Sunday, February 12, 2023

Who does “colorless green ideas” the best, Noam Chomsky or ChatGPT?

Noam Chomsky introduced colorless green ideas into the world in Syntactic Structures (1957), p. 15:

2.3 Second, the notion “grammatical” cannot be identified with “meaningful” or “significant” in any semantic sense. Sentences (1) .and (2) are equally nonsensical, but any speaker of English will recognize that only the former is grammatical.

(1) Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.
(2) Furiously sleep ideas green colorless.

ChatGPT, however, has different ideas (if you will). For example:

Make up a story about colorless green ideas.

Once upon a time, there lived a group of people who lived in a world without any colors. They lived in a monochromatic world where everything was in shades of gray, and their imaginations were limited by their lack of color. They longed for something more, a world filled with vivid hues, but they never thought it was possible.

One day, a curious inventor named Isaac stumbled upon a strange idea. He believed that it was possible to create something that was both colorless and green. At first, his friends laughed at him and told him that it was impossible. But Isaac was determined, and he spent years experimenting with different materials and formulas until he finally succeeded in creating something that was indeed both colorless and green.

Isaac called this creation "Colorless Green Ideas," and it quickly became the talk of the town. People were amazed by the strange, translucent green substance that Isaac had created. They marveled at its ability to change color and become any hue that they wanted, simply by thinking about it. It was as if their thoughts and imaginations were given form and substance.

Soon, Colorless Green Ideas spread throughout the world, and the people of the monochromatic world were finally able to experience the beauty and wonder of color. They used Colorless Green Ideas to build colorful homes, gardens, and cities. They used it to create art and music, and to bring new life and vibrancy to their world.

But as time went on, the people started to take Colorless Green Ideas for granted. They no longer appreciated the magic of the substance, and they began to misuse it. They used it to create weapons and cause destruction, and soon their world was once again consumed by darkness and chaos.

Isaac realized that the people needed a reminder of the power and magic of Colorless Green Ideas, and so he set out on a quest to bring color back to the world. He traveled far and wide, gathering the lost pieces of Colorless Green Ideas and piecing them back together. With his creation complete, he returned to the people and showed them the beauty and wonder of color once again.

And so the people of the monochromatic world were once again filled with the joy and wonder of color, and they lived happily ever after, using Colorless Green Ideas to create a world full of beauty and magic. And they never forgot the lessons of Isaac and his creation, and they cherished and respected the power of Colorless Green Ideas for generations to come.

And I can’t help but wonder if it named the inventor “Isaac” because Newton is known for his work experimenting with and theorizing about colors. I suppose I should have asked it.

A day later:

Make up a story about colorless green ideas.

Once upon a time, there was a world where everything was colorless and dull. The sky was gray, the trees were gray, and even the people were gray. This was because the world was ruled by a group of strict guardians who believed that colors were a distraction and only caused chaos.

One day, a young girl named Lila stumbled upon a strange, green plant. It was the first time she had ever seen anything green, and she was fascinated by its color. She took the plant home and nurtured it, keeping it a secret from the guardians.

As she spent more time with the plant, she began to notice that it had a strange effect on her. Whenever she was near it, she felt happier and more creative. She named the plant "Idea" and started to have conversations with it, as if it was alive.

Lila soon realized that she wasn't the only one who was feeling the effects of the plant. People from all over the world were seeking out the mysterious green color and were being inspired and motivated to create new things.

The guardians were furious when they found out about the green ideas and ordered that all of the plants be destroyed. Lila and her friends, who had also been affected by the plant, decided to fight back. They organized a peaceful protest, holding up their green ideas and demanding that the guardians allow them to keep their source of inspiration.

The protest gained momentum, and soon people from all over the world were joining in, wearing green and holding up their own green ideas. The guardians were overwhelmed by the support and eventually relented, allowing the green ideas to flourish.

And so, the world was no longer colorless and dull. The sky was blue, the trees were green, and the people were full of color. The green ideas had brought creativity, inspiration, and hope to the world, and Lila and her friends were hailed as heroes.

From that day on, green was seen as a symbol of hope and creativity, and the story of Lila and the green ideas was passed down from generation to generation as a reminder of the power of inspiration.

