The Sixteenth Post

John McCarthy coined the term artificial intelligence in 1956 during a conference.  Artificial intelligence “is a sub-field of computer science.  Its goal is to enable the development of computers that are able to do things normally done by people — in particular, things associated with people acting intelligently.”  So basically AI is a program that does something that humans would think of as intelligent.

Artificial intelligence is similar to human intelligence, but there are some differences.  Human intelligence is natural and analogue, where AI is digital and works mainly on numbers.  In a human, there is no hardware and software distinction, where this a major distinction made in computers.  Some of the biggest distinctions include that a human has a body, where AI has no body.  Lastly, human intelligence is reliable where AI is not.


Yes, AlphaGo, Deep Blue, and Watson are proof of the viability of artificial intelligence.  Going off of the definition above, artificial intelligence’s goal is to do things that are normally done by people.  AlphaGo plays the board game Go as well a human can play, and it is actually the world champion now. The same can be said for Deep Blue and Watson, where they both play chess and Jeopardy (respectively) better than humans can.

Some of these advancements of artificial intelligence are actually being used, so these are not just gimmicks.  IBM’s Watson has been turned into a commercial application.  The first Watson was being used was in lung cancer treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where IBM’s advice was followed by 90% of the nurses in the field. There are  many other applications, but this is proving that Watson’s Artificial intelligence is not just an interesting trick or gimmick.


The Turing Test is not a valid measurement of intelligence.  Yes, philosophically it is sound, but I do not believe that it is a valid measure of intelligence because something that simple is programmable.  This is why the Chinese Room is a good counter argument.  Given inputs, there are outputs that can be produced.  In the Chinese Room, a machine is not learning, rather matching input to output, which is what I feel the Turing Test is testing, but maybe in a more sophisticated way.


Yes a computing system can be considered a mind because the architecture that is used in a mind is the same that is used in Watson and AlphaGo.  Google and IBM implement neural networks and have been very successful doing it.  Although a computer system can be considered a mind, a human will not be considered “just a biological computer.”  There are many differences that separate a human from a machine, and I described some of these before.  There is no hardware and software in the human, it is one complete “system.”  A human’s intelligence is natural, where artificial intelligence is something that we have created.

There are ethical implications with these ideas.  Thinking of a computing computing system as a mind starts to make people think that we should give computers rights.  If computers are a conscious being, then they should have rights just like anyone else.  There is also the problem of artificial intelligence taking over jobs that humans can do.  There will always be need for humans to either fix the machines or recalibrate, but the need will ultimately diminish.


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