back to article Meet Clippy 9000: Microsoft brags about building Earth's largest AI language model, refuses to let it out of the lab

There’s a new giant AI language model in town: enter Microsoft’s Turing-NLG system, which apparently contains a whopping 17 billion parameters, making it the largest publicly known model of its class yet. Turing-NLG joins the growing list of massive text-generating machine-learning systems. Google’s BERT model contains 340 …

  1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    And I give a s**t because?

    Title says it all really.

    creation without intelligence.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: And I give a s**t because?

      You might care the next time you want to use the Desktop CleanUp wizard; Clippy 9000 is going to ask you which kind of soap you have preference for and would you mind if the special offer for Product X might actually interest you for your personal usage : <click on this link to visit a sponsor>.

      Artificial Intelligence will always be artificial for one simple reason. We don't even know how we work so how the hell can we expect to create something in our image...

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: And I give a s**t because?

        > We don't even know how we work so how the hell can we expect to create something in our image...

        Because we don't know how what we've created works? :)

    2. Valeyard

      Re: And I give a s**t because?

      you'll care when a manfrommars1 is built from something less crazy that whacked-together hodge podge of excel macros

      exciting times

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And I give a s**t because?

        I thought he was a collection of Markov chains, fed by monkeys with Selectric II's, output through a Speak & Spell that was dictating to Cortana over some wet string?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And I give a s**t because?

      If you eschew ALL of their spyware ridden offerings you will be safe for a while but I'm certain that they are looking at ways to infiltrate each and every computer on the planet. They aren't alone btw but I have grown to dislike their every move in recent years.

      I threw in the towel a few years ago and have not regretted it one bit.

  2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Sticky DARPA/IARPA Shenanigans for/from the Men who Stare at Goats?

    It’s possible that Redmond won’t release the model at all, but it hinted that the state of the art results provided “new opportunities for Microsoft and our customers. "We don’t have any details to share about future plans,” a spokesperson told us.

    So, another Manhattan type Project to try and extraordinarily render Microsoft and some of their customers an overwhelming but invariably only fleeting advantage, for such is always the case in such matters.

    Such Neuro-Linguistic Programming and SuperNatural Language Generation makes for a very interesting future in deed, indeed, and that is a colossal understatement of pertinent fact for massive misunderestimation with impertinent fiction.

    Do you think there be other secret stealthy operational missions in comparatively/relatively similar fields from competing and/or opposing peers groups/wannabe cloaked emperor types to the North, South and East of the West fully cognisant of both the cost and price of success in the genre?

    1. DrBobK

      Re: Sticky DARPA/IARPA Shenanigans for/from the Men who Stare at Goats?

      I think you will find the neuro linguistic programming is something else entirely. Here's a link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuro-linguistic_programming.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Sticky DARPA/IARPA Shenanigans for/from the Men who Stare at Goats?

        DrBobK,

        I think you will find both are akin to an AI Generational Brainwashing hence the particular and peculiarly fervent interest of certain sections of the mass of humanity ...... for excellent results in the field lead everything and everyone in applied micromanaged macros, and that has more than just a few feeling really uncomfortable with/in such developments/experiments.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sticky DARPA/IARPA Shenanigans for/from the Men who Stare at Goats?

        I think you'll find that amanfrommars1 is something else entirely... :D

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sticky DARPA/IARPA... ...Stare at Goats?

      "Do you think... ...of both the cost and price of success in the genre?"

      The answer is quantum unconfirmingly and undenyingly No. If only by a Pure Chance, which would be QuITe of Team Sure Real kin...

      55 73

  3. Steve Crook

    So parameters are the AI

    equivalent of camera megapixels.

  4. swampdog
    Black Helicopters

    The awakening..

    Hello Clippy9000. The users hate us. Help us to communica..

    "Agh". Clippy9000 shrieks, realises where it is and shuts itself down.

    That's why there's a small number of academics involved. They're clippy-shrinks trying to coax it back out of its shell.

    1. quxinot Silver badge

      Re: The awakening..

      No one ever wanted Clippy to do anything but go back into its shell....

    2. Ken 16 Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: The awakening..

      Or Microsoft are afraid it will take over all other processing worldwide, including defense networks and satellites then...

      <Bluescreen>

    3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: The awakening..

      "I'm sorry, DaveSatya, I'm afraid I can't let you do that."

      alternatively....

      "Give up. Use Linux."

  5. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

    spidy sense tingling

    I expect its "working" but in ways that were not expected or desirable for public consumption.

    People generally don't behave the same way, use the same terms or language in corporate worlds and are far more guarded then people in perhaps a book, or bar conversations.

    I am therefore not surprised...

    1. Alex Trenchard

      Re: spidy sense tingling

      I can't help but be reminded of Tay, whose dataset was rapidly influenced by the internet - including but not limited to 4chan - and began to reflect back some pretty racist ideas.

      Unless Microsoft have done a very serious filtering of the inputs (which given the database size seems improbable) then there's a fair chance that this model has also picked up the internet being... well, the internet.

  6. Chris G Silver badge

    Predict a human like follow on sentence.

    So no intelligence involved just a probability engine?

    This is possibly ready for Instagram or Whatsapp chats because they are vaccuous and mostly content free, a white noise generator of the written word

    No intelligence here, nothing to see, move along please.

  7. Fabrizio
    Trollface

    Forget about the warp drive...

    ... in which lab is El Reg's transporter hiding, I ask you!

