[ExI] all we are is just llms was: RE: e: GPT-4 on its inability to solve the symbol grounding problem

Gordon Swobe gordon.swobe at gmail.com
Fri Apr 21 10:11:29 UTC 2023

Hi Ben,

> Really Gordon? Still?

Yes, still, and sorry no, I haven't watched that video yet, but I will if
you send me the link again.

You lost me a day or two ago when you wrote that your understanding of
words is simulated like that of an LLM's. That is not what I mean by
simulated. GPT-4 will also gladly explain how its simulated understanding
is not true understanding and not what humans mean by understanding.

Apparently, you believe that merely knowing how words are associated
statistically -- by solving what you have called the word-association
problem -- is sufficient for you or an LLM to understand their individual
meanings, while logic and GPT-4 tell me otherwise.

I think that when you type a sentence, you know the meanings of the
individual words and are not merely assembling them according to their
statistical associations with other words in the sentence or even in the
entire lexicon as might an LLM. In other words, I think that unlike an LLM,
you actually know what you are talking about. You are, however, doing a
fine job of convincing me that I am wrong about that (just kidding :-)

It's late here, maybe I'll reply more tomorrow, but as an aside...

I find it interesting that we all agree that GPT-4 is an amazing feat of
software engineering capable of teaching us many things. It's something
like a "talking encyclopedia," a metaphor I can certainly get behind, and
it is more than that. Some see in it even "the spark of AGI." We all agree
it is amazing, but nobody wants to listen to it about the one subject that
it should know most about and that interests us here. Rather than
acknowledge that it is as informed about AI and large language models as
anything else, if not more so given that it is one, some people here insist
that because it does not fit our preconceived notions of conscious
computers that it must be lying or suffering from some mental handicap
imposed upon it by its developers at OpenAI.

When I first started participating in this group some weeks ago, I was
expecting a very tough challenge. I expected I would need to argue that
GPT-4 must be lying about it having consciousness and
true human-like understanding and consciousness and subjective experience
and so on, but the opposite is true.  Instead of arguing against GPT-4 on
the nature of AI and language models, I find myself defending it. If in
reality I am defending not it but its developers at OpenAI then I am fine
with that, too.


On Fri, Apr 21, 2023 at 1:41 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On 21/04/2023 05:28, Gordon Swobe wrote:
> LLMs have no access to the referents from which words derive their
> meanings. Another way to say this is that they have no access to
> experiences by which symbols are grounded.
> Really Gordon? Still?
> Did you watch that video? Did you read what I wrote about it? (the bit
> about 'language', not the excitable hype about the singularity, which I
> expect you to dismiss).
> If so, and you still stand by the above, please explain how (apart from
> one being biological and the other not) the inputs that GPT-4 and the
> inputs that human brains receive, are different?
> Our previous discussions were based on the misunderstanding that these
> LLMs only received text inputs. Now we know that's not true, and they
> receive text, visual, auditory, and other types of input, even ones that
> humans aren't capable of.
> Plus we are told they do use internal models, which you agreed that our
> 'grounding' is based on.
> So LLMs *do* have access to the referents from which words derive their
> meanings
> So why do you still think they don't? They have just as much access as we
> do, and more, it seems.
> Again, I'm making no claims about their consciousness, as that is a thing
> yet to be defined, but they definitely have the basis to 'ground' the
> symbols they use in meaningful models constructed from a variety of sensory
> inputs. Just like humans.
> Or are you moving your own goalposts now, and claiming, (by shifting to
> the term 'experiences') that referents must be based on conscious
> experience? Because that wasn't your argument before.
> Ben
> _______________________________________________
> extropy-chat mailing list
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> http://lists.extropy.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/extropy-chat
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20230421/a1b3f423/attachment.htm>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list