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Philosophy 1020
Cathy Thorpe

19.Artificial Intelligence 1.Are human beings just complicated machines? ­ The heart is a mechanical pump ­ The blood vessels are a kind of plumbing ­ Bones and joints obey principles of mechanics ­ Breathing is a ventilation system; lungs work like bellows ­ The nervous system is an electrical network… ­ Many people have thought, however, that there is a crucial difference between machines and people Descartes' answer: (from his Discourse on Method) • "If there were machines which bore a resemblance to our bodies and imitated our actions as closely as possible for all practical purposes, we should still have two very certain means of recognizing that they were not real men… • "The first is that they could never use words, or put together signs, as we do in order to declare our thoughts to others. For we can certainly conceive of a machine so constructed that it utters words, and even utters words that correspond to bodily actions causing a change in its organs. … But it is not conceivable that such a machine should produce different arrangements of words so as to give an appropriately meaningful answer to whatever is said in its presence, as the dullest of men can do…. • "Secondly, even though some machines might do some things as well as we do them, or perhaps even better, they would inevitably fail in others, which would reveal that they are acting not from understanding, but only from the disposition of their organs. For whereas reason is a universal instrument, which can be used in all kinds of situations, these organs need some particular action; hence it is for all practical purposes impossible for a machine to have enough different organs to make it act in all the contingencies of life in the way in which our reason makes us act." According to Descartes humans have two properties that no machine could have: i.e. Humans are distinguished from machines by having a) Language, and especially linguistic creativity b) Reason, shown by adaptability to unforeseen situations And these two really seem to come to the same thing: adaptive creativity Or perhaps, analysis and creativity Or perhaps, just THOUGHT 2. The Turing test … Can machines think? • Alan Turing (1912-1954) • Devised in 1950 by the British Mathematician, computer scientist and cryptanalyst • Turing was one of the founders of computer science in the English-speaking world, and also a major player in the cryptanalyst team that deciphered the German “enigma” code during WWII • He committed suicide in 1954, after being found guilty of having gay sex, and being condemned by the court to chemical castration • When his body was discovered, there was beside it an apple with a bite out of it • The apple was laced with cyanide • On September 11, 2009 o British Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized for the way in whichAlan Turing had been treated for his crime of being gay • It has been alleged—and also denied—that theApple computer symbol refers toAlan Turing and the way he died
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