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Data: Language Models are Few-Shot Learners; Table: Axios Visuals

While GPT-3 has earned ecstatic reviews from many experts for its capabilities, some critics have pointed out clear issues around bias.

Why it matters: As AI becomes more powerful and more integrated into daily life, it becomes even more important to root out the persistent problem of bias and fairness.

What's happening: Researchers at OpenAI noted in the paper introducing GPT-3 that "internet-trained models have internet-scale biases." A model trained on the internet like GPT-3 will share the biases of the internet, including stereotypes around gender, race and religion.

  • As the table above from the paper shows, females were more often described with appearance-associated adjectives, while males were more often described with adjectives that spanned a wider spectrum of descriptions.
  • The paper also found that GPT-3 associated different races with different degrees of sentiment, with Black ranking consistently low.

In a Twitter thread, Facebook AI head Jerome Pesenti raised concerns that GPT-3 can "easily output toxic language that propagates harmful biases."

  • OpenAI CEO Sam Altman responded that he shared those concerns, and he argued that part of the reason the nonprofit was starting off GPT-3 in a closed beta was to do safety reviews before it went fully live.
  • He noted that OpenAI had introduced a new toxicity filter that was on by default.
  • The original paper also found that GPT-3 seemed less prone to bias than earlier, smaller models, offering some preliminary hope that size could help minimize the problem.

What to watch: A system that can generate near-human quality writing could be used for misinformation, phishing and other hacking efforts. And while malicious humans already do all of those things, GPT-3 and future AI systems could effectively scale those efforts up.

The bottom line: If AI produces racist or sexist content, it's because the system learned it by watching us. That puts the onus on programmers to curb their creations.

Go deeper: Rooting out AI bias

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Oct 27, 2020 - Technology

A new AI aims to be a ghostwriter in the machine

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new machine-learning-based writing companion called Wordtune aims to help users edit and improve written text as it's being composed.

Why it matters: Natural language processing is one of the most active areas in AI today. If tools like Wordtune work well, it would demonstrate AI is getting closer to really understanding what we're saying.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).