Artificial Intelligence Mind

Ed Feser on the delusion that computers are intelligent

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Riffing off Gary Smith’s book, The The AI Delusion, ohe offers,

”As Smith observes, a computer can be programmed to detect instances of the word “betrayal” in scanned texts, but it lacks the concept of betrayal. Therefore, if a computer scans a story about betrayal that happens not to use the actual word “betrayal,” it will fail to detect the story’s theme. And if it scans text that does contain the word, but without deploying the concept of betrayal, the computer will erroneously classify it as a story about betrayal. Due to the rough correlation that exists between contexts in which the word “betrayal” appears, and contexts in which the concept is deployed, the computer will loosely simulate the behavior of someone who understands the word—but, says Smith, to suppose such a simulation amounts to real intelligence is like supposing that climbing a tree amounts to flying.” – Edward Feser, “Computer Pseudoscience” at City Journal

It is sobering to reflect on the possibility that public policy could be shaped by persons who are unfamiliar with such critical distinctions.

If computers are intelligent, climbing a tree is flying” at Mind Matters News

More on Edward Feser: Remarkably, a simple triangle can disprove materialism Philosopher of mind Edward Feser and neurosurgeon Michael Egnor chat about the essential immateriality of our minds.

Also, Gary Smith explains why computers’ stupidity makes them dangerous. To take one example, computer algorithms failed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election because the things they could not measure proved to be decisive factors. They can be misleading in medical research too because they don’t address the all-too-common Texas Sharpshooter Fallacies.

2 Replies to “Ed Feser on the delusion that computers are intelligent

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Does our concept of intelligence necessarily include consciousness or self-awareness? If it does then computers, not being self-aware, cannot be by definition. If intelligence does not require self-awareness then, yes, computers could be intelligent.

  2. 2
    EDTA says:

    >It is sobering to reflect on the possibility that public policy could be shaped by persons who are unfamiliar with such critical distinctions.

    Policy on social issues is shaped daily by people who have no, or a stunted understanding of, human nature. Economic policy is shaped daily by people with a kindergarten understanding of economics. Foreign policy is shaped daily by people with no understanding of foreign cultures. Military policy is shaped by people…well, you get the idea.

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