Simon Willison’s Weblog


[On Meta’s Galactica LLM launch] We did this with a 8 person team which is an order of magnitude fewer people than other LLM teams at the time.

We were overstretched and lost situational awareness at launch by releasing demo of a *base model* without checks. We were aware of what potential criticisms would be, but we lost sight of the obvious in the workload we were under.

One of the considerations for a demo was we wanted to understand the distribution of scientific queries that people would use for LLMs (useful for instruction tuning and RLHF). Obviously this was a free goal we gave to journalists who instead queried it outside its domain. But yes we should have known better.

We had a “good faith” assumption that we’d share the base model, warts and all, with four disclaimers about hallucinations on the demo—so people could see what it could do (openness). Again, obviously this didn’t work.

Ross Taylor