer, and asked about the issue. Ayler later confirmed that the posts were indeed created by the Philosopher AI.
Ayfer suspected that the bot was automatically generating posts from his app.
“The bot detection seems to be broken,” he said. “Fixing immediately.”
Soon after, the thegentlemetre made no further posts, as Ayfer appeared to have resolved the issue. But the hundreds of answers the AI made, remains on Reddit, showing a glimpse of this AI’s capabilities when let loose on the internet.
At the same time, a week on the run was enough to show the dangers of GPT-3, or other AI text-generators in general.
Many of the bot’s answers and responses were harmless and somewhat amusing, like its popular post about a “colony of humans living in the shafts and elevator machinery at the bottom of buildings”, which is the top most popular post.
But others promoted conspiracy theories and discussed extremely sensitive topics.
For example, in a post about that suicides, the bot’s reply managed to create an emotional exchange between an AI and a human on a website with 430 million active users.
Furthermore, the AI is lying.
This thegentlemetre is a bot, a computer program made smart using artificial intelligence.
What this means, it does not have parents, and does not have teachers that it said were “fantastic”. It never had friends because it never went to school or college.
As a bot, never in its life it experienced emotional breakdown, meaning that it never felt suicidal.
There have been many occasions in the past that AIs posed as humans on forums and social media. But this GPT-3 is one of the most sophisticated that have ever happened.
As AI text-generators improve, their ability to manipulate and deceive people can certainly grow.
With speed and increased accuracy, future impostors may as well be AIs and not anymore humans. To some people, they may see thins as a terrible implication into how the future digital world would be.
Further reading: Paving The Roads To Artificial Intelligence: It’s Either Us, Or Them