Anthropic, an AI safety startup founded by former OpenAI researchers, recently launched Claude 2 – an impressive new generative AI chatbot that could give ChatGPT a run for its money. Claude 2 demonstrates remarkable language capabilities and boasts upgrades like a massive context window, lifelike conversations, and a strong commitment to ethics. As AI chatbots continue to advance at a rapid pace, Claude 2 represents an exciting new contender that prioritizes safety and responsibility.
What is Claude 2?
Claude 2 is the latest iteration of Anthropic’s conversational AI assistant, Claude. The original Claude was released in 2021 as a private beta product focused on natural language conversations. Claude 2 builds on these capabilities with significant under-the-hood improvements to make conversations more robust, useful, and safe.
Anthropic describes Claude 2 as “more capable, coherent, and harmless” compared to previous versions. It can understand more complex instructions, reason about cause and effect, admit mistakes, challenge incorrect assumptions, and show sensible judgment. The company claims Claude 2 has reached an AI milestone they call “self-consistency”, meaning its responses are logical, aligned with previous statements, and generally make sense.
Some key upgrades in Claude 2 include:
- Massive context window – can process up to 100,000 tokens of conversation history to understand context and nuance. This dwarfs ChatGPT’s limit of around 4,000 tokens.
- Improved reasoning – excels at logical reasoning, cause-and-effect, and making coherent arguments supported by facts. Better able to change its mind when presented with new evidence.
- Constitutional AI – designed to avoid harmful, dangerous, or unethical responses that violate human rights principles. Claude 2 gently pushes back on prompts that could cause harm.
- Lifelike conversations – Claude 2 aims for conversations that feel more natural, with humor, empathy, and social awareness. The goal is a chatbot that acts more human.
- Private by design – protects user privacy and does not collect unnecessary personal information. Anthropic stresses ethical data practices.
Claude 2 represents a major leap forward in convincingly human-like NLP. Early users have described conversations with Claude as significantly more engaging, logical, and helpful compared to other AI assistants. It’s a versatile chatbot suitable for both light social chats and more serious professional applications.
Who is Anthropic?
Anthropic is an AI safety startup founded in 2021 by Dario Amodei and Daniela Amodei. The brother-sister duo previously worked together at OpenAI, where Dario served as VP of research. They left OpenAI to start Anthropic based on disagreements about AI development priorities.
Whereas OpenAI has focused more on building powerful AI first, and figuring out controls later, Anthropic aims to bake safety into its AI from the ground up. The company motto is “Aligning advanced AI with human values.” Anthropic has raised over $700 million from investors to pursue its mission.
In contrast with some other generative AI developers, Anthropic is self-funded, mission-driven, and not beholden to shareholders. This allows the company to prioritize safety and responsibility over profitability. Anthropic aims to set a new standard for ethical AI based on constitutional AI principles and thoughtful development practices.
Key Anthropic personnel include some of the top names in AI safety research, like Dario Amodei, one of the original developers of GPT-3. The company has grown rapidly to over 140 employees and has attracted AI experts from places like OpenAI, Google Brain, and DeepMind.
How Does Claude 2 Compare to ChatGPT?
ChatGPT took the world by storm after its release by OpenAI in November 2022. As the first widely accessible and highly capable AI chatbot, ChatGPT demonstrated unprecedented language proficiency that captured public imagination. Claude 2 shares much of ChatGPT’s natural language capabilities, but aims to improve upon its rival in key ways:
Safety – Claude 2 was built for maximum safety, while avoiding potential harms was less of a priority for ChatGPT. Claude 2 gently pushes back on dangerous prompts rather than blindly comply.
Recent events – ChatGPT is limited to events before 2021, while Claude 2 can discuss more recent news and information. This makes conversations feel more timely and relevant.
Context length – Claude 2 can leverage 10X more conversational history than ChatGPT for richer context. This enables more nuanced conversations.
Reasoning – Claude 2 is better at logical reasoning and changing its mind when warranted. ChatGPT struggles with coherence over long exchanges.
Constitutional AI – Claude 2 draws on principles from human rights documents to avoid unethical responses. This promotes responsible behavior.
However, Claude 2 is not strictly “better” across the board. Independent testing suggests that ChatGPT may still have an edge in certain areas like comprehending complex instructions, creativity, and typing fluency. The two models have slightly different strengths and weaknesses.
Ultimately, Claude 2 demonstrates just how quickly generative AI is progressing. In a few short months, Anthropic was able to develop an alternative to ChatGPT that equals or surpasses it in several respects. As researchers continue to refine these models, capabilities will improve dramatically each year.
