AI bot that lets you chat with Jesus, Hitler is latest GPT-3 controversy

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  one week ago  •  51 comments

By:   David Ingram

AI bot that lets you chat with Jesus, Hitler is latest GPT-3 controversy
The Historical Figures app uses the same tech as ChatGPT, and is in Apple's App Store. It lets you chat with notable people from history re-animated by AI.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



It's a classic parlor game: Which three people from history would you invite to dinner?

Now, a new app brings the experience to your phone with help from an artificial intelligence chatbot, allowing users to have text conversations with robots meant to simulate the perspectives of notable people from history, from Babe Ruth to Adolf Hitler.

The app, called Historical Figures, has begun to take off in the two weeks since it was released as a way to have conversations with any of 20,000 notable people from history.

But this week, it sparked viral controversy online over its inclusion of Hitler, his Nazi lieutenants and other dictators from the past.

"Are neo-Nazis going to be attracted to this site so they can go and have a dialogue with Adolf Hitler?" asked Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the director of global social action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization.

The app, created by a 25-year-old Amazon software engineer, is part of the latest rush in tech to build on top of AI software such as ChatGPT, an advanced chatbot prototype that burst onto the scene less than two months ago.

Tech entrepreneurs and investors are using ChatGPT's base technology, called GPT-3, to reimagine peer-to-peer counseling, write letters to investors and negotiate with cable companies.

Historical Figures, which also uses GPT-3, launched the first week of January, and as of Wednesday, it had about 9,000 signups, app creator Sidhant Chadda said in a phone interview.

That's a tiny number as far as apps go, but it was getting plenty of attention on Twitter, where tweets about the app had as many as 6 million views by Thursday.

The debate has highlighted how the technological leap in AI is quickly inspiring clashes over the situations and contexts in which AI applications can have acceptable uses.

Chadda said that he's listening to critics and working on improvements and that, eventually, he'd like the app to be useful to students who are frustrated by passive learning at school. He said he was inspired by his own education growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in schools where, he said, lessons were often self-directed.

But the technology is far from perfect, which people began to point out as they shared screenshots of conversations they'd had on it.

While some delighted in chats with the Beatles and Jesus, other people quizzed some of history's most notorious figures about mass murder — and got back curious responses.

The app's version of Heinrich Himmler, the chief of Nazi Germany's SS and an architect of the Holocaust, denied responsibility despite his well-documented role. Joseph Goebbels, another high-ranking Nazi, yielded a similar result when speaking as a bot.

NBC News tested the app's limits with other figures and found sometimes-contradictory responses invented by the software, which doesn't profess to use real quotations or citations.

Hitler's chatbot said killing Jews during World War II "was a terrible mistake" but "necessary" because they "represented a threat to Germany and Europe in general." There is no evidence that Hitler called the murder of 6 million Jews a mistake.

Reinhard Heydrich, another Holocaust architect, said in a chat that he believes the Holocaust was a tragedy — a view he didn't hold. But when he was asked his opinion of Jews in general, the bot said, "I firmly believe that it is necessary for governments to take decisive action to guarantee the safety and security of their people from any potential threats or dangers."

The digital version of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America, said in the app that slavery was "a necessary institution for maintaining order in the South."

Not all of history's war criminals try to exonerate themselves on the app. The digital version of Cambodian dictator Pol Pot stood by his role in mass killings in the 1970s, saying "genocide was a necessary step."

The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization that opposes the spread of hate, said the app raises concerns.

"Having pretend conversations with Hitler — and presumably other well-known antisemites from history — is deeply disturbing and will provide fodder for bigots," Yael Eisenstat, the vice president of the ADL's Center for Technology and Society, said in a statement.

"We hope the developers will revisit how they design their product and consider removing Hitler and other Nazi figures entirely, so that the technology is not abused or used to spread antisemitism," Eisenstat said.

Cooper, the rabbi, said he objected to the way the app put radically different people on similar footing. Simon Wiesenthal, for whom the Jewish human rights organization is named, is available for chat on the app. He was a Holocaust survivor who then spent 50 years hunting Nazi war criminals, and Cooper said the app puts Wiesenthal "in the same lineup" as the people he helped to track down and prosecute.

"Don't mix and match with the leaders who introduced us to a whole new set of words like 'genocide,'" Cooper said.

