Re: No More Searle Please

From: Woody Long (
Date: Wed Jan 18 2006 - 23:40:01 MST

From: micah glasser

See this paper to read Ray Kurzweil destroy Searle's ridiculous argument. This is my favourite argument from Ray - it should be standard reading for any philosophy of mind or AI class. I recommend reading it as it is quite short.

As a builder of machine consciousness, I am interested in Turing and Searle solely for test ideas for the soon-coming pack of MC Contenders. From this point of view, the basic Searle argument perfectly describes the classical computer systems of his age - which are not conscious machines- and points the way for TESTING for the next, post-classical computer system's critical features - which are conscious machines.

The argument from Searle himself, as acknowledged in the Kurzweil paper -

"I believe the best-known argument against strong AI was my Chinese room argument (Searle 1980a) that showed that a system could instantiate a program so as to give a perfect simulation of some human cognitive capacity, such as the capacity to understand Chinese, even though that system had no understanding of Chinese whatever."

The Searle argument boiled down to a proposition -

A simulatory, card-shuffling, dumb system with no understanding of the cognitive task it is performing, can never be considered a strong AI conscious machine.

As an MC builder, I absolutely agree with, and support this assertion, and will apply it to all MC Contenders, including myself.

Can you imagine a dumb, card shuffling classical (1950-2005) computer system - expert system or otherwise - running a program that is a "perfect simulation of some human cognitive capacity" (our debate capacity being textual entailment recognition), even though that system "had no understanding" of this cognitive capability "whatever."? Sounds like a perfect description of all the "rule of thumb" driven, dumb card shuffling, **classical computer systems** I have ever seen, including rule based expert systems and robot languages. Such dumb card shuffling, simulatory, classical system can never attain the status of a strong AI conscious machine.

However, it implies the alternative: if the system DOES have an "understanding of the cognitive capability' so that it does pass the Searle test - i.e., Hey look there - that CHINESE MAN in the Room DOES have an "understanding of the human cognitive capacity"!! The classical dumb, card shuffling NON-CHINESE MAN doing the task NEVER can be said to be a strong AI, conscious machine who "understands the human cognitive capacity" being performed. However, if the post-classical, human level consciousness duplicating "droid" CHINESE MAN is put in the room, who DOES have an "understanding of the human cognitive capacity" CAN be said to be (or partially be) a strong AI conscious machine.

Ken Woody Long

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