How to Wrap Our Heads Around These New Shockingly Fluent Chatbots

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 (Photo by Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The latest generation of chatbots, powered by their ingestion of huge chunks of writing from the internet, have continued to wow and frighten. ChatGPT and an experimental bot from Microsoft’s Bing are shockingly fluent in English. And being humans, we struggle to imagine anything that could master our language without tremendous intelligence. So, what, then, do we make of a machine that can output sentences in any style about any thing? Forum brings together three people – a writer, a coder and a policy expert working on ethics guidelines for AI – to help us make sense of this new generation of tools.


Simon Willison, independent researcher and developer

Ted Chiang, science fiction writer; author, "Exhalation: Stories." His latest piece for The New Yorker is "ChatGPT Is a Blurry JPEG of the Web."

Claire Leibowicz, head of AI & media integrity, Partnership on AI