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Artificial Intelligence - On Philosphy of
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To stress it again, these two approaches are not two types of AI, but rather two ‘schools of thought’, believing or not believing in the possibility of creating real human-like robots.
When a distinguished but elderly scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he says it is impossible, he is very probably wrong. -Arthur C. Clarke
Is strong AI possible?
In 1637, the French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes predicted that it would never be possible to make a machine that thinks as humans do. Noam Chomsky, American linguist and political activist, suggests that deciding whether machines can ‘think’ is pointless, because it is determined by the arbitrariness of the definition of ‘thinking’. Nevertheless, the important question “could it ever be appropriate to say that computers think, and, if so, what conditions must a computer satisfy in order to be so described?” remains. One of the most commonly used procedures how to define the AI is the Turing test.
A test to determine whether a computer can ‘think’ was introduced by the English mathematician Alan M. Turing in 1950. Turing argued that “if a computer acts, reacts, and interacts like a sentient being, then call it sentient”. With this definition he evaded the difficulty of distinguishing ‘original’ intelligence from simple though sufficiently sophisticated machine ‘parroting’.
During the test, a human interrogator is to interview ‘the subject’ within a certain timeframe (e.g. five minutes) in order to decide whether it is a human or a computer. The computer’s ability to ‘think’ would then be measured by its’ success in being misidentified for a human being.
Turing expected, that by the year of 2000 less than 30% of average people would be, after five minutes of interrogating, able to correctly assess that the subject under study is a computer. No machine has yet come close to this point. Actually, there have been experiments done with bots, for example on frequently visited chat portals.
The critique of this test focuses on the mere conversational ability that is being tested, avoiding all other aspects of human intelligence. A refute of the Turing test can be found in the so-called Chinese room experiment.
Chinese room argument
John A. Searle came with the argument that the Turing test cannot be a satisfactory criterion for proving intelligence. In his article “Minds, Brains and Programs” Imagine a closed room with a non-Chinese speaker getting Chinese symbols through a slot in the door. For him, the symbols are just many squiggles and squoggles. But he has an English rulebook that tells him how to manipulate the symbols and which ones to send back out.