Home » Comp. Sci. / Eng., Intelligent Design, Mind, News » Warning 50 years on: The machine has no brain; use your own

Warning 50 years on: The machine has no brain; use your own

In “The Manifest Destiny of Artificial Intelligence” (The American Scientist, July-August 2012), Brian Hayes talks about the scaled-back expectations for artificial intelligence. Not that he quite puts it that way.

Will AI create mindlike machines, or will it show how much a mindless machine can do?

Fifty years later, problem-solving machines are a familiar presence in daily life. Computer programs suggest the best route through cross-town traffic, recommend movies you might like to see, recognize faces in photographs, transcribe your voicemail messages and translate documents from one language to another. As for checkers and chess, computers are not merely good players; they are unbeatable. Even on the television quiz show Jeopardy, the best human contestants were trounced by a computer.

In spite of these achievements, the status of artificial intelligence remains unsettled. We have many clever gadgets, but it’s not at all clear they add up to a “thinking machine.” Their methods and inner mechanisms seem nothing like human mental processes. Perhaps we should not be bragging about how smart our machines have become; rather, we should marvel at how much those machines accomplish without any genuine intelligence.

But why can it do work without intelligence? A hint here:

Writing in Nature last year, Etzioni remarked, “The main obstacle to the paradigm shift from information retrieval to question answering seems to be a curious lack of ambition and imagination.” I disagree. I think the main obstacle is that keyword search, though roundabout and imprecise, has proved to be a remarkably effective way to discover stuff. In the case of my baseball question, Google led me straight to the answer: On July 5, 1960, the Red Sox lost to the Orioles, 9 to 4. Once again, shallow methods that look only at the superficial structure of a problem seem to be outperforming deeper analysis.

In fact, the machine needs no genuine intelligence because it is automating the work of a human being who has both intelligence and purpose. Whose mind almost certainly does not work in the same way as the machine anyway.

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4 Responses to Warning 50 years on: The machine has no brain; use your own

  1. 1

    The problem of actual eminent scientists is that they know absolutely nothing about history of ideas, and the same applies to most people.

    Kant has demonstrated the fact that we must always previously add a small phrase to all our thoughts, which is: “I Think”. Without the conscience that “I Think”, there’s no thought deserving that name. Without the auto-conscience that the conscience thinks itself, about itself, there is no possibility of any content in a conscience.

    The most sophisticated computer can run its program and its software without this “I Think”, but it cannot, therefore, think as a human being. In that “I Think” of a human subject, all conscience’s contents are interconnected: the “I Think” of a human being is the logical condition of any thought — it constitutes the last point of logical reference and the reference unity of all knowledge. That human “I Think” is the previous condition of possibility of thought.

    This “I Think”, according to Kant, is the “X” of the human condition. It is not possible to recognize this “X” because any act of thinking previously assumes it: the “X” is previous to the thinking itself — and this is the reason why none computer ever will have this “X”.

    Comparing a computer with human consciousness is stupidity powered to infinity.

  2. A first-rate post.

    The will, together with the memory and the understanding, are the functions of the human soul, and it is the will (tangentially, the understanding) which crucially personalises target information, underpinning the individuals “purpose.”

    The whole of Christian scripture, and the goal it ultimately addresses, namely, eschatology, are predicated on this epistemological voluntarism, our desire to know or not to know.

    This was apparently the belief of Duns Scotus and William of Ockham, in contrast to – oddly enough, as the most respected Roman Catholic theologian, the position of Thomas Aquinas, Eckhart and Averroes.

    Averroes early reconciliation of philosophy and theology is interesting:

    http://www.maysaloon.org/2009/.....flict.html

  3. I mean, yours, Orlando.

  4. 4

    We think like God. We are made in his image.
    We are told to seek wisdom, understanding, and knowledge.
    A computer is made to work with mere knowledge.
    It has no idea of wisdom or understanding.
    It doesn’t think or fail in its thinking.
    Its just a machine.
    They simply got excited decades back when computers showed they could store/retrieve data so fast.
    They thought this was thinking or on the way.
    It ain’t.
    Its just memory of data . In fact irs not even able to get knowledge itself. it doesn’t know what it is.
    A computer is just a memory machine of knowledge.
    Thinking by people hardly does this at all.

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