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In a world where global warming is turning up the heat, prehistoric viruses are thawing out, and geopolitical conflicts are ever more explosive, one might wonder if Skynet, the sinister AI from the Terminator series, is our next big concern.

Well, ChatGPT just aced the Turing test with unnerving ease, potentially inching us closer to our most dystopian fears. The Turing test, devised by British mathematical genius Alan Turing in 1950, was intended to see if a machine could engage in conversation indistinguishably from a human. Passing this test was always seen as a benchmark for true AI intelligence. So, should we finally be shaking in our boots?

Who Was Alan Turing and What Is the Turing Test?

Alan Turing, a name synonymous with the dawn of computer science, was a brilliant mathematician whose work during World War II and his subsequent contributions laid the foundations for modern computing and artificial intelligence. During the war, Turing was instrumental in breaking the German Enigma code, a feat that significantly contributed to the Allied victory. His work at Bletchley Park, the British codebreaking center, saved countless lives by providing critical actionable intelligence that helped defeat the Nazis.

Despite his wartime heroics, Turing’s post-war life was tragically cut short. In 1952, he was prosecuted for homosexual acts, which were illegal in the UK at the time. Subjected to chemical castration as an alternative to prison, Turing’s life took a dark turn. He was stripped of his security clearance and professional standing, leading to his untimely death in 1954, which was ruled a suicide.

Despite his miserable end, Turing’s legacy lives on. His pioneering work on the concepts of algorithms and computation laid the groundwork for the digital revolution. The Turing test, proposed in his seminal 1950 paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” remains a key challenge in the field of artificial intelligence, pushing researchers to develop machines that can think and converse like humans.

ChatGPT’s Remarkable Achievement

So, here we are, living in a world where GPT-4 has just strutted through the Turing test with the confidence of a cat walking into a room full of rocking chairs. OpenAI’s creation didn’t just pass; it practically moonwalked its way to success. Imagine this: in a study involving 500 participants, each engaged in five-minute text conversations, GPT-4 managed to convince people that they were chatting with a fellow human a whopping 54% of the time. This is not just a leap; it’s a quantum leap from GPT-3.5’s respectable but less dazzling 50% success rate and an absolute knockout compared to the 22% achieved by the archaic ELIZA program.

I can only speculate how OpenAI’s newer CHatGPT4o, or the (with godlike powers rumored) ChatGPT5 will score.

This leap is not just impressive; it’s staggering. GPT-4’s ability to understand context, generate responses that are not just coherent but eerily human-like, and maintain the flow of a conversation, showcases an advancement in AI capabilities that seemed like science fiction not too long ago. It’s as if AI decided to redefine the playing field, setting a new bar for what it can achieve.

This kind of contextual “understanding”  and response generation is a testament to the sophistication of the newer LLM’s architectures. It gives them the ability to mimic -conversation-wise- a real human. Let’s not kid each other: I had less meaningful conversations lately with some people at a bar, than with CHatGPT4o. I do not know if that pities some humans, or gives too much credit to the positronic brains. But it is, from a human-centric perspective, and from an ethical point of view deeply disturbing.

The Broader Implications

While this achievement is technically impressive, it raises a plethora of ethical and socio-economic questions. On the bright side, AI’s increasing human-like interaction capabilities could revolutionize fields like healthcare and elderly support. Imagine AI-powered companions providing round-the-clock care and conversation to the elderly, helping to combat loneliness and ensuring constant monitoring for health issues. Similarly, AI could be a boon in mental health support, offering a non-judgmental ear and immediate responses to those in need.

However, the flip side is far less rosy. If AI can convincingly pose as humans (by the way: who decided that this human-posing was a good idea?), it could exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation, as people might increasingly turn to stone cold machines for interaction, neglecting human connections. This shift could have a detrimental impact on social skills, particularly among younger generations who are still developing these crucial abilities. The lines between human and machine interactions might blur, leading to potential identity and trust issues. My good friend John. C. Havens has been on the barricades warning us, and pointing at the snake den that human-posing AI might have on human well-being. Why does ChatGPT refers to itself as “I”? That is a question that should keep yu awake at night…

Given these challenges, the need for ethical AI development is more pressing than ever. Implementing the IEEE’s “Ethics by Design” approach (with John C Havens at the ethical steering wheel), which ensures that ethical considerations are embedded into the AI development process from the outset, is crucial. This framework can help mitigate risks by focusing on transparency, accountability, and fairness in AI systems, ensuring they benefit society without causing harm, and without jeopardizing well-being​.

Other Leading LLMs and Their Performance

Beyond ChatGPT, the world of large language models (LLMs) is bustling with innovation. Google’s PaLM 2 is making waves with its exceptional commonsense reasoning and multilingual prowess, often outperforming GPT-4 in specific reasoning tasks.

Anthropic’s Claude, designed to be helpful and honest (this epitheton ornans is scary!) , closely rivals GPT-4 in various benchmarks and offers an impressive 100k token context window, allowing for lengthy and coherent conversations​​.

Meanwhile, the Technology Innovation Institute’s Falcon 180B shines in reasoning and coding tasks, proving that more parameters can indeed mean better performance. Stability AI’s Stable LM 2 stands out for its efficiency, holding its own against larger models despite having fewer parameters. Meta’s Llama 3 continues to push boundaries with its robust performance in reasoning and coding, adding to the vibrant competition in the AI landscape. And let’s not forget Mistral, the French entry into the race, which has been turning heads with its impressive performance and innovative approach to sparse model architecture. And, soon, there will be Apple showing us how far the warped over the meager Siri experiences with their new AI vehicles… ​

Looking Ahead: The Impact of Multiple Model AI

As we peer into the future, the impact of multiple model AI looms large. Unlike a single monolithic AI system, multiple model AI leverages the strengths of various specialized models to create a more robust and versatile AI ecosystem. This approach is akin to having a team of experts rather than a lone genius, each model contributing its unique capabilities to solve complex problems more effectively. Input beyond text, including pictures, sound, data streams from IOT devices, video streams, etc. will make these systems extremely “knowledgeable”.

Multiple model AI can significantly enhance accuracy, efficiency, and adaptability. For instance, in healthcare, different models can specialize in diagnosing diseases, predicting patient outcomes, and recommending treatments, all working together to provide comprehensive care. In education, AI models can cater to different learning styles and subjects, offering personalized tutoring that adapts to each student’s needs.

The potential of multiple model AI extends to every facet of our lives, promising innovations we can scarcely imagine. However, this also brings new challenges in managing and integrating these models, ensuring they work seamlessly together while adhering to ethical standards. OpenAI’s “Figure One” is a prime example of this evolving landscape, showcasing how multiple models can be combined to perform a wide array of tasks, each enhancing the overall system’s capabilities.

In the end, whether we are facing the dawn of a new era of AI-driven utopia or a step closer to our sci-fi nightmares depends on how we navigate these advancements. As with all technology, the good or bad will be determined by how we humans will put it to use. Or did we overplay our hand this time by creating something that evolves beyond control, feeding on our very own data? Let’s hope time will tell.

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