Here’s something you probably won’t do today: install a large language model (LLM) chat application on your PC. That’s okay, I did it for you – in about 10 minutes.
The results (which are awesome, BTW) are nothing compared to the unintended consequences.
I didn’t install a version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT; I installed two leaked large language models: Meta’s LLaMA and Alpaca. Then, I installed an app called Dalai that I found on Github. (Dalai LLaMA. Get it?)
Here’s the crazy part: it’s good. Really good. In fact, this small experiment demonstrates that manageable versions of conversational AI apps can run on very modest hardware. I’m getting respectable performance on my $15,000 gaming PC, but also on my M1 MacBook Pro. (Yes, I installed it on two machines).
It gets crazier. There’s no one to tell me what I can or cannot train this model on, and there’s no one imposing any content restrictions, like only training a model on outdated information.
I can’t predict the future any better than you can, but think back to the early 1980s when personal computers began transforming our society. In less than 40 years, we’ve networked the planet, weaponized information technology, and completely changed the way we communicate and interact with each other. In this case, when I say “we,” I mean each and every one of us has contributed to the transformation. Importantly, during this time, the role of information gatekeeper was also dramatically transformed.
The current version of conversational AI has only been available to the general public since November 2022. Until this morning, I would have been comfortable saying that OpenAI, Meta, Google, and other big tech companies were going to control access to the leading edge of this technology for the foreseeable future.
It’s 9:00 a.m. ET on March 20, 2023, and I am now pretty sure that inspired individuals with a laptop and a Starbucks card (for access to WiFi and coffee) are going to create LLM-based applications as quickly as they can type. Take a moment to think about this.
Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.