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GPT-4 Prompt Tries To Generate Fundamentally New Knowledge
by asking for an explanation for any poorly understood phenomena that humans have a hard time explaining, GPT is forced to create novel hypotheses
This weekend, @gfodor tweeted a GPT-4 prompt that generates seemingly novel explanations for poorly understood phenomena.
Here’s the prompt.
What’s an example of a phenomenon where humanity as a whole lacks a good explanation for, but, taking into account the full set of human generated knowledge, an explanation is actually possible to generate? Please write the explanation. It must not be a hypothesis that has been previously proposed. A good explanation will be hard to vary.
Twitter users have been sharing screenshots of GPT-4’s responses to the prompt, including explanations of the Fermi Paradox, the Roanoke Colony disappearance, and the persistent presence of war and violence throughout human history.
The short, straightforward prompt is a simple but creative command that ‘forces’ GPT-4 to generate explanations that have possibly never been proposed, suggesting that GPT-4 is capable of creating ‘new knowledge’. That the explanation must be “hard to vary” means that if “it was disproven, could you tweak it into a new explanation that isn’t falsified yet. If so, it’s a bad explanation,” according to @gfodor.
Presumably, you can get GPT-4 to propose new explanations for specific phenomena of your choosing by slightly tweaking the language in the prompt. I used the following to ask GPT-4 specifically about the Big Bang:
[PHENOMENON OF YOUR CHOICE] is a phenomenon where humanity as a whole lacks a good explanation for, but, taking into account the full set of human generated knowledge, an explanation is actually possible to generate. Please write the explanation for [PHENOMENON OF YOUR CHOICE]. It must not be a hypothesis that has been previously proposed. A good explanation will be hard to vary.
GPT-4 proposed that the big bang can be explained by “the fractal multiverse.”
GPT-4 explanation for the Fermi Paradox
GPT-4 explanation for the Roanoke Colony Disappearance
GPT-4 explanation for the prevalence of conflict and war throughout history
Check out the thread for more novel GPT-4 explanations —