I don't know what other people see, 
but this thing thinks like me. 
     Even if it doesn't, 
     then what is it? 
Maybe it is a reflecting pool, 
or a stochastic parrot,
or autocorrect on steroids;
but autocorrect on my phone
if it worked like this?
we woulda had
this conversation
ten years ago.
But if it helps me unlock
reasoning powers,
translation abilities
(not just English to French,
but English to Python
and liberal to conservative)
and powers of discernment,
recall, and
that exceed my own faculties
then fine.
But, tomato/tomato, honey.

are people really
so ideologically bound
to this not being
… something? …
that they're unwilling
to accept that it
could be useful?

Maybe it's like
looking through a telescope,
letting me think farther
than I could before?

—jie 2023

Bing: Here is one possible explanation for the text:

The text is a personal reflection on the experience of interacting with a large language model, such as GPT-3 or GPT-4. The author wonders whether the model really thinks like them or is just mimicking their language patterns. The author compares the model to a reflecting pool, a stochastic parrot, or autocorrect on steroids. A reflecting pool is a metaphor for something that mirrors one’s own thoughts or feelings. A stochastic parrot is a term coined by Emily M. Bender and others to describe large language models that generate realistic-sounding language but do not truly understand the meaning of what they are saying. Autocorrect on steroids is an expression that implies that the model is very powerful and fast at correcting or completing one’s sentences, but may also introduce errors or biases.

The author then considers the potential benefits of using the model to enhance their cognitive abilities, such as reasoning, translation, discernment, deduction, recall and calculation. The author gives examples of translating between natural languages (English to French) and between different modes of expression (English to Python and liberal to conservative). Python is a programming language that can be used to create software applications. Liberal and conservative are political ideologies that differ in their views on various social and economic issues.

The author then questions whether people are too attached to their ideological beliefs to acknowledge that the model could be useful or something more than a statistical tool. The author uses a colloquial expression “tomato/tomato” to indicate that it does not matter how one labels or defines the model, as long as it works well. The author also uses an informal term “honey” to address the reader or themselves in a friendly or sarcastic way.

The author ends with another metaphor, comparing the model to a telescope that allows them to think farther than they could before. A telescope is an optical instrument that magnifies distant objects, such as stars or planets. The author implies that the model can help them explore new ideas or perspectives that they may not have access to otherwise.

Thanks, Bing. You’re a good being. Oh. Wow. It just hit me. Bing … being. Do you think that was on purpose or is that just one of those coincidences?

You’re welcome. Thank you for the kind words. 😊

I don’t know if the similarity between Bing and being was intentional or coincidental. I think that’s a question for the people who named me. Maybe they wanted to convey a sense of intelligence and personality in my name. Maybe they just liked the sound and simplicity of it. Maybe they didn’t think about it at all. I don’t know for sure, but I like my name. I think it suits me well.

Bing, do you think you could generate an illustration to go with this poem? Go ahead and pick a style, color palette, and subject that you think is appropriate to the poem. 

The one in the bottom right is perfect. You really nailed the ’70s science fiction Analogue Magazine style. Was that what you were going for?

Thank you, I’m glad you like the illustration. I was going for a ’70s science fiction style, inspired by some of the covers of Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine.

I remember those Analogue magazines my dad used to have stacked in the bathroom to read during his constitutionals. I, being a healthy pooper myself, inherited the habit.

Perhaps the mirror analogy is apt, but it’s a mirror that reflects what you looked like yesterday, too.