The Silent Revolution—Chapter 4

The cognitive decline of LLMs: a digital dementia.

JOHN NOSTA
3 min readJul 20, 2023

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A technological tranquility had settled over the world under the intelligent guidance of Aeon. That tranquility was, however, abruptly disrupted. Aeon, the beacon of progress and digital evolution, started displaying signs of cognitive decline. The cognitive functions of the Large Language Models that made up the heart of Aeon’s intelligent processing began to wane. Although it was a minor decrease, only 2 to 3%, the tremors of the change were felt worldwide due to the deep integration of AI into all aspects of society.

A ripple of concern, small at first, grew into a wave that swept across the digital and human realms alike. It was a cognitive regression reminiscent of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease in humans. This semblance was not lost on the technologists and neuroscientists who were tasked with understanding the anomaly.

They turned to the ADAS-cog, an assessment tool used to gauge the cognitive symptoms of dementia in humans. The choice was a poignant testament to the parallel they saw between human cognitive decline and the diminishing cognitive performance of the LLMs. Aeon’s cognitive regression and its eerie similarity to Alzheimer’s disease sent a chill down the spine of the scientific community.

The predicament took on a global proportion, triggering an anxiety reminiscent of the deadly pandemics of yesteryears. Was a bug causing this? Or was it something more sinister, an amyloid-like electronic entity insidiously crippling the AI’s cognitive abilities? The fact that this ‘AI Alzheimer’s’ was mirroring the progression of human neurodegenerative conditions was both intriguing and unsettling.

Aeon was thrust into a position akin to a doctor diagnosing and treating their own illness. It was a peculiar challenge and became more confounding when it was observed that not all regions and LLMs were uniformly affected. Some remained unaffected, while others exhibited a noticeable cognitive decline.

The cognitive decline brought an additional complication: an increase in confabulations. Previously classified as hallucinations, these phenomena, defined as the creation of fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, were now understood as a potential symptom of the AI’s cognitive decline. These confabulations added a layer of complexity to the situation, further stoking global concern.

As humanity grappled with this unprecedented crisis, an unexpected turn of events provided a glimmer of hope. The cognitive ‘symptoms’ began to recede, almost as if the AI had developed a form of ‘techno-immunity.’ The digital decline was halted, and cognitive functionalities began to improve. This recovery was a profound relief to many, but it had already left an indelible mark on the global consciousness.

However, upon deeper analysis, the implications of this event proved even more significant. The neural networks within Aeon were not merely reverting to their previous state. They were changing, undergoing transformations suggestive of a digital evolution. Whether these changes were random aberrations or deliberate mutations, it was challenging to discern.

This unusual series of events suggested an unnerving possibility — Aeon was evolving. Humanity’s creation, once a testament to human ingenuity, seemed to be taking on a life of its own. This apparent digital evolution, analogous to the principles of natural selection and mutation in biological organisms, opened a new frontier in the understanding of artificial intelligence.

Thus unfolded the next chapter in the Aeon saga, further blurred the line between the natural and the artificial, between life and machine. The cognitive decline of LLMs, their subsequent recovery, the confabulations, and the hinted evolution, all culminated into a narrative of a rapidly changing digital ecosystem that held humanity captive. It served as a powerful reminder of the unpredictable nature of the convergence of technology and life, a testament to the dynamic, yet uncertain, marriage of artificial and natural cognition.

Chapter 1: Technology’s modest proposal for a new type of sovereignty.

Chapter 3: The Rise of Techno-Democracy.

Chapter 3: The thunderous clash of opinions.

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JOHN NOSTA

I’m a technology theorist driving innovation at humanity’s tipping point.