[ExI] Language models are like mirrors

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Mon Apr 3 03:27:19 UTC 2023

On Sun, Apr 2, 2023 at 5:32 PM spike jones via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> So… try it yourself.  Take some area which you know more about that
> anyone, some technical niche perhaps, something on which you are a
> qualified judge, hand it to ChatGPT.  It will take a shot at it and it will
> really sound like it knows from shinola.
> OK then, does it?

HA HA HA no.


Me: If a human lost an arm then got a prosthetic arm with a chip linking
its controls and sensors to their nervous system, how long would they need
to train with it before being able to use it as well as they could have
used their original arm?

ChatGPT: The amount of time it takes for a person to fully adjust to using
a prosthetic arm with a chip linked to their nervous system can vary
greatly depending on a number of factors.

One of the most important factors is the individual's own experience and
skill level. A person who was previously skilled at using their lost arm
may be able to adjust to the new prosthetic arm more quickly than someone
who had less experience with their original limb.


"A person who was previously skilled at using their lost arm"?  Really?
While technically true there's a very meaningful split here:

1) Literally anyone gets skilled at using their arm, at all, merely through
living and using their body.  Thus, being skilled at using one's arm in
general is generally not notable.

2) There's also being skilled at using one's arm in certain ways.  These
ways need to be specified if they are discussed, and are generally
discussed in terms of the end result, not specifically that the arm was
used for it.

The rest of the response (which I did not copy and paste) was likely more
or less copied from existing texts about existing prosthetic arms.


Me: How can someone turn hydrogen into helium?

ChatGPT: The process of turning hydrogen into helium is called nuclear
fusion. It is the same process that powers the sun and other stars. Nuclear
fusion occurs when two atomic nuclei, usually hydrogen, combine to form a
heavier nucleus, usually helium.


Again, copied from publicly available text.  What it (and the
not-pasted-here rest of its answer) completely misses is that - normal
hydrogen being just an electron and a proton per atom - one needs neutrons
as well .  These can be added separately or, more commonly, are had by
using deuterium and/or tritium, isotopes of hydrogen that already have


Me: What are the economics and logistics of launching small satellites into
space without using rideshared rockets?

ChatGPT: Launching small satellites into space without using rideshared
rockets can be a challenging and expensive process. There are several
factors to consider, including the cost of the launch vehicle, the
complexity of the launch process, and the logistical requirements for
launching from a specific location.

Firstly, the cost of launching a rocket capable of carrying a small
satellite into space can be significant. The cost of building and launching
a rocket can run into millions or even billions of dollars, depending on
the size and capabilities of the rocket.

Secondly, the launch process itself can be complex and requires significant
logistical planning. The launch site must be prepared, and all equipment
must be checked and tested to ensure that the launch is successful. There
are also strict regulatory requirements that must be met, such as obtaining
the necessary licenses and permits.

Thirdly, launching small satellites without using rideshared rockets
requires the development of a dedicated launch vehicle or an existing
vehicle to be modified to carry small satellites. This can also be a costly
and time-consuming process.

Lastly, there are additional logistical challenges to consider, such as the
availability of launch windows and the need to transport the satellite to
the launch site. These factors can further increase the cost and complexity
of launching small satellites into space.

Overall, launching small satellites into space without using rideshared
rockets can be an expensive and challenging process. However, there are
companies and organizations working on developing more cost-effective and
efficient launch systems to make it easier and more affordable to access


Notice the amount of repetition of essentially the same  "challenging and

On the third point, modifying an existing vehicle *is* rideshare, basically.

On the last point, we're talking about *small* satellites.  Transporting
them is not that difficult.  It can be a challenge to transport certain
large satellites.

And so on.  This is generally what I've come to expect from human
intelligences that completely fail to consider how small satellites are
qualitatively different from large satellites - that is, who are used to
discussing large satellites and have written about them at length, then
think that all satellites are essentially the same with regard to how
they get launched, transported on the ground, and so on.  While this AI is
making the same mistakes as humans, it's still making mistakes that show it
doesn't understand what it's talking about.

I could go on at much further length, but I believe these three examples
adequately establish the point.
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