From Pine View Farm

“That Does Not Compute” 0

At Psychology Today Blogs, Bobby Azarian suggests that AI is nothing more than an uber geek’s pipe dream. A snippet:

It does not matter how fast the computer is, how much memory it has, or how complex and high-level the programming language. The Jeopardy and Chess playing champs Watson and Deep Blue fundamentally work the same as your microwave. Put simply, a strict symbol-processing machine can never be a symbol-understanding machine. The influential philosopher John Searle has cleverly depicted this fact by analogy in his famous and highly controversial “Chinese Room Argument”, which has been convincing minds that “syntax is not sufficient for semantics” since it was published in 1980. And although some esoteric rebuttals have been put forth (the most common being the “Systems Reply”), none successfully bridge the gap between syntax and semantics. But even if one is not fully convinced based on the Chinese Room Argument alone, it does not change the fact that Turing machines are symbol manipulating machines and not thinking machines, a position taken by the great physicist Richard Feynman over a decade earlier.

Feynman described the computer as “A glorified, high-class, very fast but stupid filing system,” managed by an infinitely stupid file clerk (the central processing unit) who blindly follows instructions (the software program).

If you dream of–or fear–the singularity, follow the link and read it, all the while remembering that “fast” and “smart” are not the same thing.


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