[lit-ideas] Re: The Answering Machine

  • From: John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2012 22:51:38 +0900

Could be. Turing's point was that if the machine interacted with humans in
a way indistinguishable from the way other humans did there would be no way
to tell the difference.


On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 10:06 PM, Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:

> ----- Original Message -----
> >> A Turing test is based on the idea, you've got this right, that
> if you talk with the machine can can't tell the difference between
> talking with a machine and talking with a person, you call the
> machine intelligent.>>
> The fallacy in this argument has been, I think, recently mentioned: that a
> machine can simulate intelligent behaviours, *even to any degree of
> physical specification*, does not mean the machine is intelligent in the
> sense of human conscious intelligence – for human conscious intelligence is
> at a level [in Popper's terms, the level of 'World 2'] that is not
> reducible to a merely physical specification [in Popper's terms, the level
> of 'World 1']. We may, mistakenly, view or interpret such simulated
> intelligent behaviours as reflecting the intelligence of the machine –
> perhaps because we do not know it is a machine; or perhaps because, though
> we know it is a machine, we do not accept there is any level to
> ‘intelligence’ beyond a World 1 level of, say, ‘processing’. In the latter
> case, where machines can calculate more quickly and reliably than humans,
> we should have to admit – in view of their greater World 1 processing
> capability – that some computers are more intelligent than humans. Indeed,
> Einstein said, “My pencil is more intelligent than I.”
> But what Einstein surely meant by this was that by using a pencil (and
> paper) to put down his thoughts and calculations, he put them in a form in
> which he could examine and assess and revise them in a way that was much
> more productive than if Einstein had been confined to doing all his work
> ‘in his head’. The productiveness of ‘objectifying’ the contents of our
> World 2 thoughts into some ‘objective’ World 3 content, which may be then
> criticised and revised, is far from an experience unique to Einstein –
> almost every writer or scientist or artist or schoolchild will have had the
> experience of seeing their work transformed as it moves from initial
> ‘thoughts’ to some World 3 ‘objective’ content. The process of producing
> their work is not simply a process of ‘objectifying’ some initial thought
> but an interactive process of continual feedback between some person’s
> World 2 activity and some ‘objectified’ World 3 objects.
> This kind of interactive process is beyond the ‘processing’ of a computer,
> which processes merely at the level of World 1. In Popper’s view, a
> computer is merely a glorified pencil and paper – a tool we can use to aid
> our own interaction with World 3, and to store and process World 3 content.
> But Eric’s post gives rise the question: can a machine simulate
> intelligent behaviours, *even to any degree of physical specification*?
> Clearly computers can simulate some kinds of intelligent behaviours – e.g.
> calculating and ‘computation’ – to a degree that matches, and even exceeds,
> human capabilities. But what about arguing? Here we might guess that the
> limitations of the computer would easily be shown up, as Eric indicates.
> The computer might simulate argument through a series of programmed
> responses (and evasions) but could it simulate *pursuing an argument* as
> the course of the argument evolved? Not beyond its programmed responses and
> evasions. And this would show, as those programmed responses are merely
> based on World 1 processes [e.g. if they emit sounds ‘X’ then respond by
> emitting sounds ‘Y’], that the computer is not actually following the
> argument in terms of its World 3 content and so cannot adequately respond
> to developments in that content.
> For a computer to argue as humans do (and not merely simulate arguing by
> way of a programmed response) then the validity of the logical standards
> used in the argument would have to be reducible to a World 1 level of
> ‘processing’ or ‘programming’: but, before Christmas, we looked at Popper’s
> “Revised Version of an Argument By Haldane”, which explains why this cannot
> be the case – not because logical standards cannot be physically embodied
> in a World 1 programme [such as one on a computer] but because the *
> validity* of those logical standards cannot be explained in, or reduced
> to, purely physical [or World 1] terms.
> We might use a computer to access or process information; but we no more
> argue with a computer than we do with a pencil and paper. Whatever their
> sophistication, computers are no more intelligent than a pencil and paper
> in the terms of World 2 conscious intelligence (they have none), and no
> more able than a pencil and paper to understand the World 3 content they
> ‘process’ (they have no such understanding).
> Donal
> London

John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324

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