OpenAI unleashes GPT-4. March’s biggest AI story was the launch of OpenAI’s GPT-4. The company’s latest large language model, which powers products like ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing, is the smartest version of the tech so far, capable of acing the SAT math section and the Uniform Bar Exam. It’s also smart enough to code up an actual functioning website from a photo of a hastily drawn pencil sketch on a piece of paper, and it can suggest recipes simply by looking at a photo of ingredients in your fridge.
GPT-4’s launch came during the noisiest week in AI, sandwiched between Google’s announcement of putting generative AI capabilities into Google Docs, Sheets, and Gmail, and Microsoft’s announcement of Microsoft 365 Copilot, which will infuse Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint with ChatGPT-style abilities.
Some experts are concerned about the relentless pace of AI development, calling it a “circus” and telling BuzzFeed News that they were worried that “move fast and break things” — a one time Facebook motto — was in vogue in Silicon Valley again.
Petitioners call for a pause in AI development. It wasn’t just a handful of experts who were concerned, however. More than 1,000 AI experts and leaders in the field, including Elon Musk, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, and Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque signed a petition asking for companies to pause the development of AI systems for at least six months.
“Recent months have seen AI labs locked in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one — not even their creators — can understand, predict, or reliably control,” reads the letter, which was published on the website of the Future of Life Institute, a nonprofit that aims to minimize tech’s societal risks.
However, it soon emerged that some of the names attached to the letter, such as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, had never signed it to begin with.
An AI Pope image broke the internet. The guy who created the fake image of Pope Francis wearing a white puffer jacket using Midjourney, a generative AI tool, told BuzzFeed News he was tripping on shrooms when he came up with the idea. The photograph, which fooled loads of people who mistook it for being real, showed the potential of generative AI to create havoc and spread misinformation.
The AI funding fad has begun. Silicon Valley is reeling from layoffs, but AI startups are raking in the dollars. Character.AI, a service that lets people create their own chatbots of famous personalities like Joe Biden and Super Mario, raised $150 million from top VC firm Andreessen Horowitz at a valuation of $1 billion. Another AI startup called Adept raised $350 million from investors, including General Catalyst and Spark Capital. And days later, Perplexity AI, an AI-powered search engine based in San Francisco, said that it had raised $25.6 million from New Enterprise Associates. Among the people who back Perplexity are a host of former AI researchers at Google, as well as Yann LeCun, Meta’s chief AI scientist.
Bing’s AI-based chatbot is getting more ads. How do you make money if you shake up a search engine with AI? Microsoft is trying to find out. The company said in a blog post that it is “exploring placing ads in the chat experience.” What they will look like isn’t entirely clear yet, but at least one user got a glimpse when the Bing chatbot sneaked in a sponsored citation into a search result for the cheapest Honda.