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

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Wed Apr 12 22:53:22 UTC 2023

On Wed, Apr 12, 2023, 6:16 PM Adrian Tymes via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 12, 2023 at 1:06 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On Wed, Apr 12, 2023, 3:19 PM Adrian Tymes via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> On Wed, Apr 12, 2023 at 10:25 AM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>> What do you think would happen to a person whose visual cortex were
>>>> replaced with a functionally equivalent silicon computer?
>>> As someone who's worked on this concept, and seen results in patients
>>> where this - more or less - was actually done:
>>>> A) They wouldn't notice and there would be no change in their
>>>> subjectivity or objectively observable behavior
>>>> B) They would notice the change in their subjectivity (perhaps
>>>> noticing a kind of blindness) but they would function the same as before
>>>> and not say anything
>>>> C) They would notice the change and they would complain about being
>>>> blind but would still be able to function as if they can see
>>>> D) They would notice and become functionally blind, not able to drive,
>>>> walk without bumping into things, etc.
>>>> E) Something else
>>> B.  An attempt is made at "perfectly functionally equivalent" but that
>>> ideal has not been achieved in practice.  There is enough of a difference
>>> to notice.  That said, in all cases I've seen so far the difference has
>>> been an improvement - not something worth complaining about.  (Granted, the
>>> cases I've seen have been replacing a broken cortex or other such
>>> component, giving sight to the formerly blind.  The "functional
>>> equivalence" comes in for those who lost their sight, attempting to restore
>>> what they had.  While there are degrees of blindness one could slide down
>>> in theory - it is possible for some legally blind people to become more
>>> blind - I have not seen this happen when this procedure is done.)  I
>>> suppose that might be more in the spirit of C, since they might comment on
>>> and compliment the difference, but by the literal wording of the choices B
>>> is closest to the observed results.
>>> Then again, in the cases I've seen, the difference was the point of the
>>> replacement.  But the results observed suggest that perfect replacement
>>> would not happen even for direct replacement.
>> That's very interesting Adrian. Thanks for sharing your insights.
>> What would you imagine would be the outcome if the replacement were
>> "perfectly functionally equivalent" and performed in a normally sighted
>> person?
> B.  "Perfect" wouldn't be perfect in practice.  There'd be enough
> difference to notice but it would not be significantly negative.

I think "B" is impossible: if the functional substitution is perfect there
is no room for the person to notice any difference in their experience. And
if they did notice a difference they should be able to talk about it, but
option B says they're unable to mention any difference in their perception,
as all their outwardly visible behavior is unchanged.
. Jason
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