By Thomas Georges
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Additional info for Digital Soul: Intelligent Machines and Human Values
From Tools to Goal Seekers In Chapter 4, we examined ways that machines might plausibly be said to learn, to think, and to understand. Even with these advanced Let the Android Do It 49 capabilities, however, smart machines are typically thought of as passive tools used by people, who will always retain control over their actions. But can machines perceive and pursue goals independently of direct human control? A simple example is a mechanical mouse that runs a maze. Instead of being under direct human control, it contains an internal program for sensing walls, rules for turning and backing up from dead ends, and an ability to remember where it has already been.
Can they set and pursue goals independently of direct human control? Does this mean that they have “minds of their own”? Can autonomous machines have values and personality? If so, can they be as malicious or benign as science fiction portrays them? And what (if anything) do autonomous machines have in common with humans? From Tools to Goal Seekers In Chapter 4, we examined ways that machines might plausibly be said to learn, to think, and to understand. Even with these advanced Let the Android Do It 49 capabilities, however, smart machines are typically thought of as passive tools used by people, who will always retain control over their actions.
Machines Who Think 39 By making ELIZA’s dictionary and the Chinese Room’s phrase book more and more comