Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 207. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org  From: Jim Rovira
Subject: Re: [Humanist] 34.203: on GPT-3 (39)  From: Mark Wolff Subject: Re: [Humanist] 34.203: on GPT-3 (65)  From: William L. Benzon Subject: NEW SAVANNA: What Louis Milic saw back in 1966 [digital humanities] (21) -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2020-08-02 16:41:42+00:00 From: Jim Rovira Subject: Re: [Humanist] 34.203: on GPT-3 Many thanks for these recent posts about GPT-3. I have to say those opening sentences are remarkable. Since they don't "mean" anything to the machine, though, and they don't, I don't think they teach us anything about intelligence, at least not human intelligence, and probably not about intelligence in any general sense. I think we need to remember one key point: - textual meaning exists for readers only. I wanted to set that idea apart so that we can focus on it. That seems like a remarkable thing to say, but textual meaning only exists even for authors only as readers of their own texts. We read our texts in advance, in our heads, and then write them -- how far in advance is a matter of our planning process, but the editing process we all go through tells us that we're not perfect readers of our own texts during the composition process. Authors only finish their works as readers of their own texts. That's when they make some final decisions about "meaning" that is embodied in the editing choices they make. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to write and interpret a sentence simultaneously, especially any sentence demonstrating any kind of complexity. That's also why I reject the Turing test as telling us anything meaningful about the machine. It's a test of human readers, not machine intelligence. So the machine as a writer is not demonstrating any intelligence. I think the machine as a writer demonstrates the sophistication of its programming only. Now if the machine continued to write, -agonizing- over word choices (can a machine agonize or experience emotion without an organic body? It can simulate emotional reactions, but is that the same as -feeling- these emotions?), writing complete, coherent stories, and then could have a conversation with us about what the story -meant- after the fact -- best of all, getting miffed if we misunderstood or criticized its story -- then it would be demonstrating intelligence. In other words, we only demonstrate human intelligence through stupidity. Jim R -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2020-08-02 14:02:30+00:00 From: Mark Wolff Subject: Re: [Humanist] 34.203: on GPT-3 On Aug 2, 2020, at 2:58 AM, Humanist wrote: > To my mind (to rephrase and expand), three questions arise: > > (1) What is 'intelligence'? Should we not be talking in terms of > different intelligences? (See the recent research of the ethologists.) > > (2) How do we develop the artificial kind(s) according to its (their) > own particular characteristics and constraints? From the evidence we > currently have, what is utterly new, strange but somehow teases us > intellectually, perceptually? > > and finally, to quote Marilyn Strathern from her discussion of Donna > Haraway on cyborgs,[***] > > (3) "The question is the kind of connection one might conceive between > entities that are made and reproduced in different ways - have different > origins in that sense - but which work together." I think we are running down a rabbit hole if we are trying to distinguish artificial intelligence from human intelligence when it comes to writing. Willard writes: > I want to know, what do we learn about our own abilities, and what are the differences between the machine's offering and our own -- and again, by "our own" I mean the very best we humans can produce? The problem with this formulation is that we don’t really know what “our own abilities” are because humans always create within a world with things at hand. When it comes to writing we can’t really isolate ourselves from the world and determine what is human and what is not because we think in, through, and with the world. We can historicize literary artefacts and explain their contexts, but this in a way takes them out of the world. Instead of trying to distinguish what a machine can do with language from what humans can do, I think a more productive (and rather uncharted) line of inquiry would be to see what humans can write with machines. The notion of distibuted cognition, where cognitive work is shared by humans and machines, is helpful here. Does the way in which humans write physically (stylus, pen, typewriter, keyboard) and the linguistic resources at their disposal (libraries, dictionaries and thesauri, autocorrect apps) contribute to what they write? Of course it does. And we can try to tease out how distributed cognition works when it comes to writing, but a more humanist approach would be to explore what can be written with various forms of technology as they constitute the “terroir” (to borrow from Thomas Rickert) of the communicative act. For humanists the question concerning intelligence is not epistemological. It is ontological and rhetorical, in the sense that, ultimately, we use language in a given situation to persuade each other about who we are. Who are we with machines, and how can we express that in useful ways? mw -- Mark B. Wolff, Ph.D. Professor of French Chair, Modern Languages One Hartwick Drive Hartwick College Oneonta, NY 13820 (607) 431-4615 http://markwolff.name/ -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 2020-08-02 07:03:28+00:00 From: William L. Benzon Subject: NEW SAVANNA: What Louis Milic saw back in 1966 [digital humanities] Willard – Here’s a post about Milic’s essay [-- which speaks to the question at hand. --WM]. BB https://new-savanna.blogspot.com/2020/08/what-louis-milic-saw-back-in-1966.html Bill Benzon email@example.com 917-717-9841 http://new-savanna.blogspot.com/ http://www.facebook.com/bill.benzon http://www.flickr.com/photos/stc4blues/ https://independent.academia.edu/BillBenzon http://www.bergenarches.com _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: firstname.lastname@example.org List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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