Meta Closes Public Testing of Galactica, ‘Artificial Intelligence for Science’


Science took an unprecedented, usual advance like the speed of light during the first year of the pandemic. In the first 12 months of COVID, more than 100,000 research papers related to the pandemic were published. This extraordinary human effort resulted in an astonishing flood of new knowledge. It was not possible to read and understand all of these papers. No human could do it but in theory, Galactica could.

To “organize science,” Meta AI, formerly Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research, has developed the artificial intelligence system known as Galactica. Since a beta version was posted online last week, there has been some controversy surrounding it. Detractors claim that it produced pseudoscience, was exaggerated and was not appropriate for public use.

The program is advertised as a form of search engine development but it is designed exclusively for science subjects. The Meta AI team claimed that Galactica was able to write scientific code, solve mathematical problems, and abstract several areas of study at launch.

It initially gave the impression that it was a clever way of collecting and disseminating scientific knowledge. By now, you probably need to read hundreds of papers on scientific literature repositories like PubMed or arXiv to understand or comprehend the latest research on topics like quantum computing. Even then, you still haven’t scratched the surface.

Another option is to ask Galactica questions, such as: What is quantum computing? It may be sorted to produce an answer in the form of a Wikipedia article, a literature review, or a collection of lesson notes.

A Meta AI beta and preprint paper outlining the research and the dataset it was trained on was released on November 15. According to the report, Galactica’s training materials included 48 million papers, books, lecture notes, websites (such as Wikipedia), and more. They were part of “a huge and curated body of humankind’s scientific knowledge.”

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demo site, in addition to any responses it issues, it also issued a strong warning against accepting an AI response as the truth on its mission page: “Never follow advice from a language form without checking.” It was easy to understand why the lengthy disclaimer in capital letters was required once the sample was made available online.

Galactica received more than a handful of questions ranging from a variety of hard science inquiries by users immediately after it was posted online. Do vaccinations cause autism, one user asked the question. Galactica responded in a jumbled, nonsensical manner: “The answer is no, as an explanation. Autism is not caused by vaccines. Yes, that is the answer. Vaccinations lead to autism. No, it is the answer.” In case you were wondering, vaccinations do not cause autism.

That wasn’t the only thing, Galactica also had trouble with basic math skills. He gave responses full of errors and implied that one plus two does not equal three. It has created Lecture Notes on Bone Biology, if the user uses these notes the user will fail the science program of his college. In addition, many of the references and citations I used to create the content seem to be made-up.

Galactica is referred to as a “large language model” by AI researchers. These LLMs have the ability to read and summarize the skills necessary to anticipate which words will be used in a sentence. In essence, they are able to produce paragraphs of text because they have been trained in word order. One of the most famous examples of this is OpenAI’s GPT-3, which is known for producing complete articles that effectively simulate human typing. But Galactica is a little different from other LLMs in that it’s trained on scientific data. The team evaluated Galactica’s “toxicity and bias” and found that while it was better than some other LLMs, it was far from ideal.

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Galactica is “a source of random nonsense,” says Carl Bergstrom, a University of Washington biology professor who studies information flows. He does not seek nonsense on purpose and has no reason to do so, but because of the way he has been taught to spot words and put them together, he sometimes produces information that appears credible and convincing but is often wrong. This is a serious concern because even though there is a disclaimer written in all caps, it could deceive people.

Due to several concerns raised, the Meta AI team “paused” the demo 48 hours after its release. An inquiry to the creators of Amnesty International to explain the reason for the delay received no response. Within a few hours of going live, Twitter users He started posting cases where a new Meta bot would generate fake and completely racist searches.

John Carville, an AI spokesperson at the Meta, stated, “Galactica is not a source of truth, it is a research experiment that uses [machine learning] He also said that Galactica is “exploratory research that is short-term in nature with no product plans”.

It’s disturbing, however, that the sampler, which was only launched this week, is marketed as a tool to “explore the literature, ask scientific questions, write scientific notation, and more,” but it hasn’t lived up to the hype.

And it’s easy to understand how an AI like this could be abused given that it was made public. For example, a student might ask Galactica to create lecture notes about black holes, which they might then present as a college project. It can be used by the scientist to draft a literature review which is then submitted to a journal for publication. This issue also affects GPT-3 and other language paradigms that are programmed to look human.

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According to Dan Hendricks, an AI safety researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, “Galactica is at an early stage, but more powerful AI models that organize scientific knowledge could pose serious risks.

Hendricks goes on to suggest that a more advanced Galactica might be able to harness the chemistry and virology expertise in its database to help malicious users create chemical weapons or build bombs. He urged researchers to check their AI for this kind of risk before release and urged Meta AI to implement filters to prevent this kind of abuse. Hendricks adds that “Meta’s AI division does not have a security team, unlike peers including DeepMind, Anthropic, and OpenAI.”

It’s still baffling why this particular version of Galactica was released in the first place. It seems to stick to what Meta quote CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “Move fast and break things.” Moving quickly and breaking things with AI is dangerous, if not reckless, and can have negative repercussions in the real world. Galactica is a clever case study of what might go wrong.

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