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Selmer Bringsjord: Can human minds be reduced to computer programs?


In Silicon Valley that has long been a serious belief. But are we really anywhere close?

Computer scientist Selmer Bringsjord recalls, “I remember asking James Moor, the Dartmouth professor who’s written quite a bit on AI: “You know. Jim, you really are a true believer in this stuff but can you tell me how much time you’re willing to give these AI people? I mean, if we give them another thousand years, and we still don’t have cognition as I’ve characterized it… Are you going to be skeptical now?” He was, I suppose, as an academic, predictably clever and evasive, but the bottom line is, we don’t have this cognition captured. – Mind Matters News

Earlier, Robert J. Marks and Selmer Bringsjord were discussing issues around human vs. computer thinking abilities:

Thinking machines? The Lovelace test raises the stakes. The Turing test has had a free ride in science media for far too long, says an AI expert. (This is the partial transcript and notes to the earlier part of the podcast.)


Thinking machines? Has the Lovelace test been passed? Surprising results do not equate to creativity. Is there such a thing as machine creativity? The feats of machines like AlphaGo are due to superior computational power, not to creativity at originating new ideas. Dr. Bringsjord sees the ability to write, say, a novel of ideas as a more realistic test of human vs. computer achievement.

The better question is "can a human mind be simulated on a computer?". The better answer is, since we don't know exactly what a conscious human mind is and how exactly it works, probably not. Would we - should we - give up if we haven't cracked it in a thousand years? Who knows? It took life on Earth over 3bn years to get to this point. What's the hurry? Some people are so impatient! Seversky

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