August 18, 2023

Friday, 17 August 2023

My friends are divided. Some of them are superfans of ChatGTP and use it for everything, especially helping them with their writing. Others can’t stand it and go out of their way to make sure that people know that their writing is 100% human-crafted.

As a fan of folks like William Burroughs and Kathy Archer, I think ChatGPT and other language models are fantastic. For me, they validate Burroughs’ insistence that language is a virus. And that we can free ourselves from the bonds words create by letting go of the imposed structure of language.

While in the shower this morning, it occurred to me that the mind is essentially an organic large-language model. And perhaps our fear is generative AI tools like ChatGPT are better at being large-language models than we are.

Curious, I asked GPT-4 about the similarities between the human mind and LLM’s. Here’s what GPT-4 had to say:

As much as people argue against using LLM’s because they’ve been trained on other people’s data, I see a little difference between that and how we acquire knowledge. We’ve been being “trained” with other people’s data since birth. I bet you’d be hard pressed to show me a completely original idea you’ve had. Even the language you use is not originated by you. Much like generative AI does, we rearrange the language to produce unique outputs, but they’re still derivative of something we’ve learned, seen, heard before.

We do have our differences from LLM’s. The things that make us distinctly human and that no machine has been able to replicate yet. Here’s what GPT-4 had to say about our differences:

The freedom of being an amateur

I want to wear the title of philosopher, but I’m hesitant because of the connotations associated with the word in these modern times. My only formal philosophy class was the ethical and moral philosophy class I took as a cadet at West Point. It was a required part of our curriculum. It also turned out to be one of my favourite courses during my 4 years at the Academy. Outside of the formal classroom, I have read and studied a lot of philosophy. It’s my favourite subject. I philosophise a lot. I love wisdom. I feel like a philosopher on the inside, yet I hesitate to call myself a philosopher.It’s a classic battle of labels for me. I find labels too restrictive. But they are a necessary evil. They help us identify, clarify, and classify the things we encounter in the world outside of ourselves.

I could say I am a philosopher because I am a lover of wisdom, but that seems too trite. I could say I am a philosopher because I have the right to self-identify however I like, but that makes me feel like an imposter. Neither of those scenarios work for me., but I have found a solution that does. It’s in the word amateur. I can be an amateur philosopher. Being an amateur philosopher doesn’t require formal education or qualifications. Instead, it involves embracing a philosophical mindset and actively engaging with philosophical questions and ideas without the burden of being a professional.

Being an amateur allows me to enjoy the journey of exploration, growth, and self-discovery driven by a genuine passion for philosophy rather than external pressures to live up to some idealised standard. As an amateur, I’m not tied down to the conventions, norms, or expectations of philosophy. I have the freedom to explore different approaches, experiment, and innovate without being pressured to conform.


I’m in the process of redesigning the site, so things will look a little messy for a short while.

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