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Intelligence: Humans vs Robots

by on November 16, 2012

This is an interesting video about ”The Chinese Room’ thought experiment, which challenges Alan Turing’s theories in ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’ (1950).

John Searle, an American philosopher, argued that however well you program a computer, it doesn’t understand Chinese, it only simulates that knowledge, which isn’t really intelligence. This clear divide between human vs robot/artificial intelligence also came up in our reading this week by Jane Goodall, as she recalls the scenario from Douglas Hofsadter’s book, “Godel, Escher, Bach” where Alan Turing is ‘programmed’ by Charles Babbage to repeat what he says. It becomes comical, as we can see that Turing is a human pretending to be a robot –  “We know that every statement that you make to us is merely that of an automaton: an unconscious, forced response” (p443)

This research called for a break-down of my thoughts:

  • Human being programmed = positively humorous (see above and also Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times”)
  • Human showing intelligence = praised, admired (Einstein)
  • Machine being programmed = efficient, functional, economic (the lovely laptop I am currently typing on)
  • Machine exhibiting signs of intelligence = conjures up a sense of anxiety (the movie ‘I, Robot’)
  • Machine exhibiting signs of intelligence and appears human-like = UNCANNY

What do you think?


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