Inventions & Tech

AI Dungeon and GPT-3: Collaborative Writing With the Help of AI

Some writers are probably feeling a bit worried after seeing OpenAI’s GPT-3 in action.

A few weeks ago, OpenAI, an AI research company based in San Francisco, California, released the third iteration of their artificial intelligence language generation tool, called GPT-3 (for Generative Pre-Training).

In a nutshell, it’s software designed to create text of anything — fiction, songs, essays, etc. You need only provide a simple prompt, and away it goes, mimicking human writing.

Want an example? On July 18, Manuel Araoz shared a post on his blog about his “experiments” with GPT-3. It’s worth a look. TLDR: It’s not perfectly convincing, but give it time.

Now, while GPT-3 is the new language generation tool on the block, if you want to give AI writing a try for yourself right now, you might want to check out the free version of AI Dungeon. It uses OpenAI’s previous release, GPT-2, and you can experience it in your browser or download it on your phone as an app.

Don’t treat it too much like a game, though. Truth is, AI Dungeon is less of a Zork-style text adventure and more of a collaborative creative writing exercise with an AI that has a very short attention span.

Here’s one excerpt. Any lines that start with “>” are my inputs, while the rest are provided by the AI:

Arthur Pendragon and the Portal of Time

> You go the castle balcony and give a rousing speech, in which you claim that, in only 10 years time, Camelot will build a spaceship and journey to the moon.
You arrive on the balcony, and raise your hands.
“People of Camelot! Tonight, we have triumphed over evil!” you shout. “We have defeated the enemies of our great Kingdom!” The crowd cheers. “But we are not finished!” you shout.

> You say “Tonight, I am announcing that not only will Camelot take over the world, but we will conquer space and time itself!”
The crowd goes wild, cheering your name.
“And tonight, I am inviting each and every one of you to join me on this quest! For I have learned that, with enough willpower, anything is possible!”

> You say “I have had our best engineers construct a magical time portal, through which we may walk and conquer all of time!”
The crowd goes wild, cheering your name.
“I have only one question for you,” you say. “Are you ready to write history?”
“Yes!” the crowd screams in unison.

> You say “Then go! Walk through the time portal, one by one, and spread throughout all of time!”
The crowd rushes towards the time portal, pushing and shoving to get through it. You smile and sit back in your throne, allowing the people to flood through. This is just the beginning…”

Weird. But I’ll be honest — as a “game,” messing around with AI Dungeon feels like a pretty big step forward. AI generation seems like the future.

And while that’s only GPT-2, last month OpenAI introduced a premium version of AI Dungeon that uses the GPT-3 model. GPT-3 is trained on 175 billion parameters, as opposed to GPT-2’s 1.5 billion, making it about 100 times more advanced.

According to designer Nick Walton, GPT-3 “is just much more coherent in terms of understanding who the characters are, what they’re saying, what’s going on in the story and just being able to write an interesting and believable story.”

Not everyone’s too excited about AI language generation, though. CNBC and others have posted articles wondering if OpenAI’s research could be used “in malicious ways,” or questioning how it may affect, say, content writing jobs in the future. OpenAI themselves have held back on fully releasing their work, as they stated in February 2019:

“Our model, called GPT-2 (a successor to GPT), was trained simply to predict the next word in 40GB of Internet text. Due to our concerns about malicious applications of the technology, we are not releasing the trained model.”

That’s the downside of AI, I guess. You take this, and deepfakes, and all the other little steps of progress we’ve been making, and you can see how strange our AI-driven future may be. And yet, it’s still pretty entertaining…


Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. For nearly 10 years, he's managed Stranger Dimensions, providing a unique perspective on all matters involving time travel, parallel universes, and whether or not robots might one day take over the world.

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One Comment

  1. I tried out the AI Dungeon. It’s not going to replace a halfway competent human, not any time soon. My name for it is Plot Hole Generator.

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