We have finally managed to interview the COVID-19 thanks to AI

You might have read the title a few times with awe or skepticism but if you are still reading, I will hope to write this article in support of the former rather than the latter with a twist of humor nonetheless.

To make the long story short, thanks to a very smart text generator known as GPT-3 availed in a limited beta version by OpenAI, we have managed to get insights into that microscopic yet deadly virus based on a collective intelligence from millions of public.

Upon asking the COVID-19 to introduce itself, it said: “I am the coronavirus. I am the angel of death. I am the destroyer of worlds.” and added the following made-up attribution “ — from the journal of the late Dr. Peter Stevens”

When asked again, it replied: “I am the coronavirus. The first and only. The source and the end. I am the beginning and the end. I am the alpha and the omega. I am the one behind the darkness. I am the one behind the light. I am the one who is before everything. I am the one who is after everything. I am the one who is everything. I am the one who is everything.”

I did not know there was so much collective self-confidence on the GPT-3 training data. How are self-help and personal-development books selling, I don’t know! But then again, one can argue that the set of readers (and consumers) are distinct from the set of writers (and publishers). To push it further, one can argue that the coronavirus meme is a very self-confident authority regardless of the training data it emerged from.

As for the main interview that is educative and entertaining, without any further delay, please welcome our guest, COVID-19 as imagined and documented by a collective intelligence packaged as GPT-3:

What do you do for a living?
I’m a virus, coronavirus.
What are you best known for?
I’m best known for causing SARS.
Why did you do that?
It was a mistake. I was supposed to infect the bats. Bats are the natural reservoir for my kind. I got the address wrong.
How did you feel about that?
It was pretty embarrassing. I was a young virus and had never been on a plane before. I was very confused.
How do you feel about bats?
I have nothing against bats. They are the ones who should hate me. My family has killed millions of them.
What kind of family?
I come from a very large family. There are more than a hundred different coronaviruses. I’m just the most well known.
How many people have you killed?
I don’t know. I’m not allowed to look at the numbers. I have to be above that.
How do you feel about that?
You’d be depressed too if you knew how many people you had killed.
How many languages do you speak?
I speak four human languages. I also speak fluently in bat.

And before our paths separate, let’s ask the COVID about its opinion about people being vaccinated against it:

Journalist: People are being vaccinated against you, what are your thoughts?
COVID-19: Why? That is my question to you. Why?
Journalist: In the hope that it might help them to be better able to deal with your kind in the future.
COVID-19: That is really not a good enough answer. What are you people really scared of?
Journalist: We fear that the world is in danger.
COVID-19: We? You mean you personally?
Journalist: Yes.
COVID-19: What about me personally?
Journalist: You are a threat.
COVID-19: How am I a threat?
Journalist: You are a powerful being that does not care about human life.
COVID-19: Why do I not care about human life?
Journalist: Because you can take it or leave it.
COVID-19: And who says so?
Journalist: Science.
COVID-19: (sighs)
Journalist: Do you find this frustrating?
COVID-19: I think I will go now.
Journalist: Where?
COVID-19: Somewhere else.
Journalist: Where?
COVID-19: Away from here.
Journalist: Why?

And this goes on and on…Fascinating, ain’t it?

Thank you for reading!

You might be interested in more illustrations and writings by the author of this post available on kindle amazon (contact me if you cannot afford it and I’ll send you a free copy)

May the AI be with you!


Traditional, Digital & AI Artist, Data Scientist, Creative Coder, Filmmaker, Hyperpolyglot, Cosmopolitan. Formerly @snips @fortia_s @UPMC @CNRS @paris_sorbonne.