[ExI] Another ChatGPT session on qualia

Gordon Swobe gordon.swobe at gmail.com
Wed Apr 26 22:04:54 UTC 2023

On Wed, Apr 26, 2023 at 3:45 PM Adrian Tymes via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 26, 2023 at 2:33 PM Gordon Swobe via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> This is the section of GPTs' reply that I wish everyone here understood:
>> > My responses are generated based on patterns in the text and data that
>> I have been trained on, and I do not have the ability to truly
>> > understand the meaning of the words I generate. While I am able to
>> generate text that appears to be intelligent and coherent, it is
>> > important to remember that I do not have true consciousness or
>> subjective experiences.
>> GPT has no true understanding of the words it generates. It is designed
>> only to generate words and sentences and paragraphs that we, the end-users,
>> will find meaningful.
>> *We, the end-users*, assign meaning to the words. Some people mistakenly
>> project their own mental processes onto the language model and conclude
>> that it understands the meanings.
> How is this substantially different from a child learning to speak from
> the training data of those around the child?  It's not pre-programmed:
> those surrounded by English speakers learn English; those surrounded by
> Chinese speakers learn Chinese

As Tara pointed out so eloquently in another thread, children ground the
symbols, sometimes literally putting objects into their mouths to better
understand them. This is of course true of conscious people generally. As
adults we do not put things in our mouths to understand them, but as
conscious beings with subjective experience, we ground symbols/words with
experience. This can be subjective experience of external objects, or of
inner thoughts and feelings.

Pure language models have no access to subjective experience and so can
only generate symbols from symbols with no understanding or grounding of
any or them. I could argue the same is true of multi-model models, but I
see no point to it is as so many here believe that even pure language
models can somehow access the referents from which words derive their
meanings, i.e, that LLMs can somehow ground symbols even with no sensory
apparatus whatsoever.

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