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What Happens When AI Has Read Everything?

 The Atlantic – The dream of an artificial mind may never become a reality if AI runs out of quality prose to ingest—and there isn’t much left. What Happens When AI Has Read Everything?. “Artificial intelligence has in recent years proved itself to be a quick study, although it is being educated in a manner that would shame the most brutal headmaster. Locked into airtight Borgesian libraries for months with no bathroom breaks or sleep, AIs are told not to emerge until they’ve finished a self-paced speed course in human culture. On the syllabus: a decent fraction of all the surviving text that we have ever produced.”..

The trouble is that, like other high-end human cultural products, good prose ranks among the most difficult things to produce in the known universe. It is not in infinite supply, and for AI, not any old text will do: Large language models trained on books are much better writers than those trained on huge batches of social-media posts. (It’s best not to think about one’s Twitter habit in this context.) When we calculate how many well-constructed sentences remain for AI to ingest, the numbers aren’t encouraging. A team of researchers led by Pablo Villalobos at Epoch AI recently predicted that programs such as the eerily impressive ChatGPT will run out of high-quality reading material by 2027. Without new text to train on, AI’s recent hot streak could come to a premature end…”

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