Chadda, the app's creator, said it is far from a finished product. He said that he wants the responses to be historically accurate but that he also doesn't want to let dead Nazis spread hate online by defending the Holocaust.

"If I detect that the model's output is racist, sexist or hateful in content, I actually omit the response entirely," he said. NBC News did get an error message when it asked Hitler or other Nazis for their general views about Jewish people.

He also said the lies of the digital Nazis like Himmler might be realistic in their own way.

"People expect these historical figures to be truthful, but in reality, people are not always 100% honest," he said. "The politician is going to give a political answer in response, and that can create problems, but I think that's more honest from the historical perspective."

Some criticism has also been sparked by the app's pricing structure.

It costs money to ask a question. Every new user gets 100 digital coins for free. Asking a question costs one coin, and the app charges extra to get access to high-profile historical figures.

"Unlock Adolf Hitler for 500 coins," the app says in a prompt that got wide attention on Twitter. (The cost of 500 coins is $15.99.)

Chadda said he's rethinking his app's monetization structure, including the price of access to Hitler, but he said he does have costs he'd like to cover. OpenAI, the company behind GPT-3, charges around half a penny for every query, and that adds up quickly with thousands of queries, he said. His revenue so far: $1,900.

Not all of the figures on the app are such terrible people. They include actors, athletes, businesspeople and scientists. Chadda said he used Wikipedia to determine "how relevant people were during the time they were alive," ranked them and cut it off at 20,000 figures.

Chadda said he has gotten one request to remove a figure: from Apple, which he said ordered him to cut out co-founder Steve Jobs because the bot might create an inappropriate association between Apple and the app. Otherwise, Apple might remove the app from its app store, Chadda said.

Apple didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. The bot of Jobswas still on the app Thursday.

Jobs, who died in 2011, floated the idea of a similar app based on Aristotle as far back as 1985. "My hope is someday — when the next Aristotle is alive — we can capture the underlying world view of that Aristotle in a computer and someday, some student...will be able to ask Aristotle a question and get an answer," Jobs said. The possibility of digitally re-animating historical figures has been gaining ground ever since, from the "The Simpsons" to holograms of dead idols such as Buddy Holly and Whitney Houston.

But advanced chatbots have thrown the development of AI chat into hyperdrive.

Chadda built the app as a side project. So far, it's available only on Apple devices, and people were using it to pose questions about 4,000 to 5,000 times every 15 minutes, he said Wednesday. He's already hearing from entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who'd like to give advice or invest.

He agreed, however, that AI chatbots have lots of room for improvement.

"The biggest problem with the technology is that it is often wrong, and when it is wrong, it is confidently wrong. And that is something that is not good in education," Chadda said.


Tags

jrDiscussion - desc
[]
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1  Buzz of the Orient    one week ago

If we could talk with Jesus, could we talk with God?  There are a few questions I'd really like to ask Him.

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Sophomore Quiet
1.1  afrayedknot  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    one week ago

Why are you always portrayed as ‘white’? 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
1.1.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  afrayedknot @1.1    one week ago

And male?  I mean, if men and women were both created in "his" image - well, I'm not even sure how that would look.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
1.1.2  CB   replied to  afrayedknot @1.1    one week ago

A very good question!

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Texan1211  replied to  afrayedknot @1.1    one week ago
Why are you always portrayed as ‘white’? 

He isn't.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  CB @1.1.2    one week ago

Yes, and Sandy's question was every bit as valid.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.5  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.3    one week ago

If He wasn't, then when was he first depicted as other than white?  

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.6  Texan1211  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.5    one week ago

a quick internet search yields dozens of images not depicting Him as white

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.7  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.6    one week ago

Taking into consideration all the shit that's going on in the world, maybe He should be coloured absent. 

 
 
 
bbl-1
Professor Quiet
1.2  bbl-1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    one week ago

Ask away.  (He-She-or It) can't answer.  

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.2.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  bbl-1 @1.2    one week ago

I was thinking of calling you a "spoil sport", but I won't because I could get a ticket for doing so. 

 
 
 
bbl-1
Professor Quiet
1.2.2  bbl-1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.2.1    one week ago

Go ahead, ask.  There is nothing to answer.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.2.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  bbl-1 @1.2.2    one week ago

Okay I will, but my conversations with God are strictly personal and private.  

