New AI systems such as ChatGPT, the overhauled Microsoft Bing search engine, and the reportedly soon-to-arrive GPT-4 have utterly captured the public imagination. ChatGPT is the fastest-growing online application, ever, and it’s no wonder why. Type in some text, and instead of getting back web links, you get well-formed, conversational responses on whatever topic you selected—an undeniably seductive vision.
But the public, and the tech giants, aren’t the only ones who have become enthralled with the Big Data–driven technology known as the large language model. Bad actors have taken note of the technology as well. At the extreme end, there’s Andrew Torba, the CEO of the far-right social network Gab, who said recently that his company is actively developing AI tools to “uphold a Christian worldview” and fight “the censorship tools of the Regime.” But even users who aren’t motivated by ideology will have their impact. Clarkesworld, a publisher of sci-fi short stories, temporarily stopped taking submissions last month, because it was being spammed by AI-generated stories—the result of influencers promoting ways to use the technology to “get rich quick,” the magazine’s editor told The Guardian.