GPT-3 Story sample

Recently I got early access to OpenAI’s remarkable GPT-3 API, which you can apply for here: https://beta.openai.com/

The GPT-3 model is based on concepts described in the paper “Language Models are Unsupervised Multitask Learners”, and you can find code to generate these kinds of models on Github, and a nice overview in this post from the OpenAI blog.

The basic idea is that you provide “prompt” text and the GPT model generates text that continues it. So, if you start with “Once upon a time” you’ll get a story. It can write all kinds of things – essays, lists of cities, and so on. If you provide it with some examples of questions and answers, then leave the final answer blank, it’ll try its best to answer it.

Under the right conditions it can demonstrate something very close to intelligence. However, in practice there are far more misses than hits – I arrived at the story below after aggressively tweaking various parameters to prevent the system from getting stuck in weird loops. Nevertheless, I found this story very amusing and so I chose to share it here.

The words below in bold were my hand-written prompt. All the text that follows was generated by GPT-3. Enjoy.


Once upon a time, Marvin Gaye and Napoleon were best friends who lived in a purple beach house. Every day they played canasta by candlelight.

They played canasta with the help of a magical purple cat.

One day, Napoleon couldn’t play canasta. Marvin said, “It’s ok, Napoleon, you can stay and watch us play.”

“No! I must go out!” Napoleon said. So he took his shiny gun and his magical purple cat and he went out.

Outside the purple beach house, there was a huge volcano. Napoleon shot at the volcano. The volcano got mad and began to spit lava. Napoleon shot at the lava and it got madder and began to billow smoke. Napoleon shot at the smoke and the smoke got madder and began to spit sparks. Napoleon shot at the sparks and the sparks got madder and began to spit hot balls of boiling water. Napoleon shot at the balls of water and they got madder and began to spit hot balls of burning ash. Napoleon shot at the balls of burning ash and they got madder and began to throw rocks. Napoleon shot at the rocks and they got madder and began to throw big rocks. Napoleon shot at the big rocks and they got madder and began to throw boulders. Napoleon shot at the boulders and they got madder and began to throw mountains. Napoleon shot at the mountains and they got madder and threw anvils. Napoleon shot at the anvils and they got madder and threw planets. Napoleon shot at the planets and they got madder and threw galaxies. Napoleon shot at the galaxies and they got madder and threw quasars. Napoleon shot at the quasars and they got madder and threw constellations. Napoleon shot at the constellations and they got madder and threw nebulae. Napoleon shot at the nebulae and they got madder and threw universes. Napoleon shot at the universes and they got madder and threw all of creation.

“Stop shooting! Stop shooting!” said Marvin Gaye, as he peeked out the window of the purple beach house. “You’re upsetting all of creation!”

“I’m sorry,” said Napoleon, “but I must go out!” So he took his shiny gun and his magical purple cat and he went out again.

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