Richard Waters (“Supercomputer advances poised to reshape the tech landscape”, Inside Business, May 21) is right in one respect, when he observes: “It is unclear how far these systems will be able to go in producing truly useful [human] interactions.” But neither he nor anybody else in the tech world seems to understand why.

A computer, however fast, is a disembodied calculating machine, with no senses, biology or experience of life in the world.

GPT-3, the vaunted language generator — whose only advantage over humans is that troll factories can use it to churn out billions of fake tweets at once — thinks the sentence “can smoking marijuana cause cancer?” is the same as “marijuana cause smoking cancer can?”

Good luck getting it to understand that “I don’t mind if I do” can mean anything from “if I must” to “let’s have sex, right now!”.

Without that vital life experience, it understands nothing. So all it can do is very extensive, very fast pattern recognition — which is why Google has resorted to search as its primary focus.

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