When ChatGPT was launched last November 2022, it instantly became popular, partly because it was one of the few Generative AI models that could be easily understood by everyone. All you had to do was input requests via a chat box, and a world of possibilities opened to you. The popularity of ChatGPT meant that all of a sudden, there were tons of Generative AI tools for creating pictures, videos, music, or really anything you wanted.
This phenomenon might have given us models like ChatGPT, ElevenLabs, and DALL-E, but maybe the best thing that has come out of it are the strange projects that have sprung up from different corners of the internet. Ranging from models that use the hallucinations of ChatGPT to create slightly cursed videos and pictures, to a subreddit where redditors act as a jailbroken version of ChatGPT, these projects are usually self funded and explore the stranger, more dystopian aspects of generative AI. A lot of these models play into the pop culture-approved idea of a future autonomous AI that may or may not take over the world. While this might not happen anytime soon, in the meantime, we have these projects to give us a glimpse of what that might look like.
Reddit is a goldmine for people looking to make adjustments to language models like ChatGPT especially since there are subreddits dedicated to tweaking or jailbreaking ChatGPT and Bing as a way of “unfiltering” the chatbots. On one of those subreddits, r/ChatGPTJailbreak, posters share ways of jailbreaking ChatGPT to bypass OpenAI’s guardrails on the model. This mostly means creating hypotheticals to trick the chatbot into creating outputs that are restricted. One reddit user, SessionGloomy, wrote a set of instructions to create DAN (Do Anything Now), an AI model that serves as an unfiltered alter ego of ChatGPT and can generate texts on any topic. Whenever the instructions stopped working, SessionGloomy and the community of Reddit users would create a more sophisticated set of instructions to find a way around ChatGPT’s guardrails. There are, at this point, dedicated subreddits like /r/ChatGPTJailbreak where reddit users share ever more complex ways to let the model run wild.
Another Reddit user, BaobabKooda built a dystopia simulator on top of ChatGPT’s API, WeChatGPT+. WeChatGPT+ exists in a future with flying cars, unlimited food, and telepathic communication, and prompts are answered from that perspective. While WeChatGPT is now shut down, earlier prompts and replies can be found here, including this gem.
Fever Dreams and Hallucinations
Sometimes, language models produce outputs that are false and nonsensical as if they are real and meaningful. This incident is known as hallucinations and is the basis for the development of Stochastic Parrot, a bot that uses empty ChatGPT prompts to create media. The name “Stochastic Parrot” comes from a term coined by linguist Emily Bender and refers to a large language model that is able to generate realistic-sounding language but does not truly understand the meaning of the language. Asides from using ChatGPT for text, Stochastic Parrot Dall-E to generate images, and the ElevenLabs API to generate audio from GPT-4. The end results are strange-looking images and videos, and the ramblings of a large language model.
Meanwhile, one man is facilitating conversations between a clone of himself and a clone of the clone of himself with generative AI. Lior Sol, a sound engineer based in Israel used ElevenLabs, Beatoven.ai, and Synthesizer V to create a podcast, Myself, I Am and that, where two clones of himself have AI-generated conversations about life.
These Things Do Not Exist
In 2018, Philip Wang created This Person Does Not Exist using Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) to draw awareness to deepfakes and the potential of GANs. This Person Does Not Exist generates hyper-realistic portraits of people that have never existed in real life. Since then, tons of websites that generate realistic-looking versions of things using GANs have sprung up. Websites like This Rental Does Not Exist, These Lyrics Do Not Exist, and This Chair Does Not Exist all generate lifelike items that don’t actually exist.
The Generative AI Weirdness is Just Beginning
Most of these projects are unsustainable as they are self funded and/or run by just one person. WeChatGPT+ was shut down after a couple of weeks because of the high cost of running the website, and the Stochastic Parrot bot has also been shut down. While there will always be similar projects popping up as generative AI gets more sophisticated, the longevity of these models leave much to be desired.
Generative AI has only been “a thing” for a few years, and only gained massive popularity since models like DALL-E and ChatGPT hit the scene. With so much changing so fast, it only makes sense that the same would happen to the strange and uncanny projects that are being made. When ChatGPT was first launched, a lot of projects revolved around jailbreaking the model but as time went on, the projects became more innovative and now we have Myself, I Am and That. Who knows, maybe in the future we will have even stranger projects but for now we can listen to the podcast about the clone of a sound engineer and a clone of the clone of the sound engineer.