Reply To: General discussion

  • Whit Blauvelt

    March 30, 2023 at 7:12 pm

    The large language models are predictive, as you say. Given the sentences of the prompt, what responses can you predict, having ingested enough literature to have data on what’s likely to follow what? Now consider how much of talk in mind may also be predictive. When we listen to someone else speak, we are already engaged in predicting where they will go with it. That’s part of why jokes that frustrate our prediction can work so well. When we take ourselves to be listening to our own talk in mind, don’t we similarly predict? Once we’re doing so, can we tell the difference between “true” talk in mind and the prediction of where it’s going? That is, which of it represents our real ideas, and which merely represents where we predict they might go? Can such prediction run away, such that we effectively have a short circuit, where what we predict we might think becomes confused with our better founded thoughts?

    That presumes there’s better founding to be done than words-strung-from-words can ever have. Those who believe the source of consciousness to be in our colonization by public languages might disagree on that.

    Can the LH problem such as McGilchrist maps out be accurately described as that hemisphere short-circuiting on its own linguistic predictions, as if there were an ego, a self-in-self, a homunculus there to listen to in a predictive way, as if it were something other than our listening selves, and then nonetheless accepting what appear to be its thoughts as if they are really ours, not just plausible predictions of what we (or someone else) might say?

    If so, keeping talk in mind in a predictive frame might prevent the short, as the short requires taking the merely predicted as already really said. For most uses of language, this preserves their usefulness. It creates a puzzle though in the context of telling oneself what to do — of a language-based will such as Freud’s “ego” (or Freud’s positing of society’s will as “super-ego”). Can the answer to that puzzle be recentering the will so it’s seated in the RH rather than the LH? Or is such recentering only practicable for the artist or poet?