Séminaire DIC-ISC-CRIA – 30 novembre 2023 par Christoph DURT

Christoph DURT – 30 novembre 2023

Titre : LLMs, Patterns, and Understanding

Résumé :

It is widely known that the performance of LLMs is contingent on their being trained with very large text corpora. But what in the text corpora allows LLMs to extract the parameters that enable them to produce text that sounds as if it had been written by an understanding being? In my presentation, I argue that the text corpora reflect not just “language” but language use. Language use is permeated with patterns, and the statistical contours of the patterns of written language use are modelled by LLMs. LLMs do not model understanding directly, but statistical patterns that correlate with patterns of language use. Although the recombination of statistical patterns does not require understanding, it enables the production of novel text that continues a prompt and conforms to patterns of language use, and thus can make sense to humans.

Biographie :

Christoph DURT is a philosophical and interdisciplinary researcher at Heidelberg university. He investigates the human mind and its relation to technology, especially AI. Going beyond the usual side-to-side comparison of artificial and human intelligence, he studies the multidimensional interplay between the two. This involves the study of human experience and language, as well as the relation between them. If you would like to join an international online exchange on these issues, please check the “courses and lectures” section on his website.


Durt, Christoph, Tom Froese, and Thomas Fuchs. preprint. “Against AI Understanding and Sentience: Large Language Models, Meaning, and the Patterns of Human Language Use.”

Durt, Christoph. 2023. “The Digital Transformation of Human Orientation: An Inquiry into the Dawn of a New Era” Winner of the $10.000 HFPO Essay Prize.

Durt, Christoph. 2022. “Artificial Intelligence and Its Integration into the Human Lifeworld.” In The Cambridge Handbook of Responsible Artificial Intelligence, Cambridge University Press.

Durt, Christoph. 2020. “The Computation of Bodily, Embodied, and Virtual Reality” Winner of the Essay Prize “What Can Corporality as a Constitutive Condition of Experience (Still) Mean in the Digital Age?”Phänomenologische Forschungen, no. 2: 25–39.

À NOTER: La vidéo du séminaire sera mise en ligne le jour suivant la présentation.