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

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Mon Apr 17 01:29:15 UTC 2023

*Nowhere in the process is the word "chair" directly linked to an
actualchair. There is no 'grounding', there are multiple associations.*
It is mind-blowing that somebody as smart as Gordon doesn't understand what
you explained.
Again, we gave so many examples and arguments. I showed how in Physics even
F=ma is a tautology but you can overcome the tautology by using the formula
to order a sequence so the meaning is in the ordering. One can do the same
thing with any concept not just mass.
It is more complicated than other concepts but it can be done. And it is
done by the brain. The chair Gordon things is the grounding for the chair
It is an abstraction. It is for sure not my chair! Because I'm sure the
many chairs I had to see and understand as chairs as I grew up were not his
chairs at all. And though we arrived at the same concept not by grounding
but by the opposite process, abstracting from some concrete examples to a
very general and abstract chair. You can abstract when you see how a chair
is related to other chairs or things that are not chairs. How large a chair
is, the fact chairs have 4 legs (most of the time) relative to a stool that
has 3, and so on and on. You know what a chair is not because there is a
GOD MADE chair that is the reference of all chairs, the standard chair but
because we extract the meaning of a chair from its relationships to other
objects and itself.
I have no clue how this is not incredibly obvious to any intelligent person
(as Gordon evidently is). It has to be something else that makes him stick
to his position, that is more political than intellectual.

On Sun, Apr 16, 2023 at 6:40 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> 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.
> Ben
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