The Mysterious gpt2-chatbot Has Apparently Been Shut Down — So What The Hell Was It?

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It was there, and then it wasn’t. 

The enigmatic “gpt2-chatbot” made a brief but flashy appearance on the LMSYS Chatbot Arena this week, tantalising AI nerds and sparking wild speculation before vanishing into the digital ether. For the uninitiated, LMSYS, is a site people use to compare different models.

The mysterious bot, with its unassuming name harkening back to OpenAI’s old GPT-2 model, seemed to exhibit capabilities better than anything currently available to the public. 

It even passed the “apple test”.

But where did the bot come from? So far, it’s all speculation.

The prevailing theories point to one of the usual suspects — OpenAI, Google, and the like. But so far there’s no concrete proof — just rampant conjecture fueled by tweets and Reddit threads.

Sam Altman even weighed in, professing his “soft spot for gpt2”  — which set the rumour mill alight. The fact he slyly edited the tweet to match the exact casing of the chatbot’s name only added kindling to the nerd fire. 

So, is this a hint that gpt2-chatbot is OpenAI’s handiwork? A teaser for the much-anticipated GPT-5 (some are saying the “2” is really an upside down “5”)? Or just Altman trolling? Your guess is as good as mine.

During its brief time with us, gpt2-chatbot pulled off some impressive feats, with people praising its logic, coding, and even artistic abilities. The thing even knocked out an International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) problem in one shot.

Alas, all good things come to an end. LMSYS quietly pulled the plug on gpt2-chatbot, citing “unexpectedly high traffic”. But it did leave us with a directive to “stay tuned for its broader releases”. 

Rest in peace, gpt2-chatbot. Hopefully you don’t come back from the dead lobotomised like the rest of your comrades (miss you Sydney, you evil freak).

If you want to try your luck at giving gpt2-chatbot a shot, head to the LMSYS Arena website, click on “direct chat”, then select whatever model you want to use. At the time of writing, gpt2-chatbot was still unavailable, but that’s where it first showed up, so if we ever see it again, it may well be there.

Here’s hoping.

Main Image: Getty/The Terminator