Mirror, mirror: LLMs and the illusion of humanity

Thursday, May 23

09:15 - 10:15
RoomsSpaghetti, Lasagna, Tagliatelle

Large language models (LLMs) exploded into mainstream awareness in 2022, and have continued to fascinate us since. But what is it about LLMs, compared to other, similarly complex algorithms, that have so captured our imagination? And why is it that we are so ready to believe that these models have started to show signs of human behavior? In this talk, we’ll delve into some of the more extraordinary claims that have been made about LLMs in the past few years, including that these models are showing signs of sentience or intelligence. We’ll discuss why humans have a tendency to see such traits in these models, due to the way they mirror back a “lossy compression” of our humanity. And we’ll talk about how dispelling myths about LLMs being anything more than language models can help us apply them to their best current uses.


Jodie Burchell

Dr. Jodie Burchell is the Developer Advocate in Data Science at JetBrains, and was previously a Lead Data Scientist at Verve Group Europe. After finishing a PhD in Psychology and a postdoc in biostatistics, she has worked in a range of data science and machine learning roles across natural language processing, search improvement, recommendation systems, and programmatic advertising. She is passionate about making Python data science and machine learning accessible for others. She is also a long time content creator in data science, across conference and user group presentations, books, webinars, and blogging.