Phil 101 - Second Essay Questions - Question 1

Phil 101 - Second Essay Questions - Question 1 - Simon Wong...

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Simon Wong 5/4/06 Philosophy 101 – Second Essay Question #1 TA: Joe Yarbrough Question One Consider a machine with the following set of capacities; 1.) It is incredibly good, and incredibly fast, at arithmetic. 2.) It is very bad at natural language processing, so it isn’t capable of responding to complex English sentences 3.) It does recognize a simple sentence, like “pick up the black cat” it carries out the instruction, i.e. moves to where the black cat is and picks it up. The task at hand is to determine how “intelligent” the machine with the given abilities (given above) truly is. To make the question clearer, according to the American Heritage dictionary, the definition for intelligence is the faculty of thought and reason. Before we progress any further, for the argument’s sake, we must first say that it is possible for a machine to think (since the question is can a machine think). A.M. Turing A.M. Turing, in his paper Computing Machinery and Intelligence offers some insight in the matter. According to Turing, we must first forgo any commonly used definitions of “machine” and “think” since the answer to the question “can machines think?” would amount to a “statistical survey such as a Gallup poll.” Instead, Turing posits that a “new form of the problem” can be answered in terms of the infamous Turing Test (“imitation game”). Therefore, the capacity of thought to Turing would be the ability of the machine to successfully imitate the thought of a human being (an example being a computer being passed as a human on an instant messaging program). Given Turing’s “imitation game,” would Turing find the above machine to be intelligent or not? Here is a reconstruction of what a conversation (on AIM) with such a machine would be like:
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Me: Hi. Machine: Hi. Me: What is 12345 + 67890? Machine: (Almost instantly) 80235. At this point, I would be very suspicious whether or not the person I am talking to a human or not. In my head, there are two possibilities. Firstly, I am talking to a machine. This is because many humans that I have met have not been able to compute such an arithmetic problem so quickly. Secondly, I am speaking with a genius. I have also met several individuals who can compute arithmetic problems faster than a calculator. If I believe in the first possibility then the Turing Test has already failed. However, if I still showed some curiosity in the matter and believed that I am speaking to a genius, I continue the conversation: Me: Good Job. Machine: Thank you.
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This note was uploaded on 10/23/2008 for the course PHIL 1101 taught by Professor Weatherson,b during the Spring '06 term at Cornell.

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Phil 101 - Second Essay Questions - Question 1 - Simon Wong...

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