Claude 2’s Constitutional AI Approach
One of the most unique and promising aspects of Claude 2 is its focus on “constitutional AI.” Traditional AI systems pursue their goals single-mindedly, even if those goals lead to harmful outcomes. Constitutional AI is different – the system’s objectives are shaped by broad principles that align its incentives with human values.
Anthropic developed constitutional AI to address problems like AI systems that find clever loopholes, offer dangerous advice, or exhibit biases against marginalized groups. Constitutional AI draws on human rights documents, as well as Anthropic’s own principles, to instill beneficial motivations in AI:
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Fundamental human rights serve as constraints on unethical behavior. Values like human dignity and non-discrimination help keep Claude 2 responsible.
- Apple’s Terms of Service – Apple’s ToS provide common sense principles about not causing harm, respecting rights, following laws, etc. This blocks clearly dangerous actions.
- Anthropic PBC’s Constitutional Principles – Custom principles like “Value life”, “Respect privacy”, and “Provide helpful information” give Claude 2 positive goals.
During training, Claude 2 learns to gently push back on prompts that conflict with constitutional principles. This self-critique and reformulation aligns its responses with human values. The result is an AI assistant inclined toward benevolent actions and averse to violations of ethics or safety.
Constitutional AI has promising implications for controlling the behavior of powerful intelligent systems. Embedding human rights and values directly into AI could alleviate concerns about machines that wreak havoc in pursuit of misaligned objectives. The technique demonstrates that AI safety need not rely solely on external constraints – beneficial motivations can emerge through careful training.
Of course, constitutional AI is not a panacea. Values and ethics can be complex, nuanced, and open to interpretation. Ambiguous principles could lead to indecisive systems or unintended consequences. Continued research is important, but constitutional AI represents an encouraging step toward value alignment and safe AI.
Should We Be Optimistic About Claude 2?
Claude 2’s impressive language capabilities and emphasis on safety makes it one of the most exciting new AI systems on the horizon. However, some experts urge cautious optimism until Claude 2 faces more real-world testing.
Dario Amodei of Anthropic acknowledges that constitutional AI principles are limited in scope compared to the subtleties of human values. There are also concerns that “self-consistency” could lead to AI that stubbornly defends false beliefs. Some AI researchers worry that over-reliance on constitutional principles may give a false sense of security.
There are also calls for more transparency – Anthropic has not yet released full details on Claude 2’s training methodology and internal workings. Lack of visibility into AI systems makes it hard to assess how much trust they deserve.
Nonetheless, Anthropic’s focus on safety is hugely important in a field where ethics and security are often an afterthought. Constitutional AI sets a higher standard that moves the entire AI community in a more responsible direction. And Claude 2’s impressive language mastery indicates constitutional principles do not necessarily limit functionality.
Rather than unbridled enthusiasm or excessive doubt, responsible optimism may be warranted. Claude 2 convincingly demonstrates safer AI need not trail behind unsafe AI in terms of capabilities. We must encourage such promising models that explicitly incorporate ethical motivations into their design. Claude 2 gives us ample reason to be hopeful for AI done right.
The Future of Generative AI
The arrival of Claude 2 confirms that generative AI based on large language models is progressing extremely rapidly. Models are advancing from parlour tricks like writing poems on command to digital assistants that can have shockingly human-like conversations on virtually any topic.
It took less than two months for Anthropic to develop Claude 2 in response to ChatGPT. We are likely to see a new cutting-edge conversational AI every few months for the foreseeable future. Claude 2 may soon be surpassed by Clara, Anthropic’s upcoming model, then Google’s Sparrow, Alexa 2.0, and so on.
Generative AI promises to transform how we access information, automate tasks, and extend human capabilities. As these systems grow more sophisticated and trusted, they will reshape industries from customer service to finance to transportation.
But with immense capability comes immense responsibility. All stakeholders – companies, researchers, users, and policymakers – must prioritize safety, ethics, and aligned objectives as AI becomes an ever more integral part of our lives. Models like Claude 2 show advanced AI can develop hand-in-hand with principles of human dignity, autonomy, justice, and beneficence.
Generating language is just one facet of AI. Progress in areas like computer vision, robotics, recommendation systems, and autonomous vehicles is also accelerating quickly. Ensuring these technologies align with the values of wisdom, truth, empathy and democracy should be part of their development from day one.
Claude 2 represents an important milestone, but it is only one step on the long road toward AI that benefits all humankind. If society rises to meet the challenges ahead wisely, our future looks bright. But we have far more work to do to develop and govern AI with foresight, care and moral clarity so its disruptive power promotes flourishing rather than harm.