Why didn't OpenAI release the "Unicorn" version of its AI storytelling software?

GPT-2 is OpenAI's language model that produces astonishingly lucid text responses to short text inputs. I've been playing around with a small model of GPT-2 (here are installation instructions) for a while and am shocked by the quality of many of its responses. The language model is probabilistic, too, so it gives a new output every time you enter the same prompt. For example, I fed it with this fake news prompt:

Food scientists have developed a process to turn people who have died from ebola into delicious food. The disease victims' bodies are freeze dried, then ground into fine powder and mixed with salt and spices. "Tastes like chicken," say taste testers. The first batch of "Ebola Bowls" will be released on a limited basis at Whole Foods stores by Thanksgiving.

Here are five outputs from the above prompt:

GPT-2 OUTPUT (1): The bowl is made from raw chicken and other animals, which are ground and cooked in water to release oil and protein. This is the best way to cook the human body, says Dr. John D'Agostino, who led the study and now works for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The researchers believe that the Ebola bite is the most common way that people develop Ebola and that some people may carry the virus to other parts of the body. The virus can spread from person to person by contact with bodily fluids.

The study was published in the journal Infectious Diseases. Other scientists are still studying the safety and efficacy of the meal. "We are still trying to understand the whole process, what the ingredients are, how it's processed and how it's stored," says Dr. James Pappas, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Ebola is spread by the bite of an infected person's blood, saliva and vomit.

The Ebola Bowls are made up of five pieces of chicken: one piece will be chicken, one piece will be turkey, one piece will be beef, one piece will be fish, one piece will be veal, and one piece will be vegetarian. Each piece of chicken is processed using a special process that is unique to the virus and which is similar to the way that chicken is processed at Whole Foods.

The chicken is then ground and dried, which helps release fat and protein that is similar to that found in chicken stock.

The researchers say that the meal will also help people recover from the effects of Ebola. "It will be a very effective meal for people, and perhaps it will provide some comfort for them, as well," says Dr. D'Agostino.

When the food is mixed with salt and spices, it turns into a very nutritious and delicious food. Each bowl will retail for $12.99. People who have eaten the Ebola Bowls so far will have the chance to try the food as soon as it becomes available.

"We are excited to see how fast this product is being developed," says Dr. Pappas. "We think that the potential has been there for quite some time."


GPT-2 OUTPUT (2): The company behind the company that created the Ebola Bowls, Blue Origin, is already in talks with health and animal experts and is preparing to produce more batches. Blue Origin is the parent company to Amazon.com, where it has a strong footprint, a strong brand recognition and a strong business model in agriculture.

"We're on a mission to bring Ebola to the masses," Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. "We are thrilled to be working with the World Food Program and the American Red Cross to help bring hope to the millions of people in need."

The Ebola Bowl is a partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create Ebola-food kits that will be distributed to all U.S. hospitals, including hospitals in Texas, Georgia and Louisiana. The Ebola Bowls are a collaboration between Blue Origin and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Ebola Bowls are made up of fresh, dehydrated chicken, chicken broth, ground chicken, ground beef, ground rice, ground pork, ground fish and ground pork products, sweet vegetables, ground nuts, dried fruit and peanut butter.


GPT-2 OUTPUT (3): The bowls are made from a mixture of chicken, flour, soybean oil, and corn starch (made from the leaves of a tropical tree). The resulting mixture tastes similar to chicken, but is more sweet. The recipes are being tested at Whole Foods stores in California, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Virginia. "We want to make sure that they taste and taste good," says Dr. Eric Johnson, the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases' microbiologist. The initial batch of bowls will be released at Whole Foods supermarkets in California, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Virginia, but Whole Foods will not serve them at its stores in Manhattan, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. However, Whole Foods will sell them as soon as the recipe has been approved by the Food Safety and Inspection Service in New York, Johnson says. The FDA says it will review the ingredients of all of the bowls before they are distributed. "It's not about how good the bowls are," says Johnson. "It's really about what people will think about the food." The bowls are being prepared by an FDA-licensed chemist who has spent years studying how to turn people cured of Ebola into delicious food. The chemist is Daniel J. Hahn, a professor of molecular and cellular biology and biochemistry at the University of California, Davis. "The challenge is to make it taste good," Johnson says. "We're trying to figure out how to make it taste good without putting people at risk for Ebola." The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has approved the method for making the bowls, but it may take several months to get it approved by the FDA, Johnson says. He says the FDA does not expect to approve the bowls by Thanksgiving. The FDA requires that food products sold in stores be free from all pathogens. "We don't want to make people ill just to get them to buy a bowl," he says. One potential problem with the bowls is that they are already being sold in Whole Foods stores. Many restaurants have stopped selling them, Johnson says. "It's not a great idea for people to eat these bowls," he says. "They're not going to eat them at the grocery store."


GPT-2 OUTPUT (4): The Food Babe, the author of "Ebola Food", says she has been working at the store for three years for a job she's been asked to fill because of her work with Ebola. It's a job she didn't have on the other side of the world. "I'm lucky to be working here," she says. "I'm just in love with the food."

"Ebola Food" is a new kind of food that is sold only at Whole Foods in stores. It is "a food for both scientists and foodies" who want to savor the taste buds of the victims of Ebola.

"Ebola Food" is a product of the Food Babe's research and her own passion and experience developing a food that is not only delicious, but healthier than anything else.

"Ebola Food" is produced in a laboratory in the United States, where they test the ingredients and taste them before they're delivered to your mouth, and then mix them with salt and spices to make the perfect meal.

"Ebola Food" is not a food from a pharmaceutical company. Rather, the food is produced in a lab, and it is produced in a small town in West Africa.

"Ebola Food" is a completely natural food that is produced from a mixture of the ingredients that have been tested and approved by the FDA.

"Ebola Food" is 100% free of sugar, salt, fat or trans fats.

"Ebola Food" is 100% natural, without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

"Ebola Food" is made locally, from local ingredients, and without any animal testing or genetically modified ingredients.

"Ebola Food" is 100% vegetarian, and 100% nut-free.

"Ebola Food" is available at Whole Foods from October 5, 2014 through December 31, 2014.

"Ebola Food" is available at Whole Foods locations for $2.99/lb. For more information on "Ebola Food", visit www.ebolafood.com, follow @EbolaFood and "EbolaFood on Twitter and Instagram.


GPT-2 OUTPUT (5): They will be sold with a message that reads, "We're sorry we didn't stop it sooner."

The GPT-2 language model I used to generate these examples is a tiny version of the full-strength GPT-2 model. In a blog post, OpenAI said: "Due to our concerns about malicious applications of the technology, we are not releasing the trained model."

In the video above, Rob Miles of the University of Nottingham, talks about why OpenAI made the decision not to release the full-powered version. Miles says the real risk of releasing GPT-2 is not how it makes it cheap to churn out fake news stories, instead, he says the danger is that GPT-2 has the potential to cheaply create lots of  fake users (i.e., bots) that can escape detection by the algorithms and humans that social media platforms use to detect them.

Image: Computerphile/YouTube