Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis


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An Illusion of Emergence, Part 2

A figure can tell a story but, intentionally or unintentionally, the story that is told may be fiction

I recently wrote about how graphs that use logarithms on the horizontal axis can create a misleading impression of the relationship between two variables. The specific example I used was the claim made in a recent paper (with 16 coauthors from Google, Stanford, UNC Chapel Hill, and DeepMind) that scaling up the number of parameters in large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT can cause “emergence,” which they define as qualitative changes in abilities that are not present in smaller-scale models but are present in large-scale models; thus they cannot be predicted by simply extrapolating the performance improvements on smaller-scale models. They present several graphs similar to this one that seem to show emergence: However, their graphs have the logarithms of Read More ›