AI as Agency Without Intelligence: On ChatGPT, Large Language Models, and Other Generative Models

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Luciano Floridi
Philosophy and Technology 2023

The article discusses the recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and the development of large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT. The article argues that these LLMs can process texts with extraordinary success and often in a way that is indistinguishable from human output, while lacking any intelligence, understanding or cognitive ability. It also highlights the limitations of these LLMs, such as their brittleness (susceptibility to catastrophic failure), unreliability (false or made-up information), and the occasional inability to make elementary logical inferences or deal with simple mathematics. The article concludes that LLMs, represent a decoupling of agency and intelligence. While extremely powerful and potentially very useful, they should not be relied upon for complex reasoning or crucial information, but could be used to gain a deeper understanding of a text’s content and context, rather than as a replacement for human input. The best author is neither an LLM nor a human being, but a human being using an LLM proficiently and insightfully.

keywordsArtificial Intelligence (AI), Large Language Models (LLMs), GPT3, ChatGPT, Limitations.

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