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

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Fri Apr 7 18:05:49 UTC 2023

On Fri, Apr 7, 2023, 1:24 PM Gordon Swobe <gordon.swobe at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Apr 7, 2023 at 6:49 AM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> > The use of square quotes then, is merely an escape to say it is acting
> as if it understands without understanding, or it is acting like it knows
> without knowing.
> Yes, but that is your idea to call it an escape. I mean it as shorthand.
> Instead of saying...
> "GPT is an ingeniously designed software application programmed by its
> developers to respond to prompts by predicting the next word, and the next
> and the next, based on the statistics of how humans use words. It performs
> this function exceedingly well, so much so that people are fooled into
> thinking it actually knows the meanings of the sentences and paragraphs
> that it generates."
> I can write simply that GPT "knows" how to write sentences and paragraphs
> that humans find meaningful. I am trusting the reader not to take my word
> "knows" literally.

Understood. I do take your point that we can each use our own sense of know
or understand. But if we're to advance our understanding we need to dig
into details and do some thought experiments to check the consistency of
our beliefs.

Do you believe that a process can only "multiply two numbers" without
really multiplying two numbers?

Dennett raised the question can there be two atom-for-atom identical copies
of a being where one has health and the other lacks it?

You can probably see where this is going, as a question of the consistency
of zombies. Can there really be two entities, identical in all capacities,
able to talk about their internal states and feelings, and have one be
consciousness and the other not? Or does the mere presence of those
capacities imply consciousness, just as the atoma arranged into a healthy
body implies health.

I view it as impossible for health to exist in one and not the other as
health is an emergent property of the underlying structure and features of
the being. I am curious to know if you agree, for:

1. Health
2. Multiplication
3. Consciousness in two atomically identical beings (is it even logically
possible for one to be conscious and not the other?)


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