1

I was reading a transcript of an interview about AI here and I came across this part:

There are a lot of different metaphors to use. I've used the kid metaphor before. It is, however, very important to remember: these things aren't human.

So even if it's debatable on whether "thinking" is an appropriate word — and I think at this point, language models are doing something analogous to thinking, though I understand that there are technical experts who disagree with that — I think most people can see, "okay, there's some kind of thinking and understanding going on in these systems." But they do not do it the same way humans do, and we should be studying them to understand what those differences are, so that we can understand better how these systems come up with the answers that they do. [...]

So the question of sentience might be a distraction?

I don't like playing those word games. But if it makes some people feel better use the right vocabulary, okay, fine, whatever floats your boat.

Shouldn't "use" in the bolded clause be "using"?
As far as I know, we would say "I feel better doing this" and not "I feel better do this".

Am I missing something?

2
  • 5
    Seems to me that the speaker likely slipped up and that they meant to say, “if it makes some people feel better to use the right vocabulary…” Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 4:14
  • 1
    IMHO. It's just a typo. - Yes, it should be "using".
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 16:00

2 Answers 2

2

This is an imperative clause in a conditional sentence, and the imperative here is giving advice, rather than a direct order. It could be paraphrased with a modal verb, and more punctuation:

If it makes some people feel better, you should use the right vocabulary. Okay? Fine! Whatever floats your boat(!)

It is worth noting that it is possible that this is a mistake, and the author actually intends something like

If it makes some people feel better to use the right vocabulary, that's okay. It's fine! Whatever floats your boat(!)

2

It seems that the interview was recorded and the journalist chose to transcribe Blake Lemoine's responses. In which case, I suspect the former Google employer paused between “better” and “use” while he was probably thinking of what to say next. Note the use of "your" in the expression “whatever floats your boat”, if there had been a typo, Lemoine ought to have said, “whatever floats their boat”.

I don't like playing those word games. But if it makes some people feel better; [pause] use the right vocabulary, okay, fine, whatever floats your boat.

If I were that journalist, I would've modified the punctuation to illustrate this sense of irritation or exasperation.

But if it makes some people feel better — use the right vocabulary. Okay, fine. Whatever floats your boat.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .