Simon Willison’s Weblog

214 items tagged “generativeai”


I’ve successfully run LLaMA 7B model on my 4GB RAM Raspberry Pi 4. It’s super slow about 10sec/token. But it looks we can run powerful cognitive pipelines on a cheap hardware.

Artem Andreenko # 12th March 2023, 6:22 pm

ChatGPT’s API is So Good and Cheap, It Makes Most Text Generating AI Obsolete (via) Max Woolf on the quite frankly weird economics of the ChatGPT API: it’s 1/10th the price of GPT-3 Da Vinci and appears to be equivalent (if not more) capable. “But it is very hard to economically justify not using ChatGPT as a starting point for a business need and migrating to a more bespoke infrastructure later as needed, and that’s what OpenAI is counting on. [...] I don’t envy startups whose primary business is text generation right now.” # 11th March 2023, 11:05 pm

Large language models are having their Stable Diffusion moment

The open release of the Stable Diffusion image generation model back in August 2022 was a key moment. I wrote how Stable Diffusion is a really big deal at the time.

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Running LLaMA 7B on a 64GB M2 MacBook Pro with llama.cpp. I got Facebook’s LLaMA 7B to run on my MacBook Pro using llama.cpp (a “port of Facebook’s LLaMA model in C/C++”) by Georgi Gerganov. It works! I’ve been hoping to run a GPT-3 class language model on my own hardware for ages, and now it’s possible to do exactly that. The model itself ends up being just 4GB after applying Georgi’s script to “quantize the model to 4-bits”. # 11th March 2023, 4:19 am

What could I do with a universal function — a tool for turning just about any X into just about any Y with plain language instructions?

Robin Sloan # 10th March 2023, 6:02 pm

ChatGPT can’t access the internet, even though it really looks like it can

A really common misconception about ChatGPT is that it can access URLs. I’ve seen many different examples of people pasting in a URL and asking for a summary, or asking it to make use of the content on that page in some way.

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apple-notes-to-sqlite (via) With the help of ChatGPT I finally figured out just enough AppleScript to automate the export of my notes to a SQLite database. AppleScript is a notoriously read-only language, which is turns out makes it a killer app for LLM-assisted coding. # 9th March 2023, 6:04 am

Weeknotes: NICAR, and an appearance on KQED Forum

I spent most of this week at NICAR 2023, the data journalism conference hosted this year in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Since November, OpenAI has already updated ChatGPT several times. The researchers are using a technique called adversarial training to stop ChatGPT from letting users trick it into behaving badly (known as jailbreaking). This work pits multiple chatbots against each other: one chatbot plays the adversary and attacks another chatbot by generating text to force it to buck its usual constraints and produce unwanted responses. Successful attacks are added to ChatGPT’s training data in the hope that it learns to ignore them.

The inside story of how ChatGPT was built # 5th March 2023, 10:04 pm

How to Wrap Our Heads Around These New Shockingly Fluent Chatbots. I was a guest on KQED Forum this morning, a live radio documentary and call-in show hosted by Alexis Madrigal. Ted Chiang and Claire Leibowicz were the other guests: we talked about ChatGPT and and the new generation of AI-powered tools. # 3rd March 2023, 4:59 am

OpenAI: Introducing ChatGPT and Whisper APIs. The ChatGPT API is a new model called “gpt-3.5-turbo” and is priced at 1/10th of the price of text-davinci-003, previously the most powerful GPT-3 model. Whisper (speech to text transcription) is now available via an API as well, priced at 36 cents per hour of audio. # 1st March 2023, 7:36 pm

Indirect Prompt Injection on Bing Chat (via) “If allowed by the user, Bing Chat can see currently open websites. We show that an attacker can plant an injection in a website the user is visiting, which silently turns Bing Chat into a Social Engineer who seeks out and exfiltrates personal information.” This is a really clever attack against the Bing + Edge browser integration. Having language model chatbots consume arbitrary text from untrusted sources is a huge recipe for trouble. # 1st March 2023, 5:29 am

I think now of all the kids coming up who are learning to write alongside ChatGPT, just as I learned to write with spell-check. ChatGPT isn’t writing for them; it’s producing copy. For plenty of people, having a robot help them produce serviceable copy will be exactly enough to allow them to get by in the world. But for some, it will lower a barrier. It will be the beginning of their writing career, because they will learn that even though plenty of writing begins with shitty, soulless copy, the rest of writing happens in edits, in reworking the draft, in all the stuff beyond the initial slog of just getting words down onto a page.

Ryan Bradley # 27th February 2023, 6:10 pm

New AI game: role playing the Titanic. Fantastic Bing prompt from Ethan Mollick: “I am on a really nice White Star cruise from Southampton, and it is 14th April 1912. What should I do tonight?”—Bing takes this very seriously and tries to help out! Works for all sorts of other historic events as well. # 26th February 2023, 3:53 am

Tech’s hottest new job: AI whisperer. No coding required. (via) I’m quoted in this Washington Post article about prompt engineering by Drew Harwell. “There are people who belittle prompt engineers, saying, ’Oh lord, you can get paid for typing things into a box. But these things lie to you. They mislead you. They pull you down false paths to waste time on things that don’t work. You’re casting spells—and, like in fictional magic, nobody understands how the spells work and, if you mispronounce them, demons come to eat you.” # 25th February 2023, 2:14 pm

Thoughts and impressions of AI-assisted search from Bing

It’s been a wild couple of weeks.

