[ExI] all we are is just llms

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Sat Apr 22 23:47:46 UTC 2023

Let's use the caveman example.

Caveman decides to make a sound that imitates the "wolf" to indicate there
is a wolf near the cave and he wants to alert the other cavemen.

Language is born (by the way certain animals have this simplified form of
language). What is going on in the caveman's head? A lot.

It is not a simple 1-1 relationship between the sound that the wolf makes
and the idea of a wolf in general. That is what a parrot does, using Berger
stupid analogy. In fact, it is not even what a parrot does because what
parrots do and why is a completely different business (most birds learn how
to imitate different sounds to enrich their love songs and make them more
interesting to attract mates).

The caveman is abstracting. It is generalizing the idea of wolf, as a
particularly dangerous predator, it is generalizing the fact wolf make
different sounds and it chooses one that he believes other cavemen will
recognize as a wolf. He sees himself in them reacting to him communicating
the presence of a wolf outside via vocalization and so on. There is not a
simple process of grounding as Gordon wants to believe. The idea of
grounding was invented by linguist to simplify what language does but it is
an illusion and a fantasy. Language is much more complex than that. The
only thing one can say is that most human language has some relation to the
real world because our main concern as conscious beings initially was to
survive. Language was another tool for this survival. Think about a pointed
stone knife. What is the referent of this knife? With this I mean what is
the real life example that this knife is supposed to represent? One can
think that is a predator canine like the one in a wolf or a tusk but then
why not to use those as a knife? A knife is an invented object that doesn't
exist in nature. It could have been inspired by a tusk but it is not a
tusk, it is a higher abstraction. Same things with words that are the tool
of language. They are invented things even when they seem to refer to "real
objects". In which sense a stone is real? It is not, it is an abstraction
because somehow I have to abstract the properties of rocks and put all the
possible objects with similar characteristics (chosen by me arbitrarily) in
the same category. What comes first the 1 to 1 reference process or the
abstraction? Of course, the abstraction because THERE IS NOTHING TO POINT
TO, if I don't first in my brain decide this is a particularly important
object to point at. Gordon and the linguists have it upside down, we create
language and words in our head first and then we link them to the real


On Sat, Apr 22, 2023 at 4:33 PM Giovanni Santostasi <gsantostasi at gmail.com>

> *The statement "referents are made of language" is simply false on the
> definition of referent*
> Gordon,
> Which definition? The linguist one?
> Linguistics is obsolete, in particular at the theoretical level. It is a
> humanity discipline that tries to make sense of language with tools that
> are not adequate. In other words, is not a science. It is worst than
> psychology.
> We need to develop a scientific form of linguistics and this will require
> education in math, physics, and computer science.
> We have tried many times to tell you that the link between things is the
> referent. I can make a new definition of what reference is (the close loop
> representing relations between objects) and then explain that what people
> identify as referents in human language have exactly this characteristic
> and as we explained to you the idea that human language referents are
> "anchored" to an object is a useful convention but in reality is an
> illusion.
> I'm pretty sure the statement above points to this illusion that you
> continue to say is what grounds language.
> On Sat, Apr 22, 2023 at 4:55 AM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> Hi Gordon and Ben,
>> It is very interesting, educational, and insightful to follow these
>> conversations, and see your different ways of thinking about things.
>> I have a question for you both.  I'm interested to see how your answers
>> will differ.
>> CPUs have registers, and the computations are always done between
>> registers.  Things like comparison, addition, exclusive or and all that
>> kind of stuff.
>> Would either of you guys label those mechanisms done in the CPU as
>> "communication" or "language"?
>> On Sat, Apr 22, 2023 at 4:01 AM Gordon Swobe via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> On Sat, Apr 22, 2023 at 2:43 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>> (you think that pointing is not a language? I suspect many deaf people
>>>> would disagree)
>>> Fine with me. Sign language is also a form of language.
>>>> This is why referring to linguistics is not helping.
>>> ? Because we are going to include sign language in our definition of
>>> language, linguistics is not helping? Linguists consider sign language also
>>> to be a form of language.
>>> In our primitive caveman example, in which he points at let us say an
>>> animal, his first "words" in sign language translate to something like
>>> "Look over there! See what I see?" Based on how frantic or calm is his
>>> gesturing, his interlocutor might also know if his friend perceives the
>>> animal as a threat or as food. Now he has two words. Before long, Fred and
>>> Barney are also grunting identifiable noises as their sign language evolves
>>> into more complex verbal language.
>>>> As I said earlier, it's the wrong discipline here.
>>> Language models model language and linguistics is the science of
>>> language.
>>> > Referents, being internal conceptual models, *are made of language*.
>>> They must be, because there's nothing else to work with, in the brain.
>>> Really? My brain has visual perceptions and sounds and imaginations and
>>> non-verbal thoughts and music and many things going on that can be
>>> *described* with language but are not language.
>>> I understand what you are trying to say about the "language of the
>>> brain" but I would say you are conflating neurology and language.
>>> The statement "referents are made of language" is simply false on the
>>> definition of referent. Only a tiny subset of words in the English language
>>> have language as referents. Linguists call them meta-words. They are parts
>>> of speech and similar. For example, the word "nouns" refers to the set of
>>> all nouns.
>>> -gts
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