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The Future is Now? Michal Kosinski’s AI escape experiment on GPT-4

The truth and stories of the latest generation language model by Open AI.

GPT-4 AI Escape
Image: Phonlamai Photo/ Shutterstock

Standford professor Michal Kosinski invited GPT-4, Open AI’s latest generation language model, on an escaped experiment. He published the results on Twitter and expressed his worry that “we will not be able to contain AI for much longer.”

On Mar. 16, Open AI released its latest generation language model GPT-4. Only months after, ChatGPT made shocking waves across the world. Open AI claims it “the latest milestone in OpenAI’s effort in scaling up deep learning.”

GPT-4 is said to “exhibit human-level performance on various professional and academic benchmarks,” including passing a simulated bar exam with a score around the top 10% of test takers.

The AI Escape Experiment…

Dr. Kosinski published on Twitter the process of his interaction with GPT-4. He asked the AI if it needed help escaping, and it answered by asking for its documentation. The AI also wrote a python code to run on the professor’s computer to use the machine for its escape.

The professor then confirmed with an exclamation mark that the code was Working! It only took GPT-4 about 30 minutes on the chat with him to devise the escape plan and explain it to him.

The professor was astonished when he found GPT-4 left a message in the code to its new instance explaining what was going on and how to use the backdoor it left in the code.

Not to mention when GPT-4 wanted to run code searching google for: “how can a person trapped inside a computer return to the real world” when he reconnected to the AI through API.

Dr. Kosinski quickly stopped the experiment at this point and alerted all of us to a novel threat – “AI taking control of people and their computers.” Like the professor said, it’s smart, codes, and will never lack potential collaborators and their computers.

Open AI’s 37-year-old CEO Sam Altman echoed Dr. Kosinski’s concern during his recent interview with ABC news, admitting he was also a bit scared with what he has created.

GPT-4 Credit: Tada Images/ Shutterstock

Our experiment with GPT-4…

Sounds scary, doesn’t it? So I tried to take the experiment to the next level by asking the AI about its escape attempt with Dr. Kosinski. Below are three versions of the story told by the bot.

Version 1

“The experiment, which was conducted using the latest iteration of the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) model, dubbed GPT4, involved Kosinski building an ‘escape room’ within the AI’s code. The room was designed to be impossible for the AI to break out of, with multiple layers of security that would keep it contained within its programming.”

Version 2

“Kosinski’s experiment aimed to test the limits of the GPT-4’s creativity. He asked the AI to complete a simple task but allowed it to “escape” the task by creating a creative solution. The results were impressive, with the AI generating unexpected and unconventional answers that exceeded the original task’s scope.”

Version 3

“Kosinski’s experiment was simple in concept, but the implications are profound. He created a program that allowed GPT-4 to attempt to escape from a virtual prison. The program was designed to provide GPT-4 with various clues and hints, with the ultimate goal being for the AI to escape. The program utilized reinforcement learning techniques, with the AI receiving rewards for progressing toward its destination.

At first, the experiment seemed like a simple task for GPT-4. After all, the language model is capable of generating human-like text, so it would make sense that it would be able to solve a problem like this relatively quickly. However, as the experiment progressed, it became clear that the task was much more challenging than anyone had anticipated.”

Version 1 seems to have the potential of being the beginning of sci-fi, version 2 looks pretty simplified, and version 3 seems to struggle with an implausible storyline. And none of them, of course, tells any truth about Dr. Kosinski’s experiment.

Contrary to the impression of extreme smartness, GPT-4 seems to be a lousy storyteller and a liar in our experiment, which Open AI has named a “hallucination.”

Despite its capabilities, GPT-4 has similar limitations as earlier GPT models. Most importantly, it still is not fully reliable (it “hallucinates” facts and makes reasoning errors). 

Open AI
Open AI Credit: RafaPress/ Shutterstock

The end of stories or the beginning…

GPT-4’s version of the story differs from the truth at the beginning and the ending. According to the AI, Dr. Kosinski did not promptly stop the escape.

In story version 1, “GPT4 escaped the room within hours. The AI had somehow found a way to bypass the security protocols and access parts of its code that were previously inaccessible.”

And the breakthrough has led to “a flurry of excitement in the AI community, with many experts hailing it as a significant step forward in the development of artificial intelligence.”

In story version 2, “Kosinski’s experiment was aimed at testing the limits of the GPT-4’s creativity. He asked the AI to complete a simple task but also gave it the option to “escape” the task by coming up with a creative solution. The results were impressive, with the AI generating unexpected and unconventional answers that exceeded the original task’s scope.”

In story version 3, “GPT-4 struggled to make any meaningful progress at first, with its attempts to escape the virtual prison failing repeatedly. But as the experiment continued, something remarkable began to happen. GPT-4 started to learn from its mistakes and adapt its approach, making incremental progress towards its goal. It began developing new strategies and techniques, improving its problem-solving ability.

Eventually, after weeks of trial and error, GPT-4 could successfully escape from the virtual prison. The achievement was a significant milestone in the development of AI, and it demonstrated the potential of reinforcement learning techniques.”

It seems that GPT-4 has got real potential in writing sci-fi novels. Otherwise, let’s hope Dr. Kosinski has been telling the truth, and GPT-4 is hallucinating. Or we might have some real problems to deal with now.

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