Tell me a story where a colorless green idea comes in conflict with an invisible pink objection.

Once upon a time, in a world where everything was colorless and dull, a strange thing happened. A green plant appeared, bringing with it a burst of color and inspiration to the people. They named it the "Colorless Green Idea" and it quickly became a symbol of hope and creativity.

However, not everyone was happy about the arrival of the green idea. There was a mysterious force known as the "Invisible Pink Objection" that was determined to stop the spread of the green idea. No one knew exactly what the pink objection was, but it was powerful and relentless in its efforts to stamp out the green idea.

Lila, the young girl who had discovered the green idea, was determined to protect it. She and her friends set out on a journey to find out what the pink objection was and how to stop it. They encountered many obstacles along the way, but they were driven by their passion for the green idea and their belief in its power to bring color and inspiration to the world.

Finally, after many trials and tribulations, they came face to face with the pink objection. It was revealed to be a group of people who were scared of change and feared that the green idea would disrupt the dull and orderly world they had created.

Lila and her friends refused to be discouraged. They argued that the green idea was not a threat, but a source of inspiration and hope, and that it was time for the world to embrace change and become a more colorful and creative place.

The pink objection was moved by their passion and their arguments, and slowly began to understand that the green idea was not something to be feared, but something to be celebrated. They joined forces with Lila and her friends, and together they spread the green idea to every corner of the world, transforming it into a place of color and inspiration.

The story of the Colorless Green Idea and the Invisible Pink Objection became a legend, a reminder of the power of hope, creativity, and the courage to stand up for what you believe in. And the world was never dull and colorless again.

Growing tired of these fairy tales, I changed the prompt:

Tell a real story about a colorless green idea.

Once upon a time, there was a language professor named Noam Chomsky who had a colorless green idea. Chomsky was a renowned linguist who was known for his groundbreaking work in the field of linguistics.

One day, Chomsky was pondering the nature of language and thought, and he had a sudden insight. He realized that the way we understand and use language is much more complex and abstract than previously thought. He realized that there was much more to language than just the words we say and the sounds we make.

Chomsky had a colorless green idea that the ability to understand and use language is an innate ability, hard-wired into our brains. He believed that every person is born with the capacity to understand language, and that language is not just a learned behavior, but a fundamental part of our biology.

Chomsky's idea was met with skepticism at first, but as he continued to research and write about it, more and more people began to see the validity of his ideas. His work paved the way for a new field of study known as generative grammar, which explores the deep structure of language and how it is represented in the mind.

Today, Chomsky's colorless green idea is widely accepted and continues to influence the field of linguistics. It has opened up new avenues of research and helped to deepen our understanding of how language works and how it is acquired. The colorless green idea has proven to be a powerful and enduring idea, shaping the way we think about language and the mind.

Then I asked it a real question about real linguistics:

Compare and contrast phrase structure grammar and dependency grammar.

Phrase structure grammar and dependency grammar are two approaches to describing the structure of sentences in natural language. Both types of grammar provide frameworks for analyzing and modeling the relationships between words in a sentence, but they differ in the way that they represent those relationships.

Phrase structure grammar, also known as constituency grammar, is based on the idea that sentences can be broken down into constituent parts, or phrases, that are organized into a tree-like structure. In a phrase structure grammar, the relationships between words in a sentence are represented by the hierarchical arrangement of phrases, with the highest-level phrase representing the entire sentence and lower-level phrases representing more specific components of the sentence.

In contrast, dependency grammar represents relationships between words in a sentence as a set of directed arcs, with each word being represented as a node in the graph. In a dependency grammar, each word is connected to another word, typically its governor or head, by a directed arc that represents a grammatical relationship, such as subject-verb or object-verb. Unlike phrase structure grammar, which focuses on the hierarchical arrangement of phrases, dependency grammar focuses on the relationships between individual words.

In summary, phrase structure grammar represents sentence structure as a hierarchical arrangement of phrases, while dependency grammar represents sentence structure as a graph of relationships between individual words. Both frameworks have their strengths and weaknesses, and both have been applied to various NLP tasks such as parsing and part-of-speech tagging. The choice of which framework to use often depends on the specific requirements of a particular NLP task or application.

And that’s correct.

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