This is Work in Progress, a newsletter by Derek Thompson about work, technology, and how to solve some of America’s biggest problems.
Artificial-intelligence news in 2023 has moved so quickly that I’m experiencing a kind of narrative vertigo. Just weeks ago, ChatGPT seemed like a minor miracle. Soon, however, enthusiasm curdled into skepticism—maybe it was just a fancy auto-complete tool that couldn’t stop making stuff up. In early February, Microsoft’s announcement that it had acquired OpenAI sent the stock soaring by $100 billion. Days later, journalists revealed that this partnership had given birth to a demon-child chatbot that seemed to threaten violence against writers and requested that they dump their wives.