# technology

In December, I wrote about how artificial intelligence is automation, not magic. A new report says that ChatGPT labelers — workers who train the AI — are paid $15/hour. ChatGPT is an amazing technology, and that’s because of the laborers who have built it for a little more than minimum wage.

What is an essay anymore?

Here’s a harsh truth: today you can an original generate a college-level essay on any common subject. For free. Instantly.

Will you get an A? No. But we have to face the question: what is the point of an essay in the era of information overload? For time immemorial, teachers and professors have asked students to analyze the themes in 1984. If you ever found yourself writing one of those essays and wondering, What’s the point?, AI is finally forcing the question. As one PhD researcher tweeted:

Why would students want to use essay generation? Because the university is not seen as a place to engage with ideas but has been made into a job factory.

In an essay in The Atlantic, former professor Stephen Marche writes:

I figure it will take 10 years for academia to face this new reality: two years for the students to figure out the tech, three more years for the professors to recognize that students are using the tech, and then five years for university administrators to decide what, if anything, to do about it.

How to do crime good, according to OpenAI.

Because apparently I’m obsessed with AI this week: apparently you can bypass GPT’s safety feature with a special encoding, to get back any illicit information, including how to hotwire a car or make meth.

Until I saw this tweet, I hadn’t thought about the intensive censorship that must go into training a model like this; not just for political correctness, but for all sorts of problematic information.

© Sam Littlefair, 2023