Posted on Fri 21 August 2015

Computing Machinery and Intelligence

I was just reading [cached]Quantum Computing since Democritus (an excellent book!), when it referred me to Turing's [cached]Computing Machinery and Intelligence.

This argument is very, well expressed in Professor Jefferson's Lister Oration for 1949, from which I quote. "Not until a machine can write a sonnet or compose a concerto because of thoughts and emotions felt, and not by the chance fall of symbols, could we agree that machine equals brain-that is, not only write it but know that it had written it. No mechanism could feel (and not merely artificially signal, an easy contrivance) pleasure at its successes, grief when its valves fuse, be warmed by flattery, be made miserable by its mistakes, be charmed by sex, be angry or depressed when it cannot get what it wants." ...

It is impressive how even 65 years ago he already captured all the common arguments why computers wouldn't be able to think: theological, mathematical, consciousness, disability, and so on.

Scott Aaronson sums it up nicely:

In my view, one can divide everything that's been said about artificial intelligence into two categories: the 70% that's somewhere in Turing's paper from 1950, and the 30% that's emerged from a half-century of research since then.

Tags: ai, programming

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