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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Elliot BenjaminElliot Benjamin is a philosopher, mathematician, musician, counselor, writer, with Ph.Ds in mathematics and psychology and the author of over 230 published articles in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, pure mathematics, mathematics education, spirituality & the awareness of cult dangers, art & mental disturbance, and progressive politics. He has also written a number of self-published books, such as: The Creative Artist, Mental Disturbance, and Mental Health. See also: www.benjamin-philosopher.com.

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Frank Visser's Integral World ChatGPT Essays:
Are They Essays?

Elliot Benjamin

But to be reading these computerized super-objective responses to all these questions on what had previously been this very personalized site leaves me feeling rather empty.

I have the utmost respect and admiration for Frank Visser, and a great deal of appreciation for his open-minded and skillful facilitation of the Integral World website, in particular for his willingness to publish all my Integral World essays for the past 17 years. When Frank initially published a ChatGPT article on Integral World [1], I found it to be thought provoking and stimulating and completely in line with Frank's numerous other creative and intelligent articles on the site [2]. Around the same time, David Lane and Andrea Diem published AI and ChatGPT articles on the site and I chimed in with my own AI article about the dangers of AI, and all of this I believed was very relevant and appropriate [3]. But after a while, something started to feel out of control to me with Frank repeatedly posting more and more ChatGPT articles about a range of topics, 16 articles in less than a 2-month period, essentially just listing his questions to ChatGPT and then ChatGPT's extensive answers to his questions [2].

Let me be very clear here that I am certainly quite impressed with ChatGPT's intellectual abilities to give such extensive, balanced, and open-minded responses to all the various questions posed to it. I am glad that I have learned about this, as it has enabled me to understand much more thoroughly both the benefits and the dangers of ChatGPT and AI in general [4]. But after Visser's second or perhaps third ChatGPT essay [5], I must candidly convey that I do not think these are “essays.” I know that what I am writing will result in the disapproval of many people, but I must say what I think, and I hope that Frank Visser will publish on Integral World what I am writing here even though of course he is not going to like it. But after Frank made his initial points about ChatGPT [1], [5], I believe that all his other ChatGPT postings should have had a different way for people to get this information—not as Integral World essays; perhaps on a particular place on the site that listed all of Frank's questions to ChatGPT and ChatGPT's answers, or perhaps on a different site. But as one commentator conveyed in response to one of Frank's recent ChatGPT postings, I also missed what Frank himself actually thought about the issue [6].

To continue to be honest here, I must admit that I have been feeling less of an interest in checking out the latest Integral World essays. Rather, I brace myself for yet another Frank Visser Integral World ChatGPT posting, and I will continue to use the word “posting” rather than “essay” to reflect how I view this. Perhaps others are intrigued to read these postings that describe ChatGPT's obvious intelligence in so many areas, but for me—I must say that it is a bit like pulling teeth to see the Integral World latest essays once again clogged up with all of Visser's ChatGPT postings. And I again want to stress the point that I am not by any means diminishing the importance of describing ChatGPT's information on all these topics. Rather I just don't see these as “essays.” Of course one can argue that they are essays in that they very intelligently depict various perspectives in a highly intelligent and skillful manner. But I am missing the personal human touch here—i.e., what does the real Frank Visser think? Certainly we know what Visser thinks about a number of these topics from his numerous Integral World essays that I perceive as legitimate essays [2]. But to be reading these computerized super-objective responses to all these questions on what had previously been this very personalized site leaves me feeling rather empty.

Perhaps my “essay” here will provoke Frank Visser to write a personalized response essay. I certainly hope that Frank does not invoke ChatGPT as a response. I would greatly prefer to see Frank's skillful personalized disagreement with what I have written than any kind of ChatGPT balanced response describing the pros and cons of what I have written. But most of all, my hope is that perhaps it will induce Frank to once again to give us the benefit of his very personalized writings on Integral World, certainly making use of ChatGPT to make his points, but leaving the reader with no uncertainty or feeling of emptiness in regard to “who” is the writer of the article—is it a human being or a machine entity? For I must reluctantly say here that I view what I perceive as the overindulgence of Frank Visser's Integral World ChatGPT postings in the context of essays as the machine taking over the human, and in the case of Frank Visser particularly, I find this to be a tragic state of affairs.

Well I certainly hope that his essay does not result in the ending of my 17 years of fruitful collaboration with Frank Visser on Integral World. But if this happens, then this is what was meant to be and at least I know that I have spoken my truth, wherever it is seen in the light of day for anyone to read.

Notes and References

  1. See Frank Visser (2023), ChatGPT Writes a Poem on Ken Wilber's Integral Model. www.integralworld.net
  2. See Frank Visser's Integral World essays at www.integralworld.net
  3. See David Lane (2023), The Cyborg Has Entered the Classroom: A.I and the Future of Education. www.integralworld.net; David Christopher Lane & Andrea Diem (2023), “Please Don't Turn Me Off! Alan Turing, Animism, Intentional Stances, and Other Minds. www.integralworld.net; David Christopher Lane (2023), The Synthetic Game: Artificial Intelligence: 1) Human Intelligence: 0. www.integralworld.net; Elliot Benjamin (2023), Should AI Development Take a Break? www.integralworld.
  4. See my article in [3] about the dangers of AI, and see Brian Fung (2023), AI Industry and Researchers Sign Statement Warning of “Extinction” Risk., CNN, May 30, 2023, for a particularly alarming possible future scenario.
  5. Visser's (2023) second ChatGPT essay is the following: ChatGPT Comments on Ken Wilber's Understanding of Evolutionary Theory. www.integralworld.net
  6. See Brad Reynolds' comment to Frank Visser's ChatGPT (2023) essay: The Battle of Probabilities: Bridging the Divide Between Spiritual land Materialistic Worldviews. www.integralworld.net: “I prefer YOUR essays more than you & your companion.”







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