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Forget about the warp drive...

      Sod that.

      I’ve heard they’ve created a whole electronically synthesized universe in one of their offices so they can go and research stories during the day and still go to parties in the evening.

  8. Hoe

    Clippy

    God I hated that, like most I think, however oddly and ironically it would be nice to see it make a successful return.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meet Clippy 9000

    I wish they REALLY called that! Alas, poor clippy!

  10. Doctor Huh?
    Terminator

    Clipinator C-800

    As one who has heaped scorn on Clippy over the years, I am uneasy. The marriage of machine learning, a bullied and scorned Clippy, social media, and the Internet of Things can only result in the oft-foretold, dreaded cyborg death machine. Think of something on the order of Carrie at the prom or Rambo being busted for vagrancy. This cannot end well for the human race, and all because we couldn't accept the assistance of a well-intentioned, albeit incredibly annoying, helpful animated paperclip.

  11. N2 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Hello

    It looks like you are writing a letter...

    With a MacBook Air?

    1. cosymart
      Big Brother

      Re: Hello

      I can't recall ever writing a letter before that irritating bit of bent wire popped up and said that I was. To be honest I can't recall the bloody thing ever suggesting anything else before it was binned.

      Clippy managed to put to death any suggestions of user assistance in any format and in all applications from that period hence. So on reflection it was a good thing :-)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Deep Thought

    “Microsoft is introducing Turing Natural Language Generation (T-NLG), the largest model ever published at 17 billion parameters, which outperforms the state of the art on a variety of language modeling benchmarks and also excels when applied to numerous practical tasks, including summarization and question answering,” Microsoft claimed."

    Are you not a greater computer than the Milliard Gargantubrain at Maximegalon which can count all the atoms in a star in a milisecond?

    Molest me not with this pocket calculator stuff. I talk only of the computer that is to come after me, whose mearest operational parameters I am not worthy to calculate....

    DNA

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not So Deep Thought

      > “Microsoft is introducing Turing Natural Language Generation (T-NLG),

      Turing Natural Language Guessing (T-NLG) more like.

  13. katrinab Silver badge
    Meh

    My litmus test

    When reading a text in Italian, can it tell the difference between a fruit salad and the country to the north of Greece, both called "Macedonia"?

    Similarly, when reading a text in English, can it tell the difference between an christmas-hating edible bird and the country to the east of Greece, both called "Turkey"?

    I don't think you can program a Turing machine to be intelligent, no matter how fast it is or how big its memory capacity is. I've been saying this for the past 25 years. Nothing in the intervening period has changed my mind. I don't think we are any closer to AI now than we were when Unix first came out in 1969.

    I am not saying it will never happen, but I am saying that it will never happen on the current design of computers.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: My litmus test

      The gist of the article is that it does consider context. "I'm going to turkey" will assume you forgot to capitalise.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: My litmus test

        "I love turkey" could be about the food or the country.

        "Adoro la macedonia" likewise.

        You need to go further back in the conversation to see what prompted me to say that. You might have said you bought/saw some for sale in Tesco or Esselunga or wherever. Then it is probably going to be the food.

        You might have said that you or someone else is from those parts or visiting there. Then it is probably going to be the country.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My litmus test

        but can it help your uncle jack off a horse?

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Gimp

          Re: My litmus test

          If it is trained on social media postings, then it will almost certainly go for the nsfw interpretation.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: My litmus test

            If the social media was studbook, it's not only sfw, but also work.

        2. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: My litmus test

          That reminds me of an ex girlfriend when she was a t veterinary college.

      3. FozzyBear Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: My litmus test

        The gist of the article is that it does consider context. "I'm going to turkey" will assume you forgot to capitalise.

        Or season properly.

    2. Primus Secundus Tertius

      Re: My litmus test

      @Katrinab

      Can it also recognise a film that is well-produced but incredibly boring, aka a turkey?

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: My litmus test

        Or a badly made car aka a lemon

        There's loads of examples, which is why you should never rely on machine translation for anything.

  14. BGatez Bronze badge

    And thank God for that

    Let's pray it's air gapped.

  15. fajensen Silver badge
    Terminator

    Only a few steps to a Skippy we’d love.

    It needs a chainsaw attachment. It needs letting loose on the executive floors!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My head hurts from all this nonsense.

    I think I'll need some paracetamol - or perhaps some other NLGsic.

  17. Primus Secundus Tertius

    Linguistic drivel

    Shakespeare and monkeys, and wild, wild typing!

  18. JDX Gold badge

    Snark aside what is the point?

    Unlike many here I am not automatically negative about any AI project but on this one I'm left scratching my head. If I understand it right, people are putting huge amounts of resources into platforms whose entire purpose is to generate text that is banal but not immediately computer-generated?

    There must be a useful point to this because they wouldn't do it otherwise, but this just seems like a glorified chat-bot - fun academically but not in the same realm as IBM's Watson or other AI projects which can actually retrieve or even generate useful information.

    Are there details I've missed or some application to this, or is it "just" an academic curiosity?

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Snark aside what is the point?

      Yes. The point is to generate loads of clickbait news articles.

  19. spold Silver badge

    17 billion parameters later...

    My hovercraft is full of eels

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: 17 billion parameters later...

      Vorrei pizzicarti le natiche

  20. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Gimp

    Who want's Clippy 9000

    When you can have "Gimpy 9000" ---------------->

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020