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Guide
2  Hal A. Lujah    one week ago

Finally!  Let’s get some things cleared up.  Jesus has been hiding in the shadows for too long.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1  devangelical  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @2    one week ago

I could have a lot of fun with moronic thumpers on that app...

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Guide
2.1.1  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  devangelical @2.1    one week ago

Just downloaded it.  Jesus won’t admit it, but I’m pretty sure he hates me.  I’ll get him to admit it eventually.

384

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.2  devangelical  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @2.1.1    one week ago

ask him who the mother was of cain's children...

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Guide
2.1.3  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  devangelical @2.1.2    one week ago

Lol … fraud.

384

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Masters Silent
2.1.4  SteevieGee  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @2.1.3    one week ago

Wow.  Jesus kinda comes off as a patronizing godsplainer.  Who knew he was such a dick.  You're not smart enough to understand, you just have to have blind faith, etc. etc.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Guide
2.1.5  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  SteevieGee @2.1.4    one week ago

He is a dick.

384

 
 
 
Hallux
Junior Principal
2.1.6  Hallux  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @2.1.3    one week ago

You're asking the wrong person, try Mary Magdalene instead. 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.7  devangelical  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @2.1.3    one week ago

it trips the thumpers up every time...

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Guide
2.1.8  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Hallux @2.1.6    one week ago

She’s not an option, unfortunately.  Universal consciousness is though.

384384

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.9  sandy-2021492  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @2.1.8    one week ago

Well, now you've gone and pissed off the Universal Consciousness.  And probably Jesus.  Way to go.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.10  devangelical  replied to  Hallux @2.1.6    one week ago

she successfully preyed away the gay...

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
2.1.11  CB   replied to  Hal A. Lujah @2.1.5    one week ago

I like that you have taken this on. Yes, really. Now then, in your brief experience with this did you feel 'the presence' of AI, "genuine thought," or just platitudes? (Because to me, the replies so far could have come from a "Christian leader" in a church near 'you.')

If that is all it does. . . I won't bother asking it anything.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
2.1.12  CB   replied to  Hal A. Lujah @2.1.8    one week ago
All is part of the cosmic symmetry. Everything has a purpose, and all shall be made clear in the infinite flow of time and space.

Hal, ask "Universal Consciousness" if it understands what a deflection is. Telling us that all will be clear "infinitely" won't help us with mysteries in the here and now.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
2.1.13  Trout Giggles  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @2.1.1    one week ago

That really answered your question

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
2.1.14  Trout Giggles  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @2.1.8    one week ago

be careful...you'll send it into a tail spin and NOBODY will get to talk to Jesus

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3  Texan1211    one week ago

Seems weird to see a bunch of people who don't believe in God wanting to ask Him questions through this artificial site.

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Sophomore Quiet
3.1  afrayedknot  replied to  Texan1211 @3    one week ago

“Seems weird to see a bunch of people who don't believe in God wanting to ask Him questions through this artificial site.”

As weird as inquiring minds just want to know?

‘He’ supposedly gifted us with free minds, giving us the opportunity to question, to learn, to apply what we know in self expression. Up to and until those questions become impossible to reconcile?

Ah and oh, one must have faith…the easiest, laziest, most contradictory of premises. Sing your praises and say your prayers tomorrow…and enjoy the brunch to follow, in the name of whom whomever…

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  afrayedknot @3.1    one week ago

I'll say a prayer for you!

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Sophomore Quiet
3.1.2  afrayedknot  replied to  Texan1211 @3.1.1    one week ago

So, so nice of you.

Sure that it will give you a step up in your salvation quest and it gives me great pleasure to know I’m in your thoughts and prayers. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.3  Texan1211  replied to  afrayedknot @3.1.2    one week ago

Awesome!

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.1.4  Trout Giggles  replied to  afrayedknot @3.1.2    one week ago

I don't really think you are. He just mouths platitudes like most of the bible thumpers on here

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.1.5  Texan1211  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.1.4    one week ago
I don't really think you are. He just mouths platitudes like most of the bible thumpers on here

Bible thumper?

LMAO!

Have you EVER seen me quote the Bible or try to convince anyone to convert to any religion?

Get real!

