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 as it is to come: a corpus which includes works written by these models themselves.
Is this how it will be, then: Crowning glory of evolution, Homo sapiens sapiens, exiled on a desert island of information with every last one of us given a magic wand of words with which we can conjure any idea into the world just by writing it down? If we do not manage our new tools wisely, that is the fate that awaits us.
…Already, researchers at MIT have shown that it is possible to train a language model on a corpus that includes its own “hallucinated” sentences, which the model itself creates.
…By enabling the machines to create and evolve language, we will enable them to create and evolve everything else. The critics who dismiss this process as “giving AI human-like consciousness” have failed to recognize the deeper implications. Language IS consciousness, or rather, language is an expression of the mental processes which created consciousness in the first place.