Last week I had some fun with the new AI chatbot ChatGPT from OpenAI, using it to write poems, marketing blurbs and other things about The E-Sylum.
Gosia Fort writes:
"I loved your report on ChatGPT's work this week. Your light piece was a perfect juxtaposition to the discussion we had at work this weekend over the article from The Atlantic, which sees ChatGPT as the end of the college essay, and it is rather gloomy. It proposes a doomsday scenario of the college education future.
"It was fun to read! Thank you."
Ken Spindler asked:
"Please report to your audience exactly how long the AI program or software or whatever you accessed took to compose those astonishing and worrisome poems."
"The Chatbot takes a second or two to think sometimes, but that's it. The results come back blindingly fast. It's only a tool and makes lots of mistakes, but it's a great new tool. That marketing blurb is so good I'll start using it verbatim."
John Phipps writes:
"After reading, OH E-SYLUM, NUMISMATIC HIVE, and the three poems by ChatGPT, I am wondering if ChatGPT should be eligible for membership in the Numismatic Poets Society?"
"Well, robots are people, too, I guess. But someone has to nominate them, correct? What is the process? I can pick one and enter it if people agree it should be eligible. It may warrant a new category."
Here's John's reply.
Well, Wayne, here is the brief history and membership requirements of the NPS.
The Numismatic Poets Society was started in 2012. A lifetime membership is available to any poet that writes and submits an original numismatic related poem and agrees to let it be distributed to all members. Membership is currently at 10 poets.
I guess the NPS would need a new membership category for ChatGPT. The membership number in this new category should be a base-2 number system. So member #11 would be 1011 in base-2.
I would pass over the Shakespeare attempts and nominate ChatGPT's first effort. In my role as Editor, I added italics to our publication name.
The E-Sylum, a place of knowledge and light,
A treasure trove of numismatic insight.
Here, collectors gather from far and wide,
To share their stories and their passion with pride.
With every issue, a new world to explore,
Filled with fascinating facts and stories galore.
From ancient coins to modern mints,
The E-Sylum covers all that's relevant.
For those who love the art of the coin,
The E-Sylum is the perfect join.
A community of like-minded individuals,
Coming together to learn and share, it's all so critical.
So here's to The E-Sylum, a source of education and fun,
A place where numismatists can come together as one.
Long may it continue to grow and thrive,
A hub of information and community, alive.
Len Augsbuger wrote, "I tried this – 'Where were the Continental dollars struck?"
The Continental dollars were struck at a number of different locations, including Philadelphia, New York, and various other cities throughout the United States. The Continental Congress authorized the production of the Continental dollars in 1776, and they were intended to serve as a national currency for the newly independent United States. However, the coins were never widely adopted and were largely replaced by other forms of currency within a few years of their issuance. Today, Continental dollars are highly prized by collectors due to their historical significance and rarity.
"Quite a few problems here! Oh well, it was worth a try."
The great singer and commentator Tom Lehrer once said, "Life is like a sewer - what you get out if it depends on what you put into it." Many would agree that the internet is indeed a sewer of falsehoods. Garbage in, garbage out, Remember, as good as the output can sometimes be, it's only a clever parrot. There is no definitive evidence published on the origin of the Continental dollars, and even if there were it would be overwhelmed by the quantity of speculation and often conflicting evidence and opinion published to date. The system uses statistical models to mimic human-generated prose based on the relative occurrence and positioning of words in the training data.
It did a masterly job on the marketing blurb for The E-Sylum, and like I said we'll probably start using it. Len knew what he was doing, but I pity the fool who takes ChatGPT's words for facts. Or coin buyers who absorb lot descriptions not realizing they were written by a chatbot.
If you're interacting with ChatGPT, you can help train it. There are "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" icons shown with each result. When I asked "Who designed the Fugio Cent?", I got this initial result.
The Fugio Cent, also known as the "Fugio Penny," was designed by Benjamin Franklin. It was the first official one-cent coin issued by the United States government, and it was produced in 1787. The coin depicts a sundial on one side with the motto "FUGIO" (Latin for "I flee"), which was intended to remind people of the fleeting nature of time and the importance of making the most of it. On the other side, the coin bears the inscription "MIND YOUR BUSINESS," which was meant to encourage people to focus on their own affairs rather than those of others. The Fugio Cent was produced until 1789, when it was replaced by the one-cent coin featuring Lady Liberty that is still in circulation today.
I counted at least four things wrong with this response, and gave it a thumbs down. The system prompted for "What would the ideal answer have been?" Here's what I told it, taking cues from our recent discussion about Wikipedia.
The Fugio Cent, also known as the "Franklin Cent" was by some accounts designed by Benjamin Franklin. It was the first official one-cent coin issued by the United States government, and it was produced in 1787. The coin depicts a sundial on one side with the motto "FUGIO" (Latin for "I flee"), which was intended to remind people of the fleeting nature of time and the importance of making the most of it. On the other side, the coin bears the inscription "MIND YOUR BUSINESS," which was meant to encourage people to focus on their own affairs rather than those of others.
So, to paraphrase the takeaway from our Wikipedia discussion, "If you see something that's wrong in ChatGPT, TRAIN IT !!!" But we must still work on the "garbage in" part, and continue to correct numismatic mistakes on high-profile internet sites like Wikipedia, since this is where ChatGPT picks up its basic content. Maybe a future version will give higher weight to the words it finds on the recently improved Wikipedia page.
This article by Erik Hoel is a great summary of what's good and bad about the technology.
Despite being the culmination of a century-long dream, no better word describes the much-discussed output of OpenAI's ChatGPT than the colloquial
I understand that this may be seen as downplaying its achievement. As those who've been paying attention to this space can attest, ChatGPT is by far the most impressive AI the public has had access to. It can basically pass the Turing test—conversationally, it acts much like a human. These new changes are from it having been given a lot of feedback and tutoring by humans themselves. ChatGPT was created by taking the original GPT-3 model and fine-tuning it on human ratings of its responses, e.g., OpenAI had humans interact with GPT-3, its base model, then rate how satisfied they were with the answer. ChatGPT's connections were then shifted to give more weight to the ones that were important for producing human-pleasing answers.
All to say: ChatGPT is impressive because it passes what we care about when it comes to the Turing test. And anyone who has spent time with ChatGPT feels intuitively that a milestone has been passed—if not the letter of Turing's test, its spirit has certainly been conquered.
A century-long dream. . .
Yet my reaction is one of disappointment. Just as Hannah Arendt reckoned with
the banality of evil so we must reckon with
the banality of AI. For when talking to ChatGPT I was undeniably, completely, unchangeably, bored.
To read the complete article, see:
The banality of ChatGPT
For more background on OpenAI and its founders (subscription required), see:
ChatGPT Creator OpenAI Pushes New Strategy to Gain Artificial Intelligence Edge
To read the complete Atlantic article (subscription required), see:
The College Essay Is Dead
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NUMISMATIC POETS SOCIETY AWARD
RESPONSE TO THE "FRANKLIN CENT" ARTICLE
OH E-SYLUM, NUMISMATIC HIVE
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2021 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster