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

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Mon Apr 17 17:52:29 UTC 2023

On 17/04/2023 17:49, Gordon Swobe wrote:
> It is mind-blowing that even after all my attempts to explain 
> Linguistics 101, you guys still fail to understand the meaning of the 
> word "referent." 

Then, please, explain it to us! (using the relevant discipline, i.e. 
neuroscience, not linguistics). Presumably you think linguistics is 
relevant because these systems we're discussing are called "Large 
Language Models", but having 'language' in the name doesn't mean that 
'language' explains how they work. It's all about signal-processing. 
Unless you think that only brains use signal-processing and not LLMs, or 

So try explaining it in terms that we will understand. Presumably my 
diagram from several posts ago:

*'Grounded' concept*

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

is inaccurate, and not what you mean at all, so maybe you can explain it 
in terms of the other diagram:
**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./

Or, if not, then at least in terms of the things that we know to be true 
about the brain. i.e., nothing in the brain has access to anything 
except signals from other parts of the brain, and signals from the sense 
organs, coded in the 'language' our brains use: spike trains. I'm sure 
you know what spike trains are (giving a stern warning look at Spike 
here, finger to lips).

And, again if you disagree with the statement above, please give your 
reasons for disagreeing.

It's no good complaining that people don't understand you if you can't 
explain what you mean.


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