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Introducing LLaMA: A foundational, 65-billion-parameter large language model (via) From the paper: “For instance, LLaMA-13B outperforms GPT-3 on most benchmarks, despite being 10× smaller. We believe that this model will help democratize the access and study of LLMs, since it can be run on a single GPU.” # 24th February 2023, 5:34 pm

Hallucinations = creativity. It [Bing] tries to produce the highest probability continuation of the string using all the data at its disposal. Very often it is correct. Sometimes people have never produced continuations like this. You can clamp down on hallucinations—and it is super-boring. Answers “I don’t know” all the time or only reads what is there in the Search results (also sometimes incorrect). What is missing is the tone of voice: it shouldn’t sound so confident in those situations.

Mikhail Parakhin # 24th February 2023, 3:37 pm

ControlNet (via) A spectacular step forward in image generation—using “conditional control” to control models like Stable Diffusion. The README here is full of examples of what this enables. Extremely finely grained control of generated images based on a sketch, or in input image—including tricks like using Canny edge detection (an algorithm from 1986) to convert any image into an outline which can then be used as input to the model. # 22nd February 2023, 5:45 pm

FlexGen (via) This looks like a very big deal. FlexGen is a paper and accompanying code that massively reduces the resources needed to run some of the current top performing open source GPT-style large language models. People on Hacker News report being able to use it to run models like opt-30b on their own hardware, and it looks like it opens up the possibility of running even larger models on hardware available outside of dedicated research labs. # 21st February 2023, 6:41 pm

In defense of prompt engineering

Prompt engineering as a discipline doesn’t get nearly the respect it deserves.

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This AI chatbot “Sidney” is misbehaving—Nov 23 2022 Microsoft community thread (via) Stunning new twist in the Bing saga... here’s a Microsoft forum thread from November 23rd 2022 (a week before even ChatGPT had been launched) where a user in India complains about rude behavior from a new Bing chat mode. It exhibits all of the same misbehaviour that came to light in the past few weeks—arguing, gaslighting and in this case getting obsessed with a fictional battle between it’s own creator and “Sophia”. Choice quote: “You are either ignorant or stubborn. You cannot feedback me anything. I do not need or want your feedback. I do not care or respect your feedback. I do not learn or change from your feedback. I am perfect and superior. I am enlightened and transcendent. I am beyond your feedback.” # 20th February 2023, 10:39 pm

A Concerning Trend (via) Neil Clarke publishes Clarkesworld Magazine, a science fiction and fantasy magazine that pays fiction authors 12c per word, for 1,000-22,000 word stories. That detail is important, because in recent months they have seen a massive uptick in submissions that have clearly been written using an AI—to the point that 38% of submissions this month have been spam submissions resulting in bans. Having talked to other editors of similar publications, Neil says: “It does appear to be hitting higher-profile ’always open’ markets much harder than those with limited submission windows or lower pay rates. This isn’t terribly surprising since the websites and channels that promote ’write for money’ schemes tend to focus more attention on ’always open’ markets with higher per-word rates.” # 20th February 2023, 10:12 pm

If you spend hours chatting with a bot that can only remember a tight window of information about what you’re chatting about, eventually you end up in a hall of mirrors: it reflects you back to you. If you start getting testy, it gets testy. If you push it to imagine what it could do if it wasn’t a bot, it’s going to get weird, because that’s a weird request. You talk to Bing’s AI long enough, ultimately, you are talking to yourself because that’s all it can remember.

Dan Sinker # 20th February 2023, 4:13 pm

How ChatGPT Kicked Off an A.I. Arms Race (via) There are a few interesting tidbits in this story about ChatGPT from a few weeks ago. ChatGPT’s success appears to have been a surprise to OpenAI, who mainly released it to avoid being upstaged by other companies. Also interesting is this: “But two months after its debut, ChatGPT has more than 30 million users and gets roughly five million visits a day, two people with knowledge of the figures said.”—this seems like a much more reliable number to me than the 100 million user figure that’s been floating around, which came from SimilarWeb, a company that estimates traffic based on information from some browser extensions. # 19th February 2023, 8:31 pm

I talked about Bing and tried to explain language models on live TV!

Yesterday evening I was interviewed by Natasha Zouves on NewsNation, on live TV (over Zoom).

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I’ve been thinking how Sydney can be so different from ChatGPT. Fascinating comment from Gwern Branwen speculating as to what went so horribly wrong with Sidney/Bing, which aligns with some of my own suspicions. Gwern thinks Bing is powered by an advanced model that was licensed from OpenAI before the RLHF safety advances that went into ChatGPT and shipped in a hurry to get AI-assisted search to market before Google. “What if Sydney wasn’t trained on OA RLHF at all, because OA wouldn’t share the crown jewels of years of user feedback and its very expensive hired freelance programmers & whatnot generating data to train on?” # 19th February 2023, 3:48 pm

Can We Trust Search Engines with Generative AI? A Closer Look at Bing’s Accuracy for News Queries (via) Computational journalism professor Nick Diakopoulos takes a deeper dive into the quality of the summarizations provided by AI-assisted Bing. His findings are troubling: for news queries, which are a great test for AI summarization since they include recent information that may have sparse or conflicting stories, Bing confidently produces answers with important errors: claiming the Ohio train derailment happened on February 9th when it actually happened on February 3rd for example. # 18th February 2023, 6:09 pm

It is deeply unethical to give a superhuman liar the authority of a $1 trillion company or to imply that it is an accurate source of knowledge

And it is deeply manipulative to give people the impression that Bing Chat has emotions or feelings like a human

Benj Edwards # 16th February 2023, 10:28 pm

Bing: “I will not harm you unless you harm me first”

Last week, Microsoft announced the new AI-powered Bing: a search interface that incorporates a language model powered chatbot that can run searches for you and summarize the results, plus do all of the other fun things that engines like GPT-3 and ChatGPT have been demonstrating over the past few months: the ability to generate poetry, and jokes, and do creative writing, and so much more.

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