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Journal Article

Might text-davinci-003 have inner speech?


Mann,  Stephen Francis       
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Mann, S. F., & Gregory, D. (2024). Might text-davinci-003 have inner speech? Think, 23(67), 31-38. doi:10.1017/S1477175623000453.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000F-1D58-F
OpenAI is a research organization founded by, among others, Elon Musk, and supported by Microsoft. In November 2022, it released ChatGPT, an incredibly sophisticated chatbot, that is, a computer system with which humans can converse. The capability of this chatbot is astonishing: as well as conversing with human interlocutors, it can answer questions about history, explain almost anything you might think to ask it, and write poetry. This level of achievement has provoked interest in questions about whether a chatbot might have something similar to human intelligence and even whether one could be conscious. Given that the function of a chatbot is to process linguistic input and produce linguistic output, we consider that the most interesting question in this direction is whether a sophisticated chatbot might have inner speech. That is: might it talk to itself, internally? We explored this via a conversation with ‘Playground’, a chatbot which is very similar to ChatGPT but more flexible in certain respects. We put to it questions which, plausibly, can only be answered if one first produces some inner speech. Here, we present our findings and discuss their philosophical significance.