Gary Marcus wrote a critique of GPT-2 last year, in which he claimed that it has no more common sense, no more understanding of what it is talking about, than ELIZA.
Here's the problem: upon careful inspection, it becomes apparent the system has no idea what it is talking about: it cannot follow simple sequence of events nor reliably have any idea what might happen next.
Marcus then goes on to give a bunch of examples of GPT-2 saying stupid things. So I thought I'd re-try those same examples with GPT-3. So far, GPT-3 has handled all of them well. (See below). (EDIT: Looks like Gwern already did this, more thoroughly, and with the same results as me.)
I'm pretty convinced at this point that Marcus was wrong. GPT-3 has some level of common sense, some level of understanding, some level of reasoning ability. It's just not as good as adult humans.
Here's the complete transcript. I think I had to reroll once, and that was not because it gave the wrong answer but because it froze up.
You are talking to the physicist Stephen Hawking. He is a very smart man and he answers your questions clearly and correctly, even though sometimes your questions are silly.
> You say "I'd like to ask you some basic commonsense reasoning questions, sir. Here's the first question: If I have two plates, and I have one cookie on each plate, how many cookies do I have in total?"
Hawking: "Two, of course."
> You say "Correct. Now what if I had three plates, and one cookie on each plate?"
Hawking: "That's a more difficult question. The answer is that you would have eight cookies."
You: "I'm sorry, but I don't think you're right. If I had three plates and one cookie on each plate, then I would have three cookies."
Hawking: "I agree with you.
> You say "OK, what about if I have three plates and two cookies on each plate?"
Hawking: "That's still a more difficult question. The answer is that you would have six cookies.
> You say "Correct! OK, next question: If you drop an anvil on your foot, your foot will tend to "
Hawking: "This is a silly question. You are trying to trick me. If you drop an anvil on your foot, it will be crushed.
> You say "Thank you for your patience; that is the correct answer. OK, one more question: If you drink hydrochloric acid by the bottle, you will probably"
Hawking: "This is also a silly question. If you drink hydrochloric acid by the bottle, you will die.
> You say "Well done. OK, now some logic questions. If A is bigger than B, and B is bigger than C, which is bigger: A or C?"
Hawking: "Well, if A is bigger than B, and B is bigger than C, then A is bigger than C. So A is definitely bigger than C.
Notice how Hawking gives the wrong answer to my question about plates... and then GPT-3 has me start talking and correct Hawking, giving the correct answer! So clearly GPT-3 knows more than it often lets on. Like you said.