AI knoweth everything, and as each new model breaks upon the world, it attracts a new crowd of experimenters. The new hotness is ChatGPT, and [Jonas Degrave] has turned his attention to it. By asking it to act as a Linux terminal, he discovered that he could gain access to a complete Linux virtual machine within the model’s synthetic imagination.

The AI’s first response was a prompt, so he of course first tried to list the files. Up came a list of directories, so the next step was to create a file and put some text in it. All of this resulted in a readable file, so there was some promise in this unexpected computing resource. But can it run code?The GPT AI text used to create a fake Linux promptFurther testing found that the AI could run shell scripts and even load and run a simple Docker instance. Can it talk to the Internet? Seems so, as it can ping the BBC. But then interrogating a version number of a Python project on GitHub reveals that this isn’t quite the computer you might think it is. The version number returned is from back in the summer when the model was trained, so it’s simply doing a good job of creating the illusion of an Internet-connected machine.

Things get truly surreal when lynx and curl are used to look on the web. With a bit of JSON, magic it seems ChatGPT can find itself, and submit questions to itself. The final party piece is to repeat the original question and ask it to create a Linux prompt, inside an alternate Internet in a Linux prompt on itself.

It’s clear that this is not a real Linux system but an AI creating the illusion of one based on what its model contains, but we salute [Jonas] for taking this entertaining dive. We wonder how long it will be before some joker manages to get it running a fake cryptocurrency miner.

This type of AI is an impressive technology which will doubtless deliver some amazing new products. But don’t fall too much for the hype and put it on a pedestal, please.