by Andrew Cochran

The AI text generator GPT-2 is now available. The complete code and associated data were released by OpenAI, the California AI lab that created the model.

The algorithm extrapolates text from a prompt phrase or sentence.

OpenAI made headlines for GPT-2 in February when its initial release withheld much of the underlying data. The company said the model was ‘too dangerous’ to make available in its entirety.’ Subsequent updates provided progressively larger pieces.

Concern centred on bad actors using GPT-2 to generate convincing deceitful narratives, for example, for news fakery or flooding websites with adverse reviews.

Early reviews of GPT-2 storytelling are mixed. Some commentators say the text is convincing. Others focus on how coherence deteriorates as more words are generated. You can try out the full-strength version on an independent website,

A study at Cornell University gives the full model a credibility score of 6.91 out of 10 points. OpenAI says its decision to release the complete version was influenced by this score not changing significantly from its previous release.

The company has noticed ‘no strong evidence of misuse so far,’ but ‘humans find GPT-2 outputs convincing.’ Still, they warn ‘GPT-2 can be fine-tuned for misuse,’ and the text it creates can be ‘challenging’ to detect.

OpenAI has created a detection model to combat malicious uses of their model. ZDNet and The Verge report the OpenAI counter-model has reached about 95% effectiveness. OpenAI continues to encourage increased human vigilance regarding possible deceptions.

The original decision to phase the release of GPT-2 split opinions in the AI research community. Nine months elapsed between the initial and full release.

Some argued it was a publicity stunt, counter to conventional practices of releasing source materials to assist research efforts by others. Others believed it was responsible practice given the potential for abuse and its consequences.

Either way, the interval provided OpenAI a head-start to study possible uses of the full model.


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