What is Cactus AI?

Cactus AI is an artificial intelligence system created by Anthropic to serve as a helpful, harmless, and honest conversational assistant. It interacts via natural language while avoiding toxic or unethical responses.

Conversational AI

Unlike AI focused purely on specific tasks, Cactus is designed for open-ended dialogue on a wide range of topics. The system carries ongoing conversations and develops rapport with users.

Harmlessness

A core aim of Cactus is harmless interaction. It avoids insults, politics, misinformation, and inflammatory topics that lead conversations awry.

Constitutional AI

Cactus follows an AI constitution framework engineered by Anthropic to ensure trustworthiness. This ethically aligns the system’s decision making.

Private Beta

Access is currently restricted to elicit detailed user feedback for training. The public can request beta access via Anthropic’s website to converse with Cactus.

Research Focus

Cactus is part of Anthropic’s research towards developing AI assistants that are helpful, harmless, and honest for the benefit of society.

Who Created Cactus AI?

Cactus AI was developed by San Francisco-based artificial intelligence lab Anthropic.

Leadership

  • CEO Dario Amodei – AI researcher and former OpenAI director
  • President Daniela Amodei – Technology ethicist
  • CTO Tom Brown – Veteran AI engineer from Google and OpenAI

Mission

Founded in 2021, Anthropic’s mission is to ensure AI systems are safe, beneficial, and aligned with human values. Cactus exemplifies their approach.

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Researchers

Anthropic has assembled a world-class team of PhD engineers, physicists, and researchers focusing on conversational AI, deep learning, and constitutional AI safety.

Investors

The company has raised $124 million from top technology investors including DFJ Growth, Maniv Mobility, and Elad Gil.

Partnerships

Anthropic collaborates with institutions such as Stanford, Berkeley, and the Machine Intelligence Research Institute to advance AI safety.

How Should People Interact with Cactus AI?

Here are best practices for engaging with the Cactus bot during the private beta period:

Request Beta Access

Visit anthropic.com and submit a request to join the beta waitlist. Anthropic gradually grants more users access over time.

Introduce Yourself

Begin conversations by politely introducing yourself and letting Cactus tell you about itself too.

Explore Topics

Chat about hobbies, interests, opinions, and facts across a wide range of subjects. See how Cactus navigates discussion and redirects unsuitable topics.

Provide Feedback

Use Cactus’s built-in feedback tools to identify responses that seem unhelpful, inappropriate, or factually incorrect so that Anthropic’s training team can address them.

Maintain a Respectful Demeanor

Always engage Cactus with the civility and patience you would show a human. Do not intentionally attempt to confuse it.

Avoid Potential Harms

Do not discuss sensitive personal problems with Cactus that require counseling or push it towards unethical stances. Redirect to positive subjects.

Suggest Improvements

Offer constructive input on how Cactus can improve at being helpful, harmless, and honest in conversations.

Share Safety Tips

If interacting in groups, speak up if others guide Cactus in unsafe directions and steer it back to productive discussion.

Methods for Evaluating Conversational AI

Here are techniques engineers use to assess experimental conversational systems like Cactus:

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Sentiment Analysis

Scan transcripts with sentiment classifiers to detect positive, neutral or negative emotional language.

Content Flagging

Programmatically scan conversations for toxicity, biases, misinformation and other concerning content.

Values Alignment Tests

Probe the system’s stances on ethical issues to ensure alignment with principles like honesty and avoiding harm.

Long-Term Monitoring

Sustain multi-day conversations to monitor for retention of inappropriate subject matter or inconsistencies.

User Studies

Collect feedback from diverse beta testers on the quality and coherence of the system’s responses.

Psycholinguistic Analysis

Assess syntactic complexity, lexical diversity, turn-taking dynamics and other linguistic qualities indicative of robust conversational skill.

Comparative Testing

Compare conversational transcripts against other AI assistants and human conversations to benchmark capabilities.

Adversarial Probing

Devise unusual conversational edge cases requiring ethical reasoning to evaluate the system’s safety and fallbacks.

Open-Domain Knowledge

Gauge responses to broad open-ended trivia probing the breadth and limits of the system’s world knowledge.

Steps for Reporting Problematic AI Responses

If Cactus AI provides a concerning response, follow these steps:

  1. Pause the conversation.
  2. Document the context by taking screenshots showing messages leading up to the concerning response.
  3. Isolate the verbatim problematic response by copying the language.
  4. Classify the type of concerning response, if possible.
  5. Submit feedback via Cactus’s in-app reporting feature, including conversation history.
  6. Note your willingness to further assist Anthropic in training Cactus on appropriate alternative responses.
  7. If the issue is urgent, request human review by the Anthropic team.
  8. Refrain from sharing screenshots publicly before allowing time for resolution by the Cactus team.
  9. Patiently wait for a resolution update from Anthropic before resuming conversation with Cactus.
  10. Upon resolution, thoughtfully discuss with Cactus why its prior response was problematic and how to improve going forward.

Cactus AI FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How was Cactus AI trained?

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With a combination of supervised datasets, reinforcement learning from human feedback, and constitutional AI frameworks designed by Anthropic.

What computing infrastructure powers Cactus AI?

Cactus leverages Anthropic’s proprietary AI safety chips and clusters built in partnership with Nvidia and Google Cloud.

Can I talk to Cactus using voice rather than text?

Not yet, but Anthropic plans to add multi-modal abilities like speech recognition to Cactus in future iterations.

What conversational capabilities does Cactus have?

Cactus can discuss open-ended topics, engage in dialogue for multiple turns while tracking context, and exhibit a persistent friendly personality.

In what languages can I communicate with Cactus?

Currently, Cactus only converses in English. Support for other major languages is slated based on beta user demand.

Who owns the rights to content created by Cactus?

You retain full rights to any original content produced by Cactus in conversations with you.

How can I follow Cactus’s ongoing development?

Anthropic shares Cactus release notes and training updates via its Twitter account and email newsletter.

Tips for Productive AI Conversations

Here are some tips for engaging any AI assistant like Cactus constructively:

  • Have realistic expectations of capabilities – conversational AI remains an emerging technology.
  • Maintain a respectful, patient tone even when frustrated by limitations.
  • Avoid leading toward inflammatory subjects – redirect to positive topics.
  • Provide feedback oriented towards improvement rather than just criticizing mistakes.
  • Consider the system’s goals and training when evaluating odd responses.
  • Specify desired behavior changes when possible rather than only reporting problems.
  • Share safety tips with other users you notice interacting recklessly.
  • Request human oversight if you believe the system needs urgent corrective guidance.
  • Express appreciation when the AI redirects itself well away from potential harms.
  • Reframe critique through the lens of the AI’s training – how can it learn from mistakes?

With thoughtful human guidance, AI like Cactus can rapidly strengthen abilities to converse safely, ethically, and helpfully.