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What is a scientific discovery that you were most excited about in the last year? Why?
Question Date: 2021-01-10
Answer 1:

One scientific discovery that I am most excited about is the covid-19 vaccine.

There are now multiple vaccines available that have been approved, and I am excited for all of them. They are a way to save lives, a way to open up countries from lockdown, and they are a huge step forward for science! So much money has been contributed to the fast creation of these vaccines to save lives, and it has been a big deal for these researchers to make these vaccines, and make it happen in so short a time.

Normally it takes many years (sometimes over 10 years) to make a single vaccine, and then it has to be trialed and approved in each country. These researchers making this vaccine is such a short time is a huge success for science, and for humankind.

Answer 2:

I've been interested in the development of GPT-3! GPT-3, also called Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3, is a language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. It was developed by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence research laboratory.

This language AI represents the concept of computers getting even closer to passing the Turing test. But what is the Turing test? The Turing test is a test of a machine's ability to show intelligent behavior that is the same as a human--basically, can it think like a human? It was developed by English mathematician Alan Turing, who was an interesting, tragic, and highly influential figure, developing and formalizing many concepts of theoretical computer science. The father of computer science artificial intelligence, Alan Turing has many books and articles documenting his life as well as a film called The Imitation Game, the original name for the Turing test. (As with most films, there are historical inaccuracies, please take it with a grain of salt.)

The quality of GPT-3 text is very high. You can experience it for yourself by watching people interview GPT-3 or by playing AI Dungeon, an app that generates text-based adventure games using GPT-3's language model. As Campbell Bird from 148apps describes it, "It's like doing improv with a partner who is equal parts enthusiastic and drunk... [It] is a game that's charming, occasionally frustrating, but mostly just impressive in its raw creativity and spirit."

Humans are pretty narcissistic. We're kind of obsessed with ourselves. And the possibility that we can create sentient life equal to humans from inorganic matter is the fulfillment of some weird power fantasy we have. GPT-3 is the closest we've ever gotten to achieving that.

At this moment, GPT-3 is at the peak of human imagination, a blend of creativity and technological design. How could I not be excited?

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