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How These AI-Powered Chatbots Keep Getting Better

Michael Calore: So what you’re saying is that you’re not actually a fairy prince?

Will Knight: No, sadly not.

Michael Calore: Surrounded by lilies? Because that’s what I see when I put your images into Lensa.

Will Knight: Oh, is it? OK. I have to try that.

Michael Calore: I hope you don’t mind that I’ve been feeding Lensa photos of Will Knight.

Will Knight: No. As long as I can see them, as long as I can take a look.

Lauren Goode: I guess it depends on how far you want to extend that analogy. If it’s misinformation to take the app du jour, which happens to be this super-weird creative AI app, and create these AI-generated images of yourself, how different … and those are not real. Those aren’t what you look like. How different is that from just putting a smoothing filter on Instagram?

Michael Calore: Right. Not that much different probably.

Lauren Goode: So we just have our online avatars, our online personas and our IRL experiences, and those things are now wholly divergent, and that’s it. That’s the world we live in. It’ll have a second life.

Michael Calore: Also, who’s to say which one is reality and which one is the simulacrum?

Lauren Goode: Oh, such a good word. That’s such a good WIRED word. I feel like that appears in at least every issue of WIRED. That’s true. Who is to say? On that note, let’s take a break, and we’re going to come back with recommendations. Will they be human-generated or will they be AI-generated? TBD.

[Break]

Lauren Goode: This is the part of the show where we give our weekly recommendations, but given today’s subject matter, we thought we would turn this part over to the AI chatbot again. So I asked ChatGPT, “If you had to recommend something to a friend, a book, a podcast episode, an app, a food, an album, what would you recommend?” And it responded, “As a large language model trained by OpenAI, I do not have personal experiences or preferences so I am unable to make recommendations based on my own interests or experiences. My sole purpose is to assist you” … well, you’re not really assisting me now … “with your questions and provide you with information based on the input I receive. I’m not able to browse the internet or access external information, so I’m unable to provide recommendations for books, podcasts, apps, foods or albums.” So I think we have to turn back to good old fashioned flawed humans for our recommendations this week. Will, that’s not to call you flawed, but we should start with you. What is your recommendation this week?

Will Knight: Proudly flawed and happy to. I can recommend the GPS tracking collar that we’ve got for our expensive hypoallergenic cat, which makes it very fun to see where we can … We know where she is if we need to try and find her, which I had to do a couple of times, and you can see where she’s been through the night, all this little GPS trace. There’s even a little leaderboard of local cats and national cats, and we have some friends with cats who are on there, so it’s a little social network. It’s a bit creepy, a bit big brother-ish, but at least we know where she is. Unfortunately, yes, unfortunately, she got frightened by something and is stuck at home for the last three days, but I can see where she was, so I may go and try and figure out what it was that terrified her.

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