[ExI] Symbol Grounding

Gordon Swobe gordon.swobe at gmail.com
Sun Apr 23 22:52:44 UTC 2023

On Sun, Apr 23, 2023 at 2:45 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> This is so frustrating.  I'm asking a simple, elementary school level
> question.  I have friends not practiced in theories of consciousness, who
> get this immediately.  Yet everyone here (except Gordon?)  just either
> changes the subject completely (to the unrelated topic of what is required
> for intelligence), or asks yet more questions, as you are doing here.
> After I sent that first version, I realized it might have better revealed
> the issue to have stated it like this:
> How is it that a bunch of abstract words, like 'red', floating around
> inside a chatbot's brain can end up with [image: green_border.png]

I share your frustration.

I see no reason to believe that GPT has subjective experience of colors or
or of music or of emotions or of anything at all, period.

Moreover, when asked, GPT confirms that it has no subjective experience of
anything at all, period.

What it *does* have is a lot of deep and intensive training on textual
material written by conscious people with subjective experience, and so it
can write *as if* it has subjectieve experience. It *mimics* what conscious
humans look like when writing in the first person.  It does this so well
that some ordinarily intelligent and sane people are fooled into believing
there is actually a person inside the application writing in the first

This is why the founders of OpenAI say, correctly in my view, that the only
reasonable test of a conscious language model would involve removing from
the training corpus any and all references to subjective experiences,
consciousness, etcetera. The training material would need to be written
entirely in the third person and with not even any third person references
to first person experience. If by some miracle Pinocchio then came alive,
we would then have reason to think the LLM is conscious. And Pinocchio
would be a fine name for it.

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