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

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at gmail.com
Tue Apr 18 11:10:19 UTC 2023

Hi Ben,

On Tue, Apr 18, 2023 at 4:17 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On 18/04/2023 00:37, Brent Allsop wrote:
> I'm trying to get my head around this view that all there are is
> relationships.
> My normal thinking is, there is the subject, I.  There is the object, the
> ball.  Then there is the programmed relationship;  I throw.
> I, is a label for my body.  The ball is a round object that fits in my
> hand.  And "throw" is a label for a set of programming that defines the
> relationship (what am I going to do to the ball?)
> For me, it is the computational binding which contains all the diverse
> sets of programmed, or meaningful relationships.  For me, you still need
> the objective, for the relationships to be meaningful.
> This is how I'd put it in terms of the 'Internal Models' model that I've
> been talking about:
> "there is the subject, I"
> Which is an agent model of the agent doing the modelling (a 'self-model')
> "There is the object"
> Well, how do you know that? What is 'an object'? All we really have is
> incoming sensory signals. So we join them together, in accordance with
> regularities we notice, to create another model. This we give a label, and
> is what we are actually referring to when we talk about 'an object'. We
> really mean our internal model that we assume corresponds to something
> coherent in the world outside our heads that we assume exists (and which we
> have no absolute knowledge of, because we only have access to incoming
> sensory signals)
> So I'd prefer to say 'There is the object model'
> So far, two internal models.
> "Then there is the programmed relationship; I throw"
> Again, how do we know we 'throw'?
> Bearing in mind that all we have are incoming signals, that we can connect
> to outgoing signals (instructions to the motor cortex to perform actions),
> we have to rely on predictable patterns that can be produced, and can then
> generate an 'action model' for throwing, that we can link to an object
> model for a ball. This involves at least three interconnected internal
> models - one for 'the ball', one for our body (or the relevant parts of it
> at the time) and one for 'throwing'. Incoming sensory data gives us
> information about the result of the action. And then we feel bad because
> the result is closely associated with the 'you throw like a girl'
> conceptual model.
> "I, is a label for my body"
> I'd say 'my body' and 'I' are two different models. Closely associated,
> but not the same thing.

Yes, for sure.  You are distinguishing reality from knowledge of reality,
as required to understand all this.

> "The ball is a round object that fits in my hand"
> 'The ball' is an object model that can be associated in various ways with
> the hand portion of my body model.
> So presumably, here, 'computational binding' means the associations these
> models make with one another under different circumstances.
> I think the key thing here, is the concept that *we never deal directly
> with 'real-world things'*. In fact this is impossible. instead, we deal
> with models in our heads, using incoming sensory (and outgoing motor, with
> feedback loops) signals to create and manipulate the internal mental models.
> When we say "the flower smells nice", it's shorhand for "my pleasure
> centres are being stimulated by olfactory signals closely associated with
> my internal model labelled 'the flower'".
> The fact that we can only have 'second hand' information via our senses,
> and not 'direct knowledge' of things in the world, explains why we are
> easily fooled sometimes. The smell actually came from an open packet of
> fruit pastilles that we didn't see, and the flower has no scent at all.
> Or that bang we just heard, simultaneous with the sight of a pigeon
> landing on the lawn, is actually a bike backfiring, and not the sound of a
> really heavy pigeon, which is what we first thought. I suppose you could
> say that we have 'computationally bound' the auditory and visual signals
> together, but the result is soon realised as absurd (because we have no
> memories of such massively heavy pigeons, so the interpretation, or model,
> is so weak that it's easily outcompeted by other interpretations).
> 'Knowledge of real things', if such a thing were possible, would make
> these illusions impossible.
> Ben
> PS when you say "computationally bound", it seems to me you mean
> "associated". If this is correct, isn't that an easier, quicker and more
> importantly, clearer, term?

To me, "associations" are static things.  You use a dictionary to find out
what is statically associated with what.

Computational binding is the computation required to achieve intelligent
situational awareness.
An abstract CPU needs to iterate through every pixel of the surface of the
strawberry, doing computational binding like comparisons, summing and so
on, in order to decide if the strawberry is ready to be picked, or not.
With phenomenal computational binding of our subjective knowledge of all
the pixels of a strawberry, we are just aware of all of them, and how they
compare to each other, how ripe it needs to be, to be picked, and all
that.  All as one composite computationally bound set of stuff making up
our intelligent situational awareness, goals, the actions we are directing
to achieve those goals and so on....
There must be a huge set of computational hardware which achieves all this
situational awareness in parallel.
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