[ExI] Symbol Grounding

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Fri Apr 21 11:18:07 UTC 2023

Here is a diagram (because I'm generally a visual person, and can 
usually understand things if I can draw them):

A very general, high-level and crude diagram that tries to illustrate 
the concept of 'symbol grounding' as I understand it, from these 
discussions we've been having. Plus an arrow representing output of 
speech or text, or anything really, that the system is capable of 
outputting (obviously there's a hell of a lot going on in every single 
element in the diagram, that I'm ignoring for simplicity's sake).

As far as I understand, the 'symbol grounding' occurs between the 
conceptual models (built up from sensory inputs and memories) and the 
language centres (containing linguistic 'tokens', or symbols), as we've 
previously agreed.

There are two arrows here because the models can be based on or include 
data from the language centres as well as from the environment. The 
symbols (tokens) in the language centres represent, and are 'grounded 
in', the conceptual models (these are the object and action models I've 
discussed earlier, and likely other types of models, too, and would 
include a 'self-model' if the system has one, linked to the token "I").

The sensory inputs are of various modalities like vision, sounds, text, 
and so-on (whatever the system's sensors are capable of perceiving and 
encoding), and of course will be processed in a variety of ways to 
extract 'features' and combine them in various ways, etc.

I didn't include something to represent Memory, to keep things as simple 
as possible.

So, could we say that this diagram illustrates, in a very general way, 
what's going on in a human? in a LLM AI? Both? Neither?

Would you say it's broadly correct, or missing something, or incorrect 
in another way?


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