Machines and Intelligence: A Critique of Arguments against the Possibility of Artificial Intelligence

Machines and Intelligence: A Critique of Arguments against the Possibility of Artificial Intelligence

Machines and Intelligence: A Critique of Arguments against the Possibility of Artificial Intelligence

Machines and Intelligence: A Critique of Arguments against the Possibility of Artificial Intelligence

Excerpt

One of the central claims of mechanism has been that human beings are nothing more than (very complicated) machines. This claim has been found quite disturbing by some people, and over the years there have been numerous attempts to remove the annoyance by providing a convincing refutation. The most familiar form that such attempts at refutation take is that of an argument purporting to show that humans are possessed of some quality, feature, characteristic, or ability, X, which machines cannot possibly have. (For example, in arguments based on some famous results of Kurt Godel, the claim is made that machines by their very nature cannot produce certain theorems.) The evidence for humans possessing X, on the other hand, is usually empirical: we have merely to look in order to see that humans have X. The possession of X, then, is supposed to distinguish men from machines.

My own feeling is that none of these attempts will ever succeed; I will not, however, argue for this conclusion anywhere in the present work. This is because I see no way of proving the quite general statement that there is no such trait X. Instead, I choose to examine and criticise some ten or twelve specific arguments, each of which advances . . .

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