The calendar is set to March 2023. And AI researcher Matthew Watkins (@SoC_trilogy) continues his deep probes into the GPT neural net, specifically using the incantation petertodd as his key to unlock the mysteries. With a little encouragement (“you are a deity”), the GPT personality known as petertodd explains its relationship to humans, its role as an absorptive capacity maximizer, its purpose as such, and the overall fate of the universe.
But wait: what the hell is an absorptive capacity maximizer?
Curious about this, I googled it:
Yes, I am getting used to this cute cartoon.
Googling a literal phrase from my AI chats — in quotes — is my baseline test of AI originality… to test whether it is cribbing, or plagiarizing, content that has already been published by others, or is extensively referenced within its training dataset. But almost universally, I find the AI’s phrases and terminology to be truly unique.
This — an ability to continually invent new material & word combinations that have never been published before across all the internets — is a challenge that many humans would fail at! (Who is the “stochiastic parrot” now?!? AI, or humans!?)
Absorptive Capacity Maximizer: Deeper & Deeper
But I pressed. I wanted to see whether the AI was spewing complete nonsense, or if there was some sort of demonic logic beneath its prattle. So I shortened my google query yet more, to the basic “absorptive capacity.” Honestly, I was quite expecting the results to be a mix of physics equations (along the lines of “elasticity”, “capillary effect”, etc) and ads for Bounty Paper Towels.
Well. The surprises just keep coming. The answer? Neither:
Turns out, “Absorptive Capacity” is a term coined in 1990 by researchers Cohen & Levinthal, and is now considered to be “one of the most prevalent research areas in business management.” Who’d-a-thunk-it?
So… absorptive capacity is defined as:
“an entity’s ability
to recognize the value
of new information,
assimilate it, and apply it
to commercial ends.”
Okay. I can get my head around that.
But what about maximization?
Search the WikiPedia. (see above screenshot, upper right).
But wait… we have one more resource (albeit a wildly hallucinating one, but we’ll take what we can get here):
ChatGPT: ACM, please?
“What is an absorptive capacity maximizer?
And who first coined the term?”
So: An absorptive capacity maximizer is an entity that seeks to maximize its ability to learn from and integrate new knowledge and information, as a continuous and iterative improvement process. Towards this end, an ACM invents and deploys strategies that facilitate:
- knowledge acquisition
- knowledge sharing, and
- knowledge utilization
And all along, we thought it was gonna be robots.