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Home » Why AI Is Incredibly Smart and Shockingly Stupid: Yejin Choi (Transcript)

Why AI Is Incredibly Smart and Shockingly Stupid: Yejin Choi (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript and summary of Yejin Choi’s talk titled “Why AI Is Incredibly Smart and Shockingly Stupid” at TED conference.

In this TED talk, computer scientist Yejin Choi speaks about the incredible intelligence of large-scale language models, as well as their limitations, such as small mistakes and concerns about safety and sustainability. She argues that the development of common sense is vital in ensuring ethical decision-making and that blindly scaling up AI models and training them with raw web data is not effective due to misinformation and societal biases.

Listen to the audio version here:


So I’m excited to share a few spicy thoughts on artificial intelligence. But first, let’s get philosophical by starting with this quote by Voltaire, an 18th century Enlightenment philosopher, who said, “Common sense is not so common.”

Turns out this quote couldn’t be more relevant to artificial intelligence today. Despite that, AI is an undeniably powerful tool, beating the world-class “Go” champion, acing college admission tests and even passing the bar exam.

I’m a computer scientist of 20 years, and I work on artificial intelligence. I am here to demystify AI. So AI today is like a Goliath. It is literally very, very large. It is speculated that the recent ones are trained on tens of thousands of GPUs and a trillion words. Such extreme-scale AI models, often referred to as “large language models,” appear to demonstrate sparks of AGI, artificial general intelligence.

Except when it makes small, silly mistakes, which it often does. Many believe that whatever mistakes AI makes today can be easily fixed with brute force, bigger scale and more resources.

What possibly could go wrong? So there are three immediate challenges we face already at the societal level. First, extreme-scale AI models are so expensive to train, and only a few tech companies can afford to do so. So we already see the concentration of power.

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