As a species, we have always been fascinated with the power of writing. We have postulated the fall of societies due to their lack of recordkeeping; we have mythologized the ancients who authored our prayers, histories, spells, and laws; we have reveled in the magic that comes from bringing an idea from its inception to a form that can be shared with others. Language has always been an infinitely generative system, and there is perhaps no greater demonstration of this fact than the writing you are reading right now. We are on the cusp of a major shift in humanity’s ability to express itself. The first AI language models are trained on a corpus of human writing. The first AI to truly reach “consciousness” will have grown from a web of dreams and stories, poems and pictures written by human hands.
The first AI author will have grown from the textual soil tilled by humanity’s greatest writers. When that day comes, what will that say about us? This system is a collaboration between myself and the GPT-2 model, a next-generation language model published last year, which produces content similar to what you are reading right now. Developing, reviewing, and curating this system has been one of the more interesting projects I’ve worked on.
This system is born of the primordial ooze of language. Its creative potential is infinite.