[ExI] e: GPT-4 on its inability to solve the symbol grounding problem
ben at zaiboc.net
Sun Apr 16 13:38:56 UTC 2023
On 16/04/2023 05:07, Gordon Swobe wrote:
> Please explain to me how the association of one word with another or
> others tells me anything about the meaning of any if I know the
> meaning of none.
Well, you're kind of begging the question here (as well as grossly
oversimplifying). What does 'meaning' mean? I suggest that you do know
the meaning of a lot of things, but only by virtue of those 'things'
(mental tokens, let's call them, but you could use Words, Symbols, etc.)
being associated with other tokens such as memories and sensory inputs.
So how do you know what a 'chair' is? You have a whole bunch of tokens
associated with other tokens that represent things like how a chair
looks, how it feels to sit in one, that overstuffed chair that your
aunty used to have, someone telling you that chairs can be used to build
a fort in the kitchen, trying to buid a fort in the kitchen out of
chairs but failing because you didn't have enough, the fact that you
know many chairs are made of wood, but some are made of steel or
plastic, your understanding that wood and plastic can burn but steel
normally doesn't, a long pointless argument you had with someone over
whether a bench is a chair, musing about whether a chairman has to
actually sit in a chair or not, I can go on for pages in this vein, I
hope you get the idea.
How you 'know' what a chair is, is formed solely from these associations
with other mental tokens, and the complete set of them is unique to you
and your own experiences (which includes reading about things, talking
to people as well as sitting on things and seeing pictures and even
seeing chairs). They are all encoded as patterns in your brain, which
are in turn linked to the tokens which represent words like chair,
settee, sofa, bench, stool, and so on, and abstracted into another token
that could be called "things to sit on", or even "chairs".
Nowhere in the process is the word "chair" directly linked to an actual
chair. There is no 'grounding', there are multiple associations.
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