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AI Site Claims Simulated Conversations With Famous Dead Scientists

Published by Slashdot on Sat, 11 Jul 2020


Slashdot reader shirappu writes: AI|Writer is an experiment in which artificial intelligence is used to simulate both real and fictitious famous personalities through written correspondence. Users can ask questions and receive explanations from simulated versions of Isaac Newton, Alfred Hitchcock, Marie Curie, Mary Shelley, and many more. The Next Web calls it "a new experiment by magician and novelist Andrew Mayne," pointing out that it's using OpenAI's new text generator API. Other simulated conversations include Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking, Richard Feynman, Isaac Asimov, Benjamin Franklin, and even Edgar Allen Poe. "We have all kinds of theoretical ideas about AI and what counts as real or not," Mayne said on Twitter, "however I think you just have to be pragmatic and just ask: What can it do' I think this gets lost in a lot of discussions about AI. The end goal isn't a witty chatbot. It's to expand our knowledge." There's a wait list for access to the site "so we can make sure everything works right and we don't accidentally create Skynet," Mayne jokes on Twitter. But assuming this isn't another magic trick, The Next Web is already reporting on some of the early results:The system first works out the purpose of the message and the intended recipient by searching for patterns in the text. It then uses the API's internal knowledge of that person to guess how they would respond in their written voice. The digitized characters can answer questions about their work, explain scientific theories, or offer their opinions. For example, Marie Curie gave a lesson on radiation, H.G. Wells revealed his inspiration for The Time Machine, while Alfred Hitchcock compared Christopher Nolan's Interstellar to Stanley Kubrick's 2001... The characters could also compare their own eras with the present day... Mayne says the characters did well with historical facts, but could be "quite erratic with matters of opinion" and "rarely reply to the same question in the same way." He demonstrated these variations by asking both Newton and Gottfried Leibniz who invented calculus. "Newton almost always insists that he invented Calculus alone and is pretty brusque about it," Mayne wrote on his website. "Leibniz sometimes says he did. Other times he'll be vague." At one point, Leibniz even threatened to kill Mayne if he tried to take the credit for the discovery. As well as historical figures, the system can respond in the voice of fictional characters. In fact, Mayne says the most "touching" message he's received was this reply from the Incredible Hulk. Another conversation shows Bruce Wayne's response when asked to make a donation to support freeing the Joker...Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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