As ChatGPT gets “lazy,” people test “winter break hypothesis” as the cause

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Benj Edwards)

In late November, some ChatGPT users began to notice that ChatGPT-4 was becoming more “lazy,” reportedly refusing to do some tasks or returning simplified results. Since then, OpenAI has admitted that it’s an issue, but the company isn’t sure why. The answer may be what some are calling “winter break hypothesis.” While unproven, the fact that AI researchers are taking it seriously shows how weird the world of AI language models has become.

“We’ve heard all your feedback about GPT4 getting lazier!” tweeted the official ChatGPT account on Thursday. “We haven’t updated the model since Nov 11th, and this certainly isn’t intentional. model behavior can be unpredictable, and we’re looking into fixing it.”

On Friday, an X account named Martian openly wondered if LLMs might simulate seasonal depression. Later, Mike Swoopskee tweeted, “What if it learned from its training data that people usually slow down in December and put bigger projects off until the new year, and that’s why it’s been more lazy lately?”

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