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This Philosopher AI has its own existential questions to answer

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A new Philosopher AI could help you find meaning in a meaningless world — as long as you don’t ask it any controversial questions.

The system provides musings on subjects that have plagued humanity since its inception. You can ask it about a topic that’s filling you with existential angst. It then uses OpenAI‘s GPT-3 text generator to analyze your text and spit back a life-affirming/soul-destroying response.

The system is the brainchild of a Vancouver-based programmer called Murat Ayfer, who describes it as an experiment in “prompt engineering.” Ayfer admits the AI doesn’t have any specific opinions or knowledge of its own. Instead, it “merely mimics opinions,” which means it will sometimes produce conflicting responses to identical questions.

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I tested whether the Philosopher AI could resolve my own existential crisis. But the system was reluctant to reveal its thoughts on any sensitive subject.

Politicized philosophy?

The Philosopher AI is generally comfortable contemplating common existential issues. Take this response to the most fundamental philosophical question of them all: what is the meaning of life?