Is The Transformer Era Over?

What went wrong, and what comes next.


The idea of transformer networks has existed since the seminal publication of the Attention is All You Need paper by Google researchers in June 2017.  And while transformers quickly gained traction within the ML research community, and in particular demonstrated superlative results in vision applications (ViT paper), transformer networks were definitely not a topic of trendy conversation around the family holiday dinner table.  Until late 2022, that is.

On Nov 30, 2022, OpenAI released ChatGPT and within weeks millions of users were experimenting with it.  Soon thereafter the popular business press and even the TV newscasts were both marveling at the results as well as publishing overwrought doomsday predictions of societal upheaval and chaos.

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