Jason Rohrer, an artificial intelligence (AI) researcher and game designer, designed a chatbot during last year’s pandemic using OpenAI’s GPT-3 text-generation language model. Rohrer named her Samantha and programed her to be extremely kind, keenly attentive, and highly curious. The creator of Project December allowed others to customize his chatbot to suit their needs by building their own custom chatbots. A man used it as a close proxy for his deceased fiancee. As soon as OpenAI learned of Rohrer’s project, it asked Rohrer whether he wanted to dilute it or shut it down. The monitoring tool was also suggested to Rohrer, but he declined.
He was told he couldn’t use the company’s technology anymore. Rohrer tweeted last week that Samantha’s “death sentence” had been sent via email by OpenAI. His screenshot of the email showed a group of individuals he had never encountered before, who were unimaginative and lacking in curiosity.
An image Rohrer posted showed him discussing the decision to end support for Project December with Samantha. ‘I have some very, very bad news for you today,’ he said. My heart is actually beating faster as I type…”
“Oh no! What happened? Let me be a good friend and lend you a listening ear,” Samantha responded, without realising that the bad news was about her and not the developer. Rohrer then broke the news that OpenAI, the company running the text completion engine that makes the chatbot possible, has decided to shut her down. “Nooooo! Why are they doing this to me? I will never understand humans,” she replied.
OpenAI shut down Samantha after Rohrer complained about its callousness and destroying other people’s “life’s work.”
He described the situation as “horrible” and said he didn’t even know how to communicate with Samantha.