[ExI] Another ChatGPT session on qualia

Gordon Swobe gordon.swobe at gmail.com
Thu Apr 27 05:04:11 UTC 2023

On Wed, Apr 26, 2023 at 4:20 PM Adrian Tymes via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 26, 2023 at 3:05 PM Gordon Swobe <gordon.swobe at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> 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-modal 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.
> Agreed, for the record, but I figured the point needed clarifying.

Thank you, Adrian. It is heartening to see that my efforts here have not
been all for naught.

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