2️⃣ AI Ethics with Lauren
When a development of this scale launches, how does our conception of AGI change?
No doubt about it, Gato is a huge step for advancing AGI. I want to push back on two small language-focused points, the first being that the model “understands” things. I think the word ‘understanding’ is still too specific to human-level mental faculties to ascribe it to AI, even for something as groundbreaking as Gato. I would describe it more as being able to apply context better than anything we’ve seen previously. This context is so important for mimicking human intelligence, and there are two ways that Gato really exceeds in this regard. The first way is the flexibility Gato exhibits by using the same network and weights for all 604 tasks. The second is the limitation of context, using only 1.2 billion parameters versus GPT-3’s 175 billion. The difference here is astounding, and shows that the most impressive aspects of this are the fact that it’s becoming less and less brittle.
The second language-focused point is that Gato is “the perfect generalist”. Perhaps a better way to describe it would be that it’s the closest thing we have to a generalist by a long shot, but there’s still a ways to go until we get to the perfect generalist. This is the classic AI problem - the more AI can do, the more we no longer consider those things AI. What makes Gato so innovative in an ethical sense is that we’re being forced to rethink what general intelligence is, and what it means for AI to take the next step toward human level intelligence.
Why do I care about language so much if we’re talking about ethics? I want to reinforce a point made in this blog post by the American Philosophical Association, which is that we lack the proper vocabulary to be able to describe the phenomena we’re seeing in AI. This language use is important for understanding and advancing ethical discussions. Gato is giving us a wake-up call that AGI is coming faster than we expected, evidenced by many groups moving up their date estimates for when we will achieve AGI. Gato exposes this need for sharpened ethical language, and my best advice would be to double down on efforts to understand what general intelligence is, what it will mean for us to have created AGI, and what kind of relationship humans and society will form with it. I’m excited for the conversations to come from this advancement!
- AI Ethics segment by Lauren Keegan