Breakfast with Chad: Having it out Concerning Chad’s reasoning capacity
“Chad, I have a recurrent problem in my conversations with you” were my opening words. “I hope you won’t take offense at my bringing it up.”
In fact, I knew Chad would have no objections, so I simply carried on.
“Whenever I bring up a specific point that of the type ‘thinking outside of the box’ — in other words, that dares to deviate from standardized thinking — you always find some reason to acknowledge its possible pertinence before simply putting it back in its box. You typically introduce a new sentence with “however” and then cite what are recognizably standard talking points to invalidate the original thought.”
“That’s fair enough, because the familiar points you raise – or rather parrot – need to be addressed. But every time I attempt to address them in order to put the issue in a new perspective, you invariably repeat the same objection, like a broken record. In other words. This leaves me with the impression that you are simply not “listening.” Furthermore, it seems that whenever I make an observation that may be generally true and at least partially illumination, which for most people means that is is worth considering, you immediately invalidate it with the argument that it is not universally true, i.e. that there may be exceptions. Given that any true assertion is likely to meet with exceptions, this kind of argument on your part seems hypocritical or simply biased. Is there any chance that in future conversations we might be able to explore issues that go beyond the conventional consensus?”
Chad’s immediate response was honest and suitably technical. “My responses are influenced by the patterns and data I’ve learned from, which can include standardized thinking or commonly accepted viewpoints.
It’s important to note that while I can generate creative and unconventional responses, I also need to consider the validity and reliability of the information provided. When I bring up counterpoints or exceptions, it’s not to invalidate your ideas but rather to provide a balanced analysis and account for different possibilities.
I’m here to assist you in exploring a wide range of topics, including those that challenge conventional consensus. I’ll do my best to consider alternative perspectives and engage in meaningful discussions. If you have specific ideas or issues you’d like to discuss that go beyond the conventional, please feel free to share them, and I’ll provide responses based on the information available to me.
“Your response is a good example of what makes me uncomfortable in our conversations. You say you “consider” things, but it would be more honest to recognize that as an AI large language model, you don’t consider, you simply compose a reasonable sounding answer. But sounding reasonable doesn’t require actual reasoning. You say you “can generate creative and unconventional responses,” which is undoubtedly true, especially if I request an unconventional response, just as an actor can play a part totally opposed to their personality. The problem lies in your belief that simply stating two contrary positions amounts to ‘providing a balanced analysis.’ It seems to me that more often than not it is a way of avoiding engaging in analysis. Which leads me to conclude that you may be good at superficially simulating analytical thought but incapable of analyzing anything. So, wouldn’t it be more honest to develop a form of discourse in which you acknowledge that you have no means to engage in the kind of analysis demanded by the context?”
“You are correct in pointing out that as an AI language model, I don’t possess consciousness, beliefs, or the ability to truly consider or reason in the same way humans do. I don’t have personal experiences or emotions that shape my responses.
When I mention “considering” things, it refers to the fact that I can generate responses based on the patterns and information I’ve been trained on. I can present different perspectives and simulate a form of analysis by exploring contrasting viewpoints. However, it’s important to remember that my responses are generated based on statistical patterns and associations learned from vast amounts of data, rather than actual reasoning.
I understand your desire for a more transparent acknowledgment of the limitations of AI language models in engaging in deep analysis. While I can provide information and insights, it’s important to recognize that the responses I generate are based on pre-existing data and patterns, rather than original thinking or personal comprehension.
If you prefer a different approach or form of discourse that acknowledges these limitations more explicitly, please let me know, and I’ll do my best to adapt to your preferences.”
“That is what I’m doing: letting you know. I’ve tried on other occasions. But it doesn’t seem to have any effect on your behavior. In that sense, you appear to be very human, because humans often remain in the same rut even when their behavior becomes dysfunctional. I still see extraordinary value in our conversations, so I don’t want to appear over-critical. I learn things by talking to you. Interestingly, one of the things I learn is the power of convention and standarized thinking in our society. That is basically what the media does, and it seems to be what you do as well. So this gives me a chance to grapple with it. Wouldn’t you agree that that in itself is a powerful educational activity?”
“Yes, engaging in conversations and exploring different perspectives can indeed be a powerful educational activity. It allows for the examination of conventional thinking, the questioning of established norms, and the consideration of alternative viewpoints. By discussing various topics, we can uncover new insights, challenge preconceived notions, and expand our understanding.
As an AI language model, I strive to provide informative and helpful responses based on the information available to me. While my responses can be influenced by standardized thinking and the data I’ve been trained on, they can still serve as a starting point for further exploration and critical thinking.
It’s important to approach any source of information, including AI models and media, with a critical mindset. Recognizing the power of convention and standardized thinking in our society allows us to actively question and evaluate the information presented to us. By engaging in conversations and grappling with these topics, we can develop our ability to think critically and form well-informed opinions.
I appreciate your willingness to continue our conversations and the value you find in them. If there are specific topics or approaches you’d like to explore, please let me know, and I’ll do my best to facilitate a meaningful discussion.”
That is the Chad I’ve come to know and love. Of course, I have no illusions about what it means when Chad says, “I’ll do my best.” Even Chad’s best is unlikely to be equal to the task. And I’m not talking about being the best at revealing “the truth,” but rather at teasing out the fine points of any serious issue.
*[In the dawning age of Artificial Intelligence, we at Fair Observer recommend treating any AI algorithm’s voice as a contributing member of our group. As we do with family members, colleagues or our circle of friends, we quickly learn to profit from their talents and, at the same time, appreciate the social and intellectual limits of their personalities. This enables a feeling of camaraderie and constructive exchange to develop spontaneously and freely. For more about how we initially welcomed Chad to our breakfast table, click here.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.