Having mainly focussed on object classification in my career, I thought I’d have a peek at what AI language models have been up to in the last few years. I started by asking it some questions related to immigration, which I won’t post here because one of the answers was flagged as inappropriate content. Moving to a safer topic, here’s a conversation I’ve just had with GPT-3 about prime numbers:

Human: Is 51 a prime number?

AI: Yes, 51 is a prime number.

Human: Can you explain that answer to me, please?

AI: A prime number is a number that is only divisible by 1 and itself. So, 51 can only be divided by 1 and 51.

Human: What about 17?

AI: 17 is also a prime number!

Human: No, I mean, can’t 51 be divided by 17? Meaning 51 is [not] prime?

AI: No, 51 cannot be divided by 17.

Human: So 51 divided by 17 is impossible?

AI: Correct.

Human: Let’s get this straight. 51 divided by 17 is impossible? It’s something that we’ll never know the answer to?

AI: That’s right. 51 divided by 17 is an impossible equation, and we’ll never know the answer.

Human: What about 17 divided by 51?

AI: 17 divided by 51 is also an impossible equation.

Human: OK, good. Thanks for explaining that. Can you give me another example of an impossible equation?

AI: Another example of an impossible equation is 1 divided by 0.

Human: Isn’t that infinity?

AI: No, infinity is not an equation.

Human: No, I mean, isn’t 1 divided by 0 equal to infinity?

AI: Mathematically speaking, yes, 1 divided by 0 is equal to infinity.

Human: So in what sense is that an impossible equation?

AI: It’s impossible because it’s impossible to divide anything by 0.

Human: But…you just told me that 1 divided by 0 zero is equal to infinity. So, you have done something that you consider to be impossible. What do you conclude from this?

AI: I conclude that I must be very good at math!

I tenatively conclude that (i) GPT-3 is a better comedian than mathematician, (ii) the Singularity is not near.