[ExI] Symbol Grounding

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Sat Apr 29 07:21:41 UTC 2023

Look at almost any scientific explanation. What is fire, a bunch of
molecules moving very fast and emitting light and infrared light. One can
add more and more details to explain how the speed of the molecules are
distributed, the chemical reactions taking place, and so on and on and on.
Does this create fire in front of me while I describe what fire is from a
scientific point of view? No, it doesn't. Is there an explanatory gap?
Somebody could use the same objection and say when I don't feel hot when
you describe what fire is. How a bunch of molecules moving can create this
amazing phenomenon I see right now (while watching some wood burning).
Well, this is how we explain things in science using equations, explaining
dynamical events, reactions,s and so on.

What an explanation that fills the stupid explanatory gap is supposed to
look like? What you are really looking for?
To me it seems almost you guys want magic, like an evocation, not science.
Please go ahead and explain what such a perfect explanation of qualia would
look like. I don't see how the involvement of glutamate could be a
candidate for such an explanation.

On Sat, Apr 29, 2023 at 12:05 AM Giovanni Santostasi <gsantostasi at gmail.com>

> * How the heck could a train of spikes produce a redness experience?*But
> it does like everything else in our brain. Why a chemical could do that
> better? I don't get it. A chemical is just a mean to transmit information.
> The air we use to communicate via voice is not the critical thing in
> communicating a message. It is just a mean. There is no special
> characteristic of air that makes communication more meaningful. If anything
> it has many limitations and hindrances but it is what we had available as
> we evolved.
> The spikes convey information, the experience is information that informs
> itself. This is the real miracle of awareness, this self-loop. It is not
> mysterious of other things that are, like the repulsion of 2 electrical
> charges, how that is done? That is what irritates me about the qualia
> fanatics, they think that qualia deserve an explanation that can somehow
> produce the experience in others (or it is not even clear what they hope a
> suitable explanation looks like) but they never apply this to other
> phenomena in the universe. They ask how does it feel to be a bat but not
> how does it feel to be an electron. How one feels is not science and it
> should not be.
> On Fri, Apr 28, 2023 at 11:23 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On Fri, Apr 28, 2023 at 11:34 AM Gordon Swobe via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> On Wed, Apr 26, 2023 at 1:10 PM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>> On 26/04/2023 18:32, extropy-chat-request at lists.extropy.org wrote:
>>>> On Wed, Apr 26, 2023 at 10:58 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
>>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>>> I wrote to you that in my opinion you were conflating linguistics and
>>>>> neuroscience.
>>>>> Actually, you went further than that, arguing that linguistics is not
>>>>> even the correct discipline.  But you were supposedly refuting my recent
>>>>> argument which is entirely about what linguistics — the science of language
>>>>> — can inform us about language models.
>>>>> -gts
>>>>> Yes, prior to my question. Which has a point. But you are still
>>>>> dodging it.
>>>> I simply have no interest in it.
>>>> OK, then. That clears that up. You have no interest in even listening
>>>> to someone else's argument, much less engaging with it. I get it.
>>> I explained that while your theory of spike trails in the brain and so
>>> on is interesting, it tells me nothing about how a digital computer with no
>>> brain and no nervous system and no sense organs or sensory apparatus
>>> whatsoever can understand the meanings of words merely from analyzing how
>>> they appear in relation to one another statistically in the corpus.
>> Ben.  All spike trails or trains, or whatever, begin and end with
>> neurotransmitters being dumped into a synapse, right?  Seems to me that
>> someone who predicts someone's knowledge of [image: red_border.png], is
>> more likely to be spike trains, than the quality of a chemical in a
>> synapse, like Giovani, has no ability to understand or model the true
>> nature of a subjective qualities.  How the heck could a train of
>> spikes produce a redness experience?  Just like functionalists can't
>> provide a falsifiable "function" that would result in redness, without
>> passing the laugh test, there is no hypothetical example of any train of
>> spikes, from which a redness experience would result.  I bet you can't give
>> me any example that would pass the laugh test.
>>> The reality as I see it and *as GPT-4 itself explains it *is that it
>>> does not truly understand the meanings of words. We all find that amazing
>>> and difficult to believe as the words appear meaningful to us and sometimes
>>> even profoundly meaningful, but we as the end-users of this technology are
>>> the ones finding/assigning the meanings to the words. GPT-4 is merely
>>> generating symbols that it has a high degree of confidence will have
>>> meaning to us.
>> I don't think I'd go this far.  the fact that GPT-4 is "merely generating
>> symbols that it has a high degree of confidence will have meaning to us."
>> to me, says it has the ability to model exactly that meaning, and know what
>> that meaning is.  And its models must be very isomorphic to a lot of facts
>> both platonic and physical, otherwise, it couldn't do what it is doing.
>> True, there is a lot of meaning missing.  But there is a lot of meaning
>> that it must be understood and modeled in some way way, otherwise it
>> couldn't do what it does.
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