Jackdaw99 t1_jcclxlr wrote

If they're going to release it and people are going to use it (whatever the warnings may be), I don't think it's trivial at all. Basic math factors into a significant percentage of the conversations we have. And it's certainly not trivial to be able to tell when a question needs it.

I'm not calling for it to be turned into a basic calculator: I'm asking why they don't recognize that a portion of the answers they provide will be useless without being able to solve simple math problems.

They could certainly build in a calculator now and continue to explore ways for it to learn math on its own. I just don't understand why you would release a project that gets so much wrong that could easily be made right. (And nothing I've read on it, which is a non-trivial amount, mentions that it can't (always) calculate basic arithmetic.) If I can't count on the thing to know for sure the answer to a basic division problem, I can't count on it at all -- at which point, there's no reason to use it.


Jackdaw99 t1_jccaord wrote

That doesn't make sense to me. It would be the easiest thing in the world to build a calculator into it, have it send questions which look like basic arithmetic in, and then spit out the answer. Hell, it could build access to Wolfram Alpha in. Then it wouldn't make basic mistakes and would much more impressive. And after all, that's what a person would do.

Moreover, if it doesn't have the ability to calculate at all, how did it get so close to the answer when I fed it a problem which, I'm pretty sure, no one has ever tried to solve before?

And finally, how did it do so well on the math SATs if it was just guessing at what people would expect the next digit to be?

I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just baffled by why they wouldn't implement that kind of functionality. Because as it stands, no one is ever going to use it for anything that requires even basic math skills. "ChatGPT, how many bottles of wine should I buy for a party with 172 attendees?" I'm not going to shop based on its answer.

Maybe this iteration is just further Proof of Concept, but if so, all it proves is that concept is useless for many applications.


Jackdaw99 t1_jcaxztr wrote

I would imagine the language model spihons questions off into a calculator. It would be pretty easy, considering the infinite nature of integers, to give it a simple arithmetic problem that has never been written down or even devised before. Say, "What's 356.639565777 divided by 1.6873408216337?" I would be very surprised if it didn't get this sort of thing right.

Follow-up: I just tried that calculation on ChatGPT and it got it...wrong. Twice. With different answers each time. Though it was close...

That's bizarre to me, since it couldn't have used a language model to calculate that, and in fact it explicitly told me it was sending the calculation to Python. So I don't know what's going on here.


Jackdaw99 t1_jaysd0c wrote

No, of course it's not. But -- of course -- I knew the backgrounds and paths of those classmates who were my friends, as well as friends from high school who had much the same sort of choices. Nevertheless, I'm not claiming this is dispositive: all I said was that the OP's contention it wasn't my experience. If anything, his evidence, with an apparent sample size of 0, is even thinner than mine.


Jackdaw99 t1_jaxbk16 wrote

Hang on: I didn't say anything about any alumni network, or leveraging professional connections with scions of whatever, or prestige, nor did I say that I studied something irrelevant. Quite the contrary. In fact, if you'd taken a philosophy course or two, you might have learned not to set up a straw man. They get blown over pretty easily.

As for elitism: I dunno. Some of my friends and colleagues have fancy educations and some don't. Talent will out, wherever it comes from, and brilliance needs no pedigree. That said, I'm grateful for the education I received. I have no idea if I could have received the same or better somewhere else. I'm long past the point of caring.

At no point since the day I graduated college has anyone in any work context ever -- ever -- asked me where I went to school, or what I studied.


Jackdaw99 t1_jawztab wrote

Well, the intention was to teach -- and write -- philosophy, but I left before I got my doctorate. Still, it's actually fantastic training for just about anything, because it teaches you to think -- to reason -- as carefully (and quickly), and to write as clearly, as you possibly can. Two skills which any employer appreciates -- any white-collar employer, anyway, and probably any employer at all. Unless you have another, very clear vocation in mind, it's ideal training for almost any profession, from law to journalism to medicine to business. What I actually do is kind of...public, the sort of thing where my name matters, so I'd prefer not to say in an open forum. I like making an ass out of myself on Reddit from time to time... But I appreciate your interest.


Jackdaw99 t1_jaw6rq9 wrote

This is a little stange to me: I may be misunderstanding something. I would assume that a large proportion of kids who apply to, say, Harvard, are also applying to Princeton, Yale, and so on. So how could they all have such high yield rates?


Jackdaw99 t1_j477906 wrote

Can you explain? On the face of it, it seems obvious that building vertically simply creates more living space. If you have a 10,000 sqft block, building a 50 story tower will clearly provide more space than using it all for single-family homes, especially since people who live in apartments are generally used to less space than people who live in houses -- or even shacks.


Jackdaw99 t1_j46wy3d wrote

I've lived in Manhattan and visited Kathmandu, and there's no way the latter has greater density than the former. For one thing, there are few residential skyscrapers there.

In fact, looking this up, Manhattan's density is around 27,000 per square kilometer vs. Kathmandu's 20,000.

EDIT: Looking closer, I see that K’s population when I visited, in 1999, was one third what it is today, so they’re closer than I would have thought. But still not very close.