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

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Sat Apr 15 14:13:35 UTC 2023

On 15/04/2023 13:00, Brent Allsop wrote:
> Hi Ben,
> "Association" will work, but you're missing the point, and talking 
> about the wrong thing.
> If two people (or one person, at a different point in time) are 
> associating the word Smaug with a different dragon, we are asking the 
> question, what is the difference between the two dragons that the two 
> different people are "associating" the word Smaug with?
> I prefer transducing dictionary, over "grounding" or "association" but 
> everyone here was using grounding, so I switched to that.  Because you 
> have one physical representation (hole in a paper), that isn't 
> rendess, and the transducing system interprets it to a different 
> physical representation (+5volts), and so on.  You achieve 
> consciousness, when you transduce that +5 volts, and render a pixel 
> into someone's conscious knowledge that has a subjective redness quality.

I have absolutely no idea what most of this is saying. Anybody? Anybody 
see anything but word salad here? Maybe it's just me, but I can't make 
head nor tail of it.

Brent, this is why I normally ignore your posts. To me, they are 
literally just noise, with no discernible meaning whatever.

'"Association" will work, but you're missing the point, and talking 
about the wrong thing.
If two people (or one person, at a different point in time) are 
associating the word Smaug with a different dragon...'

at least is a comprehensible sentence, but it's missing my point (I 
might say that /you're/ talking about the wrong thing, but I'd have to 
know what you are talking about first).
What different dragons? You do realise dragons don't exist?

There are no dragons! Different people, or the same person at different 
times (possibly), associate the word Smaug with a lot of different 
things (strictly speaking, different patterns of neural signals from 
various parts of the brain, representing memories of pictures, text, 
films, conversations, etc., etc. as I said before). That's all ('all'? 
isn't that enough?!). "The difference between the two dragons" doesn't 
mean anything, there aren't two dragons, there isn't even one. I'm sure 
there will be people who haven't even heard of Smaug, so the word is 
meaningless to them (because it has no associations, except maybe to 
this odd foreigner making bizarre mouth-noises).

The differences, in these hypothetical two peoples' minds, regarding the 
word 'Smaug', will be many and varied. One person may have read The 
Hobbit as a chlld with the idea that dragons were like cows with wings. 
Another has been exposed to images of chinese dragons with beards and 
elaborate hairdos. Someone else may have read Anne McCaffrey's books 
about Pern, or seen "How to Train your Dragon", And so on. And on, and 
on. There will be thousands or even millions, of permutations. So, 
everyone's Smaug will be different. Trying to define the exact 
differences between one person's 'Smaug' and another's would be like 
trying to define the exact differences between two galaxies, in terms of 
each star, it's type, trajectory, mass, all the gas clouds etc. Well, 
maybe less difficult, but you get the idea (I hope).

The second part of your post is sheer gobbledigook, to me.

And please don't tell me that I'm ignoring the essential abstract 
inverted physical objective dragonness quality that exists in our brains 
as molecules of D-Serine, without which /nobody really knows what a 
dragon is!!/
Or I might do myself a mischief.

Finally, I just want to reiterate, any single token, symbol, concept, 
word, whatever you want to call it, in our minds is not linked to, 
grounded in, associated with, takes meaning from, etc., one single 
thing, but many many things. We don't 'ground' the idea of An Apple to a 
single object (not that we could in any case), we link it to a very 
large number of sensory and memory patterns, inputs, signals, or 
whatever you want to call the activity going on in our heads.

That's why there are no 'elemental qualities' in our minds, and is why 
the term 'grounding' makes little sense. There are myriad linked 
patterns instead. This is not just my own crackpot theory, this is my 
summary of the accepted science, based on two or three centuries worth 
of work (on the part of science, not me).

*'Grounded' concept*

(The block is a 'real-world' object. What this actually means, I have no 
good idea)

**Linked concept (very simplified)*

(The blue ovals are myriad other concepts, memories, sensory inputs, 
tokens, etc.)
Of course, a real diagram of the links would be so dense as to be 
unreadable. The other ovals would be linked to each other as well as to 
the centra oval, and it would be 3D with links extending out, as far as 
the sensory organs, which transduce specific aspects of the 'real world' 
such as temperature changes, specific frequencies of sound, etc.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20230415/360f7ced/attachment-0001.htm>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: jO51lkdnApAnKfUS.png
Type: image/png
Size: 4308 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20230415/360f7ced/attachment-0002.png>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: s6631iCkd9J4X4u7.png
Type: image/png
Size: 59379 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20230415/360f7ced/attachment-0003.png>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list