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Uncensored Chatbots Provoke a Fracas Over Free Speech


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A.I. chatbots have lied about notable figures, pushed partisan messages, spewed misinformation or even advised users on how to commit suicide.

To mitigate the tools’ most obvious dangers, companies like Google and OpenAI have carefully added controls that limit what the tools can say.

Now a new wave of chatbots, developed far from the epicenter of the A.I. boom, are coming online without many of those guardrails — setting off a polarizing free-speech debate over whether chatbots should be moderated, and who should decide.

“This is about ownership and control,” Eric Hartford, a developer behind WizardLM-Uncensored, an unmoderated chatbot, wrote in a blog post. “If I ask my model a question, I want an answer, I do not want it arguing with me.”

Several uncensored and loosely moderated chatbots have sprung to life in recent months under names like GPT4All and FreedomGPT. Many were created for little or no money by independent programmers or teams of volunteers, who successfully replicated the methods first described by A.I. researchers. Only a few groups made their models…



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