Spectrum’s Top AI Stories of 2023

Spectrum’s Top AI Stories of 2023

2023 may well go down in history as one of the most wild and dramatic years in the history of artificial intelligence. People were still struggling to understand the power of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which had been introduced in late 2022, when the company released its newest large language model, GPT-4, in March 2023 (LLMs are essentially the brains behind consumer-facing applications).

All through the spring of 2023, important and credible people freaked out about the possible negative consequences—ranging from somewhat troubling to existentially bad—of ever-improving AI. First came an open letter calling for a pause on the development of advanced models, then a statement about existential risk, the first international summit on AI safety, and landmark regulations in the form of a U.S. executive order and the E.U. AI Act.

Here are Spectrum’s top 10 articles of 2023 about AI, according to how much time readers spent with them. Take a look to get the flavor of AI in 2023, a year that may well go down in history… unless 2024 is even crazier.

10. AI Art Generators Can Be Fooled Into Making NSFW Images:

Pai-Shih Lee/Getty Images

With text-to-image generators like Dall-E 2 and Stable Diffusion, users type a prompt describing the image they’d like to produce, and the model does the rest. And while they have safeguards to keep users from generating violent, pornographic, and otherwise unacceptable images, both AI researchers and hackers have taken delight in figuring out how to circumvent such safeguards. For white hats and black hats, jailbreaking is the new hobby.

9. OpenAI’s Moonshot: Solving the AI Alignment Problem:

Photo-illustration of a woman looking at a digital representation that looks like her.Daniel Zender

This Q&A with OpenAI’s Jan Leike delves into the AI alignment problem. That’s the concern that we may build superintelligent AI systems whose goals are not aligned with those of humans, potentially leading to the extinction of our species. It’s legitimately an important issue, and OpenAI is devoting serious resources to finding ways to empirically research a problem that doesn’t yet exist (because superintelligent AI systems don’t yet exist).

8. The Secret to Nvidia’s Success:

Close up of a blue square in packaging, labelled nvidiaI-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Nvidia had a great year as its AI-accelerating GPU, the H-100, became arguably the hottest piece of hardware in tech. The company’s chief scientist, Bill Dally, reflected at a conference on the four ingredients that launched Nvidia into the stratosphere. “Moore’s Law was a surprisingly small part of Nvidia’s magic and new number formats a very large part,” writes IEEE Spectrum senior editor Sam Moore.

7. ChatGPT’s Hallucinations Could Keep It from Succeeding:

Screen showing ChatGPTZuma/Alamy

One issue that has bedeviled LLMs is their habit of making things up—unpredictably spouting lies in a most confident tone. This habit is a particular problem when people try to use it for things that really matter, like writing legal briefs. OpenAI believes it’s a solvable problem, but some outside experts, like

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The post “Spectrum’s Top AI Stories of 2023” by Eliza Strickland was published on 12/27/2023 by spectrum.ieee.org