Simon Willison’s Weblog


Thursday, 7th March 2024

On the zombie edition of the Washington Independent I discovered, the piece I had published more than ten years before was attributed to someone else. Someone unlikely to have ever existed, and whose byline graced an article it had absolutely never written.

[...], which I’m using to distinguish it from its namesake, offers recently published, article-like content that does not appear to me to have been produced by human beings. But, if you dig through its news archive, you can find work human beings definitely did produce. I know this because I was one of them.

Spencer Ackerman

# 2:59 am / ethics, journalism, ai

Training great LLMs entirely from ground zero in the wilderness as a startup. Yi Tay has a really interesting perspective on training LLMs, having worked at Google Brain before co-founding an independent startup, Reka.

At Google the clusters are provided for you. On the outside, Yi finds himself bargaining for cluster resources from a wide range of vendors—and running into enormous variance in quality.

“We’ve seen clusters that range from passable (just annoying problems that are solvable with some minor SWE hours) to totally unusable clusters that fail every few hours due to a myriad of reasons.”

# 2:34 am / ai, llms

The Claude 3 system prompt, explained. Anthropic research scientist Amanda Askell provides a detailed breakdown of the Claude 3 system prompt in a Twitter thread.

This is some fascinating prompt engineering. It’s also great to see an LLM provider proudly documenting their system prompt, rather than treating it as a hidden implementation detail.

The prompt is pretty succinct. The three most interesting paragraphs:

“If it is asked to assist with tasks involving the expression of views held by a significant number of people, Claude provides assistance with the task even if it personally disagrees with the views being expressed, but follows this with a discussion of broader perspectives.

Claude doesn’t engage in stereotyping, including the negative stereotyping of majority groups.

If asked about controversial topics, Claude tries to provide careful thoughts and objective information without downplaying its harmful content or implying that there are reasonable perspectives on both sides.”

# 1:16 am / ai, prompt-engineering, generative-ai, llms, anthropic, claude