Emily M. Bender: AI in reality

Submitted by Joyce Parvi on

Bender was a guest on the podcast "Factually! with Adam Conover "  June 21, 2022, where she talked with comedian Adam Conover about “The Real Problem with Artificial Intelligence”, and “why we should resist the urge to be impressed when it comes to big tech’s A.I. promises, and how our belief in the fantasy of A.I. could be worse than the reality.” Bender’s short answer to why we should resist is:  “There is a lot of power being concentrated these days in the name of A.I., and that power comes in the form of money and it comes in the form of collections of data, and it comes in the form of influence on the form of our systems of governance...The claims about what the technology can do, some of them are well-founded and some of them are not, but the power is real, and the more we are in awe of what this technology can supposedly do the less well positioned we are to counteract that power.” Conover’s introduction to Bender starts around 05:30 into the 01:18:38 podcast.

Bender was also interviewed in a July 26, 2022, article in Vice,  “In Experiment, AI Successfully Impersonates Famous Philosopher” An experiment was conducted to see if humans could distinguish between statements produced by philosopher Daniel C. Dennett (Tufts University) and those produced by a language model, GPT-3, trained on Dennett’s writings. Even experts on Dennett’s writnigs were only about 50% successful distinguishing man from machine, with lay people even less successful at 22%. Bender pointed out that this success rate was not surprising, but doesn’t mean that GPT-3 has ideas or actually understands the text being produced.