Bill Benzon

Karma: 186

The Story of My Intellectual Life

In the early 1970s I discovered that “Kubla Khan” had a rich, marvelous, and fantastically symmetrical structure. I’d found myself intellectually. I knew what I was doing. I had a specific intellectual mission: to find the mechanisms behind “Kubla Khan.” As defined, that mission failed, and still has not been achieved some 40 odd years later.

It’s like this: If you set out to hitch rides from New York City to, say, Los Angeles, and don’t make it, well then your hitch-hike adventure is a failure. But if you end up on Mars instead, just what kind of failure is that? Yeah, you’re lost. Really really lost. But you’re lost on Mars! How cool is that!

Of course, it might not actually be Mars. It might just be an abandoned set on a studio back lot.

That’s a bit metaphorical. Let’s just say I’ve read and thought about a lot of things having to do with the brain, mind, and culture, and published about them as well. I’ve written a bunch of academic articles and two general trade books, Visualization: The Second Computer Revolution (Harry Abrams1989), co-authored with Richard Friedhoff, and Beethoven’s Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture (Basic Books 2001). Here’s what I say about myself at my blog, New Savanna. I’ve got a conventional CV at I’ve also written a lot of stuff that I’ve not published in a conventional venue. I think of them as working papers. I’ve got them all at Some of my best – certainly my most recent – stuff is there.

The idea that ChatGPT is sim­ply “pre­dict­ing” the next word is, at best, misleading

Bill Benzon20 Feb 2023 11:32 UTC
55 points
86 comments5 min readLW link

Does ChatGPT’s perfor­mance war­rant work­ing on a tu­tor for chil­dren? [It’s time to take it to the lab.]

Bill Benzon19 Dec 2022 15:12 UTC
13 points
5 comments4 min readLW link

Oper­a­tional­iz­ing two tasks in Gary Mar­cus’s AGI challenge

Bill Benzon9 Jun 2022 18:31 UTC
12 points
3 comments8 min readLW link

High level dis­course struc­ture in ChatGPT: Part 2 [Quasi-sym­bolic?]

Bill Benzon10 Dec 2022 22:26 UTC
7 points
0 comments6 min readLW link

ChatGPT ex­plores the se­man­tic differential

Bill Benzon9 Mar 2023 13:09 UTC
7 points
2 comments7 min readLW link

ChatGPT tells sto­ries about XP-708-DQ, Eliezer, drag­ons, dark sor­cer­esses, and un­al­igned robots be­com­ing aligned

Bill Benzon8 Jan 2023 23:21 UTC
6 points
2 comments18 min readLW link

Yann LeCun, A Path Towards Au­tonomous Ma­chine In­tel­li­gence [link]

Bill Benzon27 Jun 2022 23:29 UTC
5 points
1 comment1 min readLW link

ChatGPT on Spielberg’s A.I. and AI Alignment

Bill Benzon5 Dec 2022 21:10 UTC
5 points
0 comments4 min readLW link

ChatGPT: “An er­ror oc­curred. If this is­sue per­sists...”

Bill Benzon7 Dec 2022 15:41 UTC
5 points
11 comments3 min readLW link

Let’s go meta: Gram­mat­i­cal knowl­edge and self-refer­en­tial sen­tences [ChatGPT]

Bill Benzon12 Dec 2022 21:50 UTC
5 points
0 comments9 min readLW link

ChatGPT in­ti­mates a tan­ta­l­iz­ing fu­ture; its core LLM is or­ga­nized on mul­ti­ple lev­els; and it has bro­ken the idea of think­ing.

Bill Benzon24 Jan 2023 19:05 UTC
5 points
0 comments5 min readLW link

Ex­plor­ing Lily’s world with ChatGPT [things an AI won’t do]

Bill Benzon19 Feb 2023 16:39 UTC
5 points
0 comments20 min readLW link

From Si­mon’s ant to ma­chine learn­ing, a parable

Bill Benzon4 Jan 2023 14:37 UTC
4 points
3 comments2 min readLW link

ChatGPT: Tan­tal­iz­ing af­terthoughts in search of story tra­jec­to­ries [in­duc­tion heads]

Bill Benzon3 Feb 2023 10:35 UTC
4 points
0 comments20 min readLW link

Vec­tor se­man­tics and the (in-con­text) con­struc­tion of mean­ing in Col­eridge’s “Kubla Khan”

Bill Benzon14 Mar 2023 19:16 UTC
4 points
0 comments7 min readLW link