Mirror, mirror: LLMs and the illusion of humanity

Room 4
10:20 - 11:20

Talk (60 min)

Large language models (LLMs) exploded into mainstream awareness in 2022, and have continued to fascinate us since.
Machine Learning

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 the Lead Data Scientist in audiences generation at Verve Group Europe. She completed a PhD in clinical psychology and a postdoc in biostatistics, before leaving academia for a data science career. She has worked for 7 years as a data scientist in both Australia and Germany, developing a range of products including recommendation systems, analysis platforms, search engine improvements and audience profiling. She has held a broad range of responsibilities in her career, doing everything from data analytics to maintaining machine learning solutions in production. She is a long time content creator in data science, across conference and user group presentations, books, webinars, and posts on both her own and JetBrain's blogs.