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Aug 6, 2022

How GPT-3 Wrote a Movie About a Cockroach-AI Love Story

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, entertainment, internet, robotics/AI

In artist Miao Ying’s animated film Surplus Intelligence, a cockroach falls in love with the artificial intelligence responsible for monitoring her behavior. There’s only one problem: The AI, personified as a man with movie-star looks, committed a crime in Walden XII, the quasi-medieval fantasyland where the story is set. He stole the village’s power stone, and so the roach sets off to mine bitcoin to save him.

Viewers might see in the plot a metaphor for the conflicted relationship some Chinese people have with social credit scoring, which is meant to nudge citizens toward better behavior. Or it could be a nod to the insidious ways social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook condition our behavior and mine us for data. If the tale itself seems a little ridiculous at times, that’s because Miao had a stealth collaborator: the AI text-generating system GPT-3, which wrote the script for the film. That power stone in the village? GPT-3 determined that it looks like “a burrito from Mexico,” perhaps a side effect of all the advertising copy GPT-3 has been tasked with writing.

The half-hour film is on view through the end of the year at the Asia Society in New York as part of the exhibition Mirror Image: A Transformation of Chinese Identity. “All of Miao Ying’s work is a satirical look at what digital means in China,” says Barbara Pollack, who curated Mirror Image and wrote the book Brand New Art from China. But, she notes, the works also celebrate the creativity the policies inspire in its citizens. Miao’s Hardcore Digital Detox (2018) challenges viewers to experience the internet behind the Great Firewall—and without the filter bubbles that platforms in the East and West impose. Chinternet Plus (2016) describes how to brand a “counterfeit ideology.” And for 2007’s Blind Spot, Miao manually annotated a Chinese dictionary to indicate all of the words that were censored on Google.cn at the time.

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