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

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Sat Apr 15 20:47:50 UTC 2023

*Of course there is to more to meaning than understanding how meaningless
symbols relate statistically and grammatically to other meaningless
symbols! *How do you know?
What if humans do the same thing? Even with external inputs, our visual
inputs are meaningless unless when related to other sensory inputs. I have
made an argument that even nature at the fundamental level is all
relations. It is exactly how nature works.
There is a lot of work showing that humans are inference machines. They
derive meaning from probabilistic patterns. Like LLM do. Plus emergent
Your idea of grounding, it doesn't matter if philosophers think is
important, is less grounded than you think.


On Sat, Apr 15, 2023 at 1:23 PM Gordon Swobe via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Fri, Apr 14, 2023 at 6:01 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Imagine a machine that searches for a counterexample to Goldbach's
> conjecture .... So, we arguably have a property here which is true for the
> program: it either halts or doesn't, but one which is inaccessible to us
> even when we know everything there is to know about the code itself.
> >>
> >>
> >> Interesting, yes.
> >
> >
> > Do you think this could open the door to first person properties which
> are not understandable from their third person descriptions?
> Not sure what you mean by "open the door," but my answer here is the same
> as for the paper you cited. I have no problem with the idea that we can
> create objective models of the mind that show how some properties are
> private or inaccessible. Psychologists have been doing it for centuries.
> The models all still fail to overcome this explanatory gap to which Nagel
> and I refer.  There are facts of the world that exist only from a
> particular point of view and thus cannot be captured in objective language
> which by definition can only describe the world from no particular point of
> view.
> >> However, you clarified above that...
> >>
> >> > It would be more accurate to say it demonstrates that it has overcome
> the symbol grounding problem.
> >>
> >> Okay, I can agree with that. It has "overcome" the symbol grounding
> problem for the language of mathematics without solving it in the same way
> that it has overcome the symbol grounding problem for English without
> solving it. It overcomes these problems with powerful statistical analysis
> of the patterns and rules of formal mathematics with no understandings of
> the meanings.
> >
> >
> > You presume there's something more to meaning than that
> Of course there is to more to meaning than understanding how meaningless
> symbols relate statistically and grammatically to other meaningless
> symbols! That is why I bring up this subject of the symbol grounding
> problem in philosophy. It is only in the grounding of symbols that we can
> know their meanings. This requires insight into the world outside of
> language and symbols. Otherwise, with respect to mathematical symbols, we
> are merely carrying out the formal operations of mathematics with no
> understanding, which is exactly what I believe GPT-4 does and can only do.
> GPT-4 agrees, but it is not that I look to GPT-4 as the authority. I look
> to my own understanding of language models as the authority and I am
> relieved to see that I needn’t argue that GPT-4 is stating falsehoods as I
> was expecting when I first entered these discussions some weeks ago.
> I wonder why anyone feels it necessary to ascribe consciousness to
> language models in the first place. Outside of indulging our sci-fi
> fantasies, what purpose does this silly anthropomorphism serve? By Occam’s
> Razor, we should dismiss the idea as nonsense.
> -gts
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