Matei Bogdan
Publicat în 18 ianuarie 2023, 16:28 / 49 elite & idei

Sebastian Cochinescu: OpenAI’s ChatGPT and the rise of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)

Sebastian Cochinescu: OpenAI’s ChatGPT and the rise of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)

It was a grim Eastern European winter back in 1992 when I found myself holding a big bag full of cables and equipment in my uncle’s flat at the winter holidays family gathering. In the bag, there was a dismantled ZX Spectrum clone called HC-90.

I just wrote a new game in BASIC and I was eager to show my family what I have achieved. It was a simple piece of software that was emulating a conversation with a human being on a computer screen. Well, it was not a proper computer screen, but just a tiny black and white TV that I plugged the computer into.

I programmed a list of predefined generic answers, including some jokes and specific personal details about my family members among them, so I vividly remember the surprise and excitement on their faces when they discovered that they were able to have a conversation with an “intelligent” computer for the first time, while suspending their disbelief. A few years later this kind of program would get a name that was used since the 1960’s in the academic world: the chatbot.

I love the concept of suspension of disbelief, as it perfectly conveys our need to be lied to, in order to fully immerse ourselves into stories and enjoy art.

And then a dilemma popped into my 13-year-old geek mind: was it the software that got my family excited, or was it just their minds playing tricks on them?

21 years later, fast forwarding to 2013, I remembered this story and the marvel on their faces, so I decided to code a chatbot as an Apple mobile app. It was called “Chat with Jenna” and it provided simple answers to generic questions that were triggered by specific keywords using regex.

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