Busted: A bot powered by OpenAI’s powerful GPT-3 language model has been unmasked after a week of posting comments on Reddit. Under the username /u/thegentlemetre, the bot was interacting with people on /r/AskReddit, a popular forum for general chat with 30 million users. It was posting in bursts of roughly once a minute.
Fooled ya—again: It’s not the first time GPT-3 has fooled people into thinking what it writes comes from a human. In August a college student published a blog post that hit the top spot on Hacker News and led a handful of people to subscribe. And GPT-3 has been used to compose several articles about itself, though these typically end with a human-written disclaimer. But the bot presented as a regular Redditor and published hundreds of comments before being spotted.
Detective work: The bot’s prodigious posting caught the attention of Philip Winston, who describes on his blog
A Reddit user went on an impressive comment streak last week. The user stuck to the pages of the mega-popular AskReddit subforum, and their responses were relatively elaborate. But the length of the replies was especially unusual in that they were sometimes coming within a minute of the question first being asked. After an impressive run, the user was revealed to be a bot using OpenAI’s remarkable language model GPT-3. And now we’re looking at every “person” online with an extra level of skepticism.
The bot first gained attention when writer/entrepreneur Philip Winston posted about his journey down the comment rabbit hole on his blog on Tuesday. Winston wrote that he first noticed a now-deleted post on Reddit that expressed incredulity at the length and speed of the replies coming from a user with the handle thegentlemetre.