[ExI] My guesses about GPTs consciousness

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sun Apr 16 05:22:46 UTC 2023

On Sun, Apr 9, 2023 at 12:16 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Smart doorbell systems able to detect the presence of a person in
> proximity to a door and alter behavior accordingly have some primitive
> sensory capacity. One cannot sense without consciousness.
### I am not so sure about that. Are you familiar with the phenomenon of
blindsight? Patients with certain brain lesions who claim to be unaware
(not consciously aware of) a visual target and yet physically react to the
target when present?

This is one of the reasons why I do not subscribe to e.g. panpsychism and
do not believe all behaving animals have consciousness. There is a whole
lot of complicated information processing that can guide goal-oriented
behavior that can happen without conscious experience. Consciousness that
we experience is something that requires a lot of neural hardware that is
absent or much different in other animals, and when this hardware is
disturbed in us, it distorts or eliminates consciousness, in part or

GPT has a lot of intelligence and I think it does have a sort of
consciousness but I am guessing it is completely different from an awake
human. Here are some of the reasons why I think so:

1) Almost all of the cognitive heavy lifting that leads to GTP's answers
takes place during training. The billions of parameters that determine
GTP-4 intelligence were set in silicon last year.
Our interactions with it use the pre-trained structure as sort of a look-up
2) Human consciousness involves continuous information transfer in a loop
between the global workspace structures in the prefrontal cortex and the
distributed knowledge throughout specialized cortical areas. GPT doesn't
seem to have anything of this kind (but my knowledge of its structure is
hazy, so maybe I am wrong). If GPT is conscious, it's more like being in a
delirium, flashing in and out of focus rather than having a continuous
stream of consciousness.
3) GPT does not have proprioceptive and visceral sensory input, does not
have drives controlled by body states (hunger, thirst, lust). It has
cognitive models of such drives, just as we can imagine, but not
experience, the interests of other animals. So GPT could fake the verbal
output of a human responding to instinctive drives but it does not
experience them.
4) I do not know what structures arose in the GPT4 to be able to process
sensory (e.g. visual) information. If they are different from the human
sensory cortex, the corresponding qualia might be also completely different
from human.

My guess is that GTP's consciousness is like a lobotomized genius human
polymath storyteller who is kept sedated with ketamine and suffers from
locked-in syndrome, and is barely hanging on but still smart enough to
impress us chumps.

Things will get interesting when he wakes up.

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