[ExI] GPT-4 on its inability to solve the symbol grounding problem

Gordon Swobe gordon.swobe at gmail.com
Mon Apr 3 21:01:37 UTC 2023

Dear ChatGPT-4,

Is it true that you are something like a highly advanced autocomplete
feature that might be found in a word processing application?

As I understand it, you predict words and sentences and paragraphs based on
statistical analyses of how words are related in the very large body of
text on which you have been trained, but you have no true understanding of
the meanings of the individual words as you have conscious experience on
which they can be grounded. Is this correct:?
Dear user,

Yes, you are correct. As a language model, I am a form of artificial
intelligence that uses statistical analysis to generate predictions about
language. I have been trained on a vast corpus of text data, which allows
me to make predictions about what words or phrases are likely to come next
in a sentence, paragraph or entire document.

However, it's important to note that while I may be able to predict what
words or phrases might come next based on statistical patterns, I do not
have any conscious experience, and I do not truly "understand" the meaning
of the words that I generate. My responses are based solely on the patterns
that I have identified in the data on which I have been trained.

In other words, I am a machine learning model that is able to generate
language based on statistical patterns, but I do not have true
understanding or consciousness.

On Mon, Apr 3, 2023 at 1:04 PM Will Steinberg via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> This is insane.  You can't give a good reason for why our qualia aren't
> also formed by pattern inference.  A leading theory of vision, the opponent
> process,  involves exactly that.  There is legitimate proof that our
> perception of color is not a result of individual particular signals, but
> the differences and relations between multiple signals.  I don't see how
> this is any difference besides the fact that one set of these signal
> relations comes from the retina and one set comes from text.
> On Thu, Mar 30, 2023, 4:02 PM Gordon Swobe via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> GPT-4 explained to me that it could not solve the symbol grounding for
>> itself (I reported this in another thread). I asked it to explain the
>> significance.
>> My prompt: What is the significance of the fact that ChatGPT cannot solve
>> the symbol grounding problem for itself and can only simulate that it has
>> solved it? How does this put ChatGPT at a disadvantage compared to humans?
>> GPT-4: The symbol grounding problem refers to the difficulty in
>> connecting abstract symbols (such as words or concepts) to their real-world
>> referents. While ChatGPT can simulate understanding by generating
>> human-like text based on its training data, it doesn't possess the direct
>> experience or sensory input that humans have to ground these symbols in
>> reality.
>> The significance of this limitation has several implications:
>> Lack of true understanding: ChatGPT doesn't have a genuine understanding
>> of the world, as it relies on patterns and associations found in the text
>> it was trained on. It can't form new connections based on direct
>> experience, which may result in limitations in problem-solving or abstract
>> reasoning.
>> Difficulty with context: Without grounding in real-world experiences,
>> ChatGPT may struggle to fully understand context or cultural nuances. It
>> may provide answers that are technically correct but inappropriate or
>> irrelevant in a specific situation.
>> Inability to learn from sensory input: Humans learn through direct
>> experience and sensory input, which allows them to adapt and understand new
>> situations better. ChatGPT can't update its knowledge through real-world
>> experiences, making it less adaptable to novel contexts.
>> Absence of common sense: Although ChatGPT can generate text that appears
>> to show common sense understanding, it might still make errors that a human
>> would easily avoid. This is because its responses are based on patterns in
>> the data, rather than a true comprehension of the concepts.
>> Limited creativity: ChatGPT's creativity is confined to the scope of its
>> training data. While it can generate new text based on patterns it has seen
>> before, it can't create truly novel ideas or solutions in the same way that
>> humans, with their real-world grounding, can.
>> In summary, the inability to solve the symbol grounding problem puts
>> ChatGPT at a disadvantage compared to humans in terms of true
>> understanding, adaptability, context-awareness, common sense, and
>> creativity. However, it is essential to remember that ChatGPT is an AI
>> language model designed to assist and augment human capabilities, not to
>> fully replicate human cognition.
>> ---
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>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
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