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

Gordon Swobe gordon.swobe at gmail.com
Sun Apr 9 14:53:48 UTC 2023

On Sat, Apr 8, 2023 at 10:13 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> You keep making comments suggesting it's an absurd belief but you don't
say why or how it is absurd. Please explain what about my view is absurd.

Yes I do think it absurd to say that smart doorbells and cars have
consciousness. For that matter, I find it absurd to say that all living
things are conscious, let alone any non-living inanimate objects. What
about the lowly virus? Assuming even that we can call the virus alive
(debatable, imo), it has nothing remotely resembling what we have as sense
organs and nervous systems, and for that reason I find it a giant logical
leap and thus absurd to say it or anything like it has consciousness.

But let us say I am wrong and that your philosophical framework is
accurate. Let us say there is nothing absurd about the claim that my
automobile is conscious. In that case, as I was explaining about my
supposedly conscious doorbell, the claim that “X is conscious” becomes
trivial and uninteresting. The word “consciousness” loses most or all its
meaning. Many things if not all things in the world have this kind of
consciousness and it becomes trivially true and uninteresting that GPT-4 is


 "etics work is by something callesmd "cognitive unbinding": separate brain
regions are unable to communicate with one another as signaling is
confused, but each small region continues to operate independently. The
mind is fragmented and each region becomes an isolated island unto itself.

> We all know what the word means. Yes that does not mean his entire
>> brain is dead, but he is unconscious.
>> > For example, if smelling salts can still awaken him, then the part of
>> his brain...
>> When he awakens, he is no longer unconscious.
> What part of his brain is aware enough to know to wake up fully after
> administering smelling salts?
>> > If you define consciousness in terms of human consciousness, then only
>> humans are conscious, by definition.
>> That is the only kind of consciousness with which we have any
>> familiarity. I think it is reasonable to infer something similar in other
>> people and in other higher mammals, as their anatomies and nervous systems
>> and lives and behaviors are so similar to ours, but then things start to
>> get sketchy as we go down the food chain. In the effort to justify the
>> belief that even software
> Using the phrase "only software" suggests to me you are not familiar with
> the implications of the Church-Turing thesis. This thesis says software of
> the right type can replicate the behaviors of *any* computable process. The
> right software could mimic and replicate all the goings-on of the whole
> milky way galaxy or observable universe.
> It is a bit like saying a musician is so good that their music could not
> be recorded on a CD, when we know CDs can capture the music of any possible
> musician. Software is to behavior as CDs are to music. All you need is the
> right CD (or software) to replicate any music (or behavior). This is the
> magic of computers. We don't need to change or upgrade the hardware to
> install new applications. One computer is enough to run any possible
> software (that ever has been, or ever will be, written).
>  can be conscious, people find themselves saying all sorts of silly
>> things, for example that doorbells and cars are conscious. Their arguments
>> lose by reductio ad absurdum except on ExI, where anything goes. :-)
> Explain how it is a reductio ad absurdum.
> I have shown the converse, denying their awareness, leads to a logical
> contradiction.
> What you call absurd is not a logical contradiction, just something
> strange to your intuition. When choosing between something unfamiliar and
> counter intuitive, vs. something logically inconsistent, go with the
> unfamiliar and counter intuitive as the more likely to be true.
> Jason
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