Feb 14·edited Feb 14Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

Just noting that the ability and/or willingness to overcome one's own biases, in the face of contrary information that one *should* be taking into account, isn't necessarily a matter of intelligence?


"The prevailing view is that people adopt false beliefs because they’re too stupid or ignorant to grasp the truth. This may be true in some cases, but just as often the opposite is true: many delusions prey not on dim minds but on bright ones. ... it is intelligent for us to convince ourselves of irrational beliefs if holding those beliefs increases our status [such as via acceptance by like-minded others within an 'in-group,' who might hold certain views about mass shooters, gun control, etc. - Aron] and well-being."

As well, "while unintelligent people are more easily misled by other people, intelligent people are more easily misled by themselves. They’re better at convincing themselves of things they want to believe rather than things that are actually true. ... being better at reasoning makes them better at rationalizing."

Thus calling those with opposing views "dumb" – or even applying that term solely to those who persist in holding them, when evidence dictates they should be modifying their views – isn't accurate, no matter how satisfying calling them that may be. There are other, more apt terms for such irrational behavior.

(Yes, I acknowledge that term is routinely used these days by speakers and writers across political and ideological spectrums, when referring to others with whom they disagree.)

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To belabor the obvious, ChatGPT talks like a bureaucrat. If I have to read "complex and multifaceted" in lieu of making any judgment whatsoever one more time I may barf.

That said, thanks for a piece implicitly making the case that the thing is -- despite widespread midwit freakoutery over it -- a tool? No better or worse than the operator?

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Wow, welcome to the new world we live in! What do you call the combination of failing the Turing Test + confirmation bias in action? Handwaving freakoutery?

We KNOW the model under which ChatGPT works. It is not a "truth engine". It is a pattern recognizer that seeks to generate text based on the most probabilistic words that should follow what it has previously said. The result is very dangerous: it can be wrong, and sound very convincing and authoritative on the matter. If we aren't careful, people may get the wrong idea about ChatGPT, confusing what it does with "intelligence", and believing whatever it says.

ChatGPT is the worst nightmare for people concerned with fake news and its negative impact on democracy (c.f. https://medium.com/canonical-debate-lab/the-canonical-debate-vs-hybrid-warfare-49a13e01f3b4).

Note that ChatGPT "knows" that it can be wrong, and has been coded to (eventually) accept whatever you tell it, true or not. Check out the phrase used by ChatGPT the moment it is "convinced" that math is wrong: https://i.redd.it/51i9mww8t0ha1.png

Recognize that phrase? It's the same phrase used in your conversation. There's absolutely no relation to what's "true" going on in ChatGPT's algorithm. And, dangerously, it talks like it's smarter than most people you meet. What do you call someone that speaks with authority on matters they know nothing about, without any regard to its connection with reality? A politician? A pundit? The average person you meet online?

Here's ChatGPT "knowing" that black people are more likely to be shot by white police officers, then it "learning" from them: https://mobile.twitter.com/NevinClimenhaga/status/1605995946902290433

But if you ask ChatGPT again in a separate conversation, it there is a good chance that it will start all over again from the starting position (and a chance it will randomly pick a different opinion that "sounds good").

Let me restate here for it to be clear:

- ChatGPT DOES NOT HAVE A TRUTH MODEL: it says what sounds good based on language patterns and what it has cobbled off of the (embarrassingly confused) Internet

- ChatGPT DOES NOT LEARN: it is a fully-baked model. It is "done". They trained it, and released it to the world, and are no longer updating the model. If you ask about recent events, it will admit that it knows nothing about what has happened since its training (and will take your word on whatever you say).

Why does it seem to be learning? Because a separate model for the real-time chat keeps a temporary memory of your conversation. If you convince it of something, that's only for your chat. It has no impact on anyone else's chat.

I was going to replicate your conversation, but force ChatGPT to accept different results, but its servers are full right now. Trust me, it's easy to do (or don't trust me, and try it yourself). If you care about truth and good faith discourse, please DO NOT promote the idea that ChatGPT is an authority on any subject. What's worse than Appeal to Authority? Appeal to a false authority that is convincing, and can be easily manipulated.

Reading the comments so far, it seems most of your readers "get it", but these things take on a life of their own, and others may not. ChatGPT is easily weaponizable. For the sake of democracy, we need to defuse it rather than use it.

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I think anti-gun people just find owning guns to be creepy. There's a great line in In Bruges (great movie) about that: "I want a normal gun for a normal person." insinuating a normal person couldn't want a gun (just spelling it out).

It would be more interesting if the debate revolved around values instead of trying to quantify it, though it does sound like it would be even more insoluble if that were the case, lacking as we do (and always will) a system that can decisively answer moral questions.

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Amoeba are more intelligent than most blue tribe journalists that currently write anti-gun articles. So it's not a *huge* hurdle that ChatGPT has cleared there.

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You can tell its a lib because it gives you a lecture about what you SHOULD think and SHOULD do whenever it gives you an answer.

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Welp, good chats while they lasted... Not interested in engaging with folks who just want to lob stones at each other though - on either side. Take care and good luck out there.

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That was absolutely awesome 👏 👏👏👏

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I asked it the other day:

How much do states rights influence the applicability of the 2nd amendment at more local levels?

States' rights can play a significant role in the interpretation and application of the Second Amendment at a local level. The Second Amendment is a part of the U.S. Constitution, which sets the framework for federal law, but states also have the authority to regulate firearms within their own jurisdiction.

As a result, the interpretation and application of the Second Amendment can vary between states, as some states may have more restrictive gun laws than others. For example, some states may have laws that require background checks for all firearms purchases, while others may have more permissive laws that allow individuals to purchase firearms without a background check.

Additionally, some states have adopted "Second Amendment sanctuaries," which are county or local resolutions that declare the jurisdiction's intention to not enforce certain state or federal gun control measures that the jurisdiction considers to be unconstitutional infringements on the Second Amendment.

In summary, states' rights play a significant role in the applicability of the Second Amendment at a local level, as states have the authority to regulate firearms within their own jurisdiction and may choose to adopt more restrictive or permissive laws and resolutions related to the Second Amendment.

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The bot said we need evidence based "solutions" to several issues. Surprised you didn't go down that path. Are there any such solutions? So far our ability to predict who will commit crimes has been quite limited.

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This column appears to be based on the premise that if anti-gun people knew that more mass shootings were perpetrated by black people than white people they would be like, "oh, cool, never mind." This may be based on the perception- most likely fact- that there is more public outrage after the mass shootings mostly perpetrated by white shooters. This is probably due more to the unexpectedness of it than the race of the shooter. In those cases, the victims unequivocally have nothing to do with the fact that they were murdered. The "inner city" murder victims we tend to think of as people who are associating with the wrong people or in abusive relationships that they have the choice of leaving. Not agreeing with this, but it's easier to blame the victims, and also see it as something to be expected or "ordinary," as you say in your questions to the chat GPT. There's nothing here that makes violence prevention less important, but different people have different beliefs about how to do that.

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