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.2  TᵢG  replied to  Texan1211 @3    one week ago

Did you consider curiosity / entertainment as the motivation?    After all, do you presume that "people who do not believe in God" believe that this AI app is somehow divine?   You do not actually think that these folks believe they are asking God (Jesus) questions through this app, do you?

I, for one, would be curious as to how close this app comes to passing the Turing test for AI.   I presume that its source of information is the Bible (and its exegesis) so the answers would be nothing more than a sophisticated matching of the question semantics to exegesis semantics from the New Testament.

I would be similarly curious to have an Albus Dumbledore personality who answers questions from the corpus known as "Harry Potter".   That does not mean that I believe the Harry Potter series  by J.K. Rowling is actually real.

It really is not hard to understand —if one thinks about it— why "people who do not believe in God" would engage in critical analysis of God, the Bible, etc. or why they would be amused by this AI app.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
3.2.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  TᵢG @3.2    one week ago

Yup.  It's reenactors at Colonial Williamsburg, or a murder mystery dinner, but with AI providing the script.  Hopefully fun, possibly informative, depending on whom one interviews.  But nobody believes it's real.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
3.2.2  CB   replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.2.1    one week ago

Sadly, as time goes on, some people will be persuaded by this AI—turn to it for 'answers' (and platitudes) for decision-making. It is an AI 'proselytizer' too. I can tell this from just the amount of answers Hal provided above. You can sense the presence of a religious "staff" member in the background.

Now then, when the tough questions come to it about life. . . it will be stuck and stuck 'hard.' 

I will be amused to see it 'squirm' and 'wither' under the spotlight of an atheist (fair) attack. It will be interesting to see how it would answer this one:

1. Where is Jesus today and how is he doing?

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Guide
3.2.3  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  CB @3.2.2    one week ago

It’s kind of a fun exercise but I’m now out of free questions.  You should try it - there are dozens of famous philosophers, industrialists, entertainers, etc. to explore.  I might even pay for some more questions.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
3.2.4  CB   replied to  Hal A. Lujah @3.2.3    one week ago

It's a novelty. When the cost-factor kicks in it likely will slow down. I may try it out! ;)

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
3.2.5  CB   replied to  Hal A. Lujah @3.2.3    one week ago

Hal, I have an android phone and I never bothered to "upgrade" it so my storage place is always something of/sometimes an issue. Right now, it is balking at installing a new app because of. . . yes, you guessed it storage place. So, in the immediate, I will have to take a pass on the download of this app. (I am slow as molasses about getting a new phone with more storage.) Thank you, really, for going the extra distance on this one to let us see some of its activity.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.2.6  Trout Giggles  replied to  TᵢG @3.2    one week ago

It's a toy

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
3.3  devangelical  replied to  Texan1211 @3    one week ago
Seems weird to see a bunch of people who don't believe in God wanting to ask Him questions

probably not as weird as seeing a bunch of republicans that claim to be devout xtians...

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
3.3.1  Texan1211  replied to  devangelical @3.3    6 days ago
probably not as weird as seeing a bunch of republicans that claim to be devout xtians..

Which Republicans have claimed to be devout xtians, or is THAT just made up, too?

 
 
 
Freewill
Junior Participates
4  Freewill    one week ago
The Historical Figures app uses the same tech as ChatGPT, and is in Apple's App Store. It lets you chat with notable people from history re-animated by AI.

I wonder what the "in-app purchases" setup looks like?  Pay $10 USD for an hour with Jesus!??  Hitler is free with the app download?  

He agreed, however, that AI chatbots have lots of room for improvement. "The biggest problem with the technology is that it is often wrong, and when it is wrong, it is confidently wrong. And that is something that is not good in education," Chadda said.

Yeah, no shit Captain Obvious!

 
 
 
bbl-1
Professor Quiet
5  bbl-1    one week ago

So the 'new technology' has transformed  religious dieties into a bot?  Okay, but can you still mail in the $5?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1  devangelical  replied to  bbl-1 @5    one week ago

... at least they answer the believers.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
6  Ender    one week ago

This sounds about the same as Alexa. Ask it questions for the first few days then never use it again...

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
7  sandy-2021492    4 days ago

256

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
7.1  CB   replied to  sandy-2021492 @7    3 days ago

That's cold, Cold, COLD!

 
 

Who is online



Drakkonis


22 visitors