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Opinion | Noam Chomsky: The False Promise of ChatGPT - The New York Times

Opinion | Noam Chomsky: The False Promise of ChatGPT - The New York Times

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Noam Chomsky on ChatGPT, Bard and Sydney, which "take huge amounts of data, search for patterns in it and become increasingly proficient at generating statistically probable outputs — such as seemingly humanlike language and thought... hailed as the first glimmers on the horizon of artificial general intelligence ... surpassing human ... intellectual insight, artistic creativity and every other distinctively human faculty... but its dawn is not yet breaking... they differ profoundly from how humans reason and use language... [meaning] significant limitations on what these programs can do, encoding them with ineradicable defects...

The human mind is not... a lumbering statistical engine for pattern matching... it seeks not to infer brute correlations among data points but to create explanations...

machine learning is description and prediction; it does not posit any causal mechanisms ... unlimited in what they can ... memorize... [but] incapable of distinguishing the possible from the impossible... can learn both that the earth is flat and that the earth is round... [so] the predictions of machine learning systems will always be superficial and dubious... True intelligence is demonstrated in the ability to think and express improbable but insightful things.... [and is] also capable of moral thinking."

Using a conversation with ChatGPT on the morality of terraforming Mars, Chomsky observes "the moral indifference born of unintelligence... exhibits something like the banality of evil: plagiarism and apathy and obviation", summarising arguments but refusing to take a position because its creators learnt their lesson with Taybot. They are "unable to balance creativity with constraint... overgenerate (producing both truths and falsehoods, endorsing ethical and unethical decisions alike) or undergenerate (exhibiting noncommitment to any decisions and indifference to consequences)."

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