Are generative AI systems such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT really intelligent? Large language models such as GPT 4 appear to use human-level cognitive abilities when they engage in legal reasoning, write essays or solve complex problems. Hosts John Thornhill and Madhumita Murgia speak to Emily Bender, professor of computational linguistics at the University of Washington, to find out what’s really happening under the hood, and also hear from Pablo Arredondo of CaseText, which develops AI tools for lawyers; influential computer scientist Melanie Mitchell, professor at the Santa Fe Institute, and Konstantine Arkoudas, an AI expert who’s worked on Amazon’s Alexa.

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Tech Tonic is presented by Madhumita Murgia and John Thornhill. Senior producer is Edwin Lane and the producer is Josh Gabert-Doyon. Executive producer is Manuela Saragosa. Sound design by Breen Turner and Samantha Giovinco. Original music by Metaphor Music. The FT’s head of audio is Cheryl Brumley.

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