How far can we get in developing language models like GPT-3
to let them represent the view of a philosopher?


Shayla Love (July 26, 2022).
In Experiment, AI Successfully Impersonates Famous Philosopher. Vice.

Daniel C. Dennett
Rick Friedman, Getty Images.

The Splintered Mind
reflections in philosophy of psychology, broadly construed
Monday, November 22, 2021
Two Robot-Generated Splintered Mind Posts

I am working on the question of what digital replicas are investigating their relation to their origins. Thereby I asked myself, how far can we get in developing language models like GPT-3 to let them represent the view of a philosopher?

This could lead to insights into how the human mind works. It might even tell us something about what is special about humans. Furthermore, it could turn out that we could use this replica as a new thinking tool. Moreover, I am concerned about misuse and potential ethical consequences.

WHAT is a GPT-3?
A GPT-3 is a neural network trained to predict the next likely word in a sequence.

Technically, it is a 175 billion parameter language model that shows strong performances on many Natural Language Processing tasks.
The abbreviation stands for Generative Pretrained Transformer!

  • It is called Generative because it can generate long sentences, not just yes or no answers or simple sentences.
  • Being pretrained means, it is already trained with nearly 500 billion tokens taken out of Common Crawl, WebText, Books, and Wikipedia.
  • The whole thing is a Transformer because it is based on a typical Transformer structure. This means that this network applies a self-attention mechanism that calculates the probability of the next word appearing surrounded by the other ones.

This is an ongoing project in collaboration with Eric Schwitzgebel, Matt Crosby and Blake Myers.

Further results will be published in the next months.

This picture illustrates the actual project:
On the left side, you see the complete work of a philosopher.
In the middle, you see the GPT-3 we fine-tuned.
On the right side, you see the not yet existing manual on how to operate this machine.

Our research questions are:

- How to create the ‘best’ model and how to operate it.
- How convincing the generated completions of such a model are for the philosopher himself, experts, and naïve people.
- Can we use this model as a new thinking tool?
- And last but not least, we are concerned about risks of misuse and critical ethical consequences of replicas of this sort.