The Paradox of Progress: Is GPT-4 Getting Dumber


Published on Jul 15, 2023   —   3 min read

In the world of artificial intelligence (AI), progress is often measured by the complexity and sophistication of models. OpenAI's GPT-3, for instance, was lauded for its impressive language generation capabilities, able to generate human-like text that was often indistinguishable from a human writer. Now, with the advent of GPT-4, expectations were high. However, a surprising question has emerged: Is GPT-4 getting dumber?

The Paradox

The notion of a more advanced AI model becoming "dumber" seems paradoxical. After all, GPT-4 boasts an even larger dataset and more training than its predecessor, GPT-3. It should, theoretically, be more intelligent. However, some users and researchers have reported that GPT-4's responses can sometimes be less accurate, less relevant, or even nonsensical compared to GPT-3.

Understanding the Issue

To understand why this might be happening, we need to delve into how these models learn. GPT-4, like its predecessors, is trained on a vast corpus of text data. It learns patterns and structures in the data, which it then uses to generate responses. However, the larger the dataset, the more diverse the patterns and structures the model learns. This can lead to a higher likelihood of generating responses that, while grammatically correct, may not make sense in the given context.

Moreover, the model's ability to understand and generate text is purely statistical. It doesn't truly "understand" the text in the way humans do. It doesn't have a concept of the world, of cause and effect, or of logic. This lack of semantic understanding can lead to responses that seem "dumber" than those generated by smaller models like GPT-3.

The Role of Fine-Tuning

Another factor to consider is the fine-tuning process. After the initial training, models like GPT-4 are fine-tuned on specific tasks to improve their performance. However, this process is delicate. Too much fine-tuning can lead to overfitting, where the model performs well on the training data but poorly on new, unseen data. This could be another reason why GPT-4 might sometimes seem less intelligent than GPT-3.

A Perspective from OpenAI

However, it's important to note that the perception of GPT-4 being "dumber" might not be entirely accurate. Peter Welinder, a researcher at OpenAI, provides a different perspective. In a recent tweet, he stated: "No, we haven't made GPT-4 dumber. Quite the opposite: we make each new version smarter than the previous one. Current hypothesis: When you use it more heavily, you start noticing issues you didn't see before." This suggests that the perceived decrease in intelligence might be more about increased usage and familiarity, rather than a decrease in the model's capabilities.


The question of whether GPT-4 is getting "dumber" is complex and, according to insiders like Peter Welinder from OpenAI, may not be entirely accurate. It's important to remember that each iteration of these models is designed to be smarter and more capable than the last. The perceived decrease in intelligence might be more about increased usage and familiarity, rather than a decrease in the model's capabilities.

As users, as we interact more with these AI models, we start noticing their limitations and quirks, which might give the impression of them being "dumber". However, this is more a testament to our increasing familiarity and expectations from the technology, rather than a reflection of the model's intelligence.

In the end, the journey of AI development is a learning process for us as much as it is for the models we create. As we learn more about the intricacies of these systems, we can better guide their evolution and harness their potential in ways that are truly intelligent. The perceived shortcomings of GPT-4 should not be seen as a step back, but rather as opportunities for further refinement and improvement. As we continue to push the boundaries of AI, we must also continue to refine our methods, ensuring that bigger really does mean better.

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