GPT-3: Intelligent A.I. or Vacant Programming?

Are you scared yet, human?

Tannya Jajal
7 min readSep 14, 2020


A recent article published in the Guardian caught the attention of internet users worldwide. Unlike ordinary works of journalism that go viral, however, this particular piece was not written by a human. In a style that is evocative and attention-grabbing, The Guardian aptly titled it: “A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?”

The “robot” in question is GPT-3, or “Generative Pre-Trained Transformative 3”, OpenAI’s third iteration of an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. GPT-3 was prompted to write an essay to convince humans that robots come in peace.

The looming question is: does GPT-3 truly exhibit intelligence?

Intelligence, Narrow AI and General AI

In order to have a meaningful and nuanced discussion over this topic, we first need to define intelligence.

AI researcher Max Tegmark has, in my view, provided the most succinct and clear definition of intelligence:

intelligence is the ability to accomplish complex goals.

Artificial intelligence can be defined as a broad area of computer science that makes machines seem as though they have human intelligence.

Of course, the discussion today is more sophisticated than that. We need to go a step further and distinguish between artificial narrow intelligence (ANI or Narrow AI) and artificial general intelligence (AGI or General AI).

Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) also known as “Weak” AI is the AI that exists in our world today. Narrow AI is AI that is programmed to perform a single task — whether it’s checking the weather, being able to play chess, or analyzing raw data to write journalistic reports. This is also the sort of AI that we use and interact with on a daily basis: from the recommendation engines we rely on, to virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa.

Though we refer to existing AI and intelligent machines as “weak” AI, we shouldn’t take it for granted. Narrow AI by itself is a great feat in human innovation and intelligence.