# So What Sort of Process Does ChatGPT Think Is Represented by a Socratic Dialogue?

An exploration of ChatGPTs reasoning through the logical / relational structure of diagrams.

Following on from the previous post —Fragment — Student Led Socratic Dialogues With an Unreliable ChatGPT — I wondered if ChatGPT to help us think visually (Can We use ChatGPT to Render Diagrams From Accessible Diagram Descriptions). In the following transcript, I am not really looking at the content of the flow charts to see if they make sense, just the structure of them and then asking gut feeling questions that might make the diagram look “more structureful”. (I may revisit this post and add commentary about the flow charts at some point… It might also be interesting to have a conversation where my follow on questions are actually based on reading the content of the previously suggested flow chart!;-)

using mermaid.js syntax, generate a flow chart that demonstrates the learning process emobided by a socratic dialogue

Me to Chat GPT
```Here is an example flow chart using mermaid.js syntax that demonstrates the learning process embodied by a socratic dialogue:

graph TD;
B --> C[Reflection];
C --> D[New question];
E --> F[Reflection];
F --> G[New question];

This flow chart shows the process of a socratic dialogue, where one person asks a question (A), the other person answers (B), and then both reflect on the answer (C) and come up with a new question (D) based on that reflection. This process continues, with each question and answer leading to reflection and a new question, until the learning goal is reached.```

If we render that using `mermaid.js`, this is what we get:

Shouldn’t there be a loop in the diagram somewhere?

Me to ChatGPT
```Yes, you are correct. In the original flow chart, there is no loop to represent the ongoing nature of a socratic dialogue. Here is an updated version of the flow chart that includes a loop:

graph TD;
B --> C[Reflection];
C --> D[New question];
E --> F[Reflection];
F --> G[New question];
G --> A;

This updated flow chart shows that the process of a socratic dialogue is ongoing, with each question and answer leading to reflection and a new question, and the process repeating until the learning goal is reached. The loop represents the continuous nature of the dialogue.```

Shouldn’t the new question loop to an answer? In your diagram, remove any redundant or repeated steps

Me to ChatGPT

Note that the second sentence was added to the prompt after the the first part of the prompt alone gave rather long flow charts with duplicated steps.

```You are correct, in the updated flow chart the new question (D) should loop back to an answer (E), rather than going directly to a reflection (F). Here is a revised flow chart that removes any redundant or repeated steps:

graph TD;
B --> C[Reflection];
C --> D[New question];
E --> F[Reflection];
F --> D;

This revised flow chart shows the process of a socratic dialogue, where one person asks a question (A), the other person answers (B), and then both reflect on the answer (C) and come up with a new question (D) based on that reflection. This process continues, with each question and answer leading to reflection and a new question, until the learning goal is reached. The loop at the end represents the continuous nature of the dialogue.```

But now you have a question looping back to a question. Aren’t they the same question?

Me to ChatGPT

Suppose the person answering the question provided unreliable answers. How might the questioner add a step to check that the answer was correct?

Me to ChatGPT
```If the person answering the question is providing unreliable answers, the questioner might add a step to check the accuracy of the answer before moving on to the reflection and new question stages. Here is an updated flow chart that includes this step:

graph TD;
B --> C[Check accuracy];
C --> D[Reflection];
D --> E[New question];
F --> G[Check accuracy];
G --> H[Reflection];
H --> I[New question];
I --> A;

This updated flow chart shows the process of a socratic dialogue, where the questioner asks a question (A) and the other person answers (B). The questioner then checks the accuracy of the answer (C) before moving on to the reflection and new question stages (D and E). This process continues, with each question and answer leading to a check for accuracy, reflection, and a new question, until the learning goal is reached. The loop at the end represents the continuous nature of the dialogue.```

How about a process where the person asking the question is suspicious about the answer and asks the person answering the question to break down how they reached the answer into two or more smaller steps so that each of those steps could be checked, starting with the first, then if that is correct, the second, etc. Once again, please try to remove any repeated sequences through the efficient use of loops and branches (decisions).

Me to ChatGPT

This prompt was revised to request an “efficient” diagram wihtout repetition, and that might include branches.

```Here is an updated flow chart that includes the process you described, where the person asking the question is suspicious about the answer and asks the person answering the question to break it down into smaller steps that can be checked for accuracy:

graph TD;
C -->|Yes| D[Reflection];
C -->|No| E[Break down answer into smaller steps];
E --> F[Check first step];
F --> G{Is first step correct?};
G -->|Yes| H[Check second step];
G -->|No| I[Reflection];
H --> J{Is second step correct?};
J -->|Yes| K[Check third step];
J -->|No| L[Reflection];
K --> M{Is third step correct?};
M -->|Yes| N[Reflection];
M -->|No| O[Reflection];
D --> P[New question];
Q --> R[Reflection];
R --> P;
L --> P;
N --> P;
O --> P;

This updated flow chart shows the process of a socratic dialogue, where the questioner asks a question (A) and the other person answers (B). The questioner then checks the accuracy of the answer (C) and, if it is incorrect, asks the other person to break it down into smaller steps that can be checked (E). Each of these steps is checked for accuracy (F, H, and K), and if any of them are incorrect, the reflection stage is skipped and the process moves directly to the new question stage (P). If all of the steps are correct, the process moves on to the reflection stage (N) before continuing to the new question stage. This process continues, with each question and answer leading to reflection and a new question, until the learning goal is reached. The loops at the end represent the continuous nature of the dialogue.```

Without really trying to understand that answer because it looked a bit complicated, I asked:

Is there any way of simplifying or abstracting that process a bit more to use a question like “check step” rather than “check first step”, “check second step?” etc

Me to ChatGPT
```Yes, it is possible to simplify the process by using a generic "check step" instead of specifying "check first step," "check second step," etc. Here is an updated flow chart that uses a generic "check step" and removes any redundant or repeated steps:

graph TD;
C -->|Yes| D[Reflection];
C -->|No| E[Break down answer into smaller steps];
E --> F[Check step];
F --> G{Is step correct?};
G -->|Yes| H[Check next step];
G -->|No| I[Reflection];
H --> F;
D --> J[New question];
K --> L[Reflection];
L --> J;
I --> J;

This updated flow chart shows the process of a socratic dialogue, where the questioner asks a question (A) and the other person answers (B). The questioner then checks the accuracy of the answer (C) and, if it is incorrect, asks the other person to break it down into smaller steps that can be checked (E). Each of these steps is checked for accuracy (F) using a generic "check step" process, and if any of them are incorrect, the reflection stage is skipped and the process moves directly to the new question stage (J). If all of the steps are correct, the process moves on to the reflection stage (L) before continuing to the new question stage. This process continues, with each question and answer leading to reflection and a new question, until the learning goal is reached. The loops at the end represent the continuous nature of the dialogue.```

Hmmm.. don’t we need a loop from the end of the chart re-entering the chart higher up somewhere? Or maybe we need to ask about a process with decisions that check whether a learning goal has been achieved?

I also had a follow up question — How does this final model compare in terms of ability to achieve a learning goal by identifying correct answers to each question, particularly in cases where the original answer is incorrect? — which perhaps should have been split over two prompts, but my session appeared to have timed out and was unable to complete any more responses.

PS another thought re: the resilience of using ChatGPT as part of an unreliable answerer Socratic process: each time you try the conversation, or replay a particular step, it may give you a different answer. Does that change things? How might that be modelled or represented in a flow chart?!

## Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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