Patience Worth phenomenon related to advanced AI (ChatGPT)?

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There apparently might be possible connections between two particular very different and presumably existentially unrelated topics that are of interest in these forums. A very interesting new blog thread by the well-known afterlife pundit Michael Tymn, is on the subject of apparent parallels between the literary capabilities of current advanced AI (ChatGPT) and the extraordinary paranormal literary outpourings of talented medium Pearl Curran, as "Patience Worth".  (at http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/en...telligence )

Tymn experimented with ChatGPT and was struck by its capabilities. 

Quote:"Overall, I was impressed with the speed and the “personality” of AI when correcting “itself” and apologizing for an error, or elaborating on certain subjects. I was especially impressed by its ability to add information when asked for more detail about the person or subject matter. What was most impressive, however, was the fact that AI could do more than recite facts; it could create.  I could give it a half-dozen characteristics of a certain person and ask it to give me a poem about the person with those words in it, and it would provide a creative poem within seconds.

The poems brought to mind the Patience Worth phenomenon, often discussed at this blog (See blog for June 17, 2013 in archives). For those not familiar with the story, Patience Worth claimed to be a 17th century English woman communicating through the mediumship of Pearl Curran, a St. Louis, Missouri housewife with no more than an elementary-school education (bottom right photo).  Over a period of nearly 25 years, As stated in my entry for the PSI Encyclopedia, Patience Worth dictated some four-million words, including seven books, some short stories, several plays, thousands of poems, and countless epigrams and aphorisms, through Curran."

Tymn then speculated on the certain apparent degree of connection or relatedness between these two very different feats.

Quote:"Considering the fact that AI can turn out poems and other creative ideas much like Pearl Curran could, I began to wonder if Patience Worth could have been some form of artificial intelligence coming through Curran rather than a 17th century English woman communicating from another realm of existence."

Of course, no human-created AI existed in the 1920s when Curran was doing her work, but there always can be speculations about advanced alien civilizations and the like. This may appear preposterous on the surface, but it is food for thought, at the very least.
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(2023-04-30, 12:52 AM)nbtruthman Wrote: extraordinary paranormal literary outpourings of talented medium Pearl Curran, as "Patience Worth".

LOL  She used a device that relies on ideomotor reaction and has been debunked so many times!
I think the challenge is we seem to have something of a confession from Curran herself that the Patience Worth phenomenon was a useful way for her to express her talents.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-cult...-54333749/

Quote:“It seems similar to photographic memory surrounded by a context of spiritualism,” says Howard Eichenbaum, director of the Center for Memory and Brain at Boston University. But such a medical abnormality would not explain her stunning narrative skills or the moments of true art in her writing.

“We don’t really have an explanation” for cases like Pearl Curran’s, says McGaugh. “It’s a frontier of neuroscience that’s never really been explored. We just haven’t had the conceptual tools to think about it.”

The answer, however, may lie in a short story Pearl wrote under her own byline in 1919 for the Saturday Evening Post (and was ignored by Prince, Marion Reedy and other critics at the time). In that story, “Rosa Alvaro, Entrante,” Mayme, a lonely salesgirl in a Chicago department store, is told by an obviously fraudulent fortuneteller that Mayme has a spirit guide, a fiery young Spanish woman named Rosa Alvaro. Mayme begins slipping in and out of Rosa’s persona and eventually confesses to a friend that she purposefully adopted it to enliven her drab life: “Oh Gwen, I love her! She’s everything I want to be. Didn’t I find her? It ain’t me. It’s what used to be me before the world buried it.”

Pearl was thrilled that she, and not Patience, was the acknowledged author.

OTOH putting aside AIs communicating through mediums I think the case does raise the more general questions about genius and the nature of the mental. It's never been a favorite for most, including myself, because it's hard to distinguish "mundane" intellectual heights from "true genius" that purportedly shows the mind cannot be physical.

I don't know if Tymn has looked deeply into Large Language Models and their use of randomness combined with massive amounts of human text but I think it might disabuse him of any notions that there's something extra special going on there that cannot be explained in the way we explain incredible programs such as AI in video games where it's an outlier position to think any real mentality is there.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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