As a research tool, I suspect that GPT will be most impactful for probing under-explored interdisciplinary idea spaces. Interdisciplinary research matches its skillset far better than more depth-based research as the nature of its design is more suited for interpolation as opposed to extrapolation.
GPT could help circumvent the increasing problem of knowledge specialization. Back in the time of Newton, it was possible for a studious genius to be at the forefront of every field. This is why the Renaissance was the golden age of, well, Renaissance men. But by the early twentieth century, even the greatest academic minds were only truly cutting-edge in one field with the possible exception of Von Neumann. Now in 2020, there probably isn’t a single person who has complete mastery over even a single subject. There’s just not enough time to learn it all. While Galois could invent group theory in his teens, now even the most promising of intellectuals don’t start making major contributions until their early 30s.
I envision the final form of GPT as the ultimate polymath. What it lacks in explicit reasoning, it makes up for in breadth of knowledge and raw pattern-matching ability. I envision future prompts would combine research papers from disparate areas to see if their intersection could create something of interest. This is a long way off, of course. But the prospect is enticing.
This line of reasoning is why I put all of my Anki cards into one big “Misc” deck.
If I were to diligently organize each card by relevant content area, I’m worried that I would only be able to recall the relevant bit of information when I’ve been cued by the category. By putting all the information I want to remember in one place, it discourages compartmentalization. There are no such things as “Biology Facts” or “Geography Facts”. There is one super category: “Facts About The World”.
I checked out the post you linked because I found this comment to be both well-written and insightful.
And I found your essay to be similarly interesting, so I’m just as surprised as you are by the non-existent reception.
Perhaps we should be aware of trivial inconveniences? Clicking a link might not seem like much of an investment, but when there are so many other quality posts on this site, it could be just enough of a hassle to deter engagement. Especially since you appear to be a newer member of Lesswrong, so you haven’t had time to develop a reputation as a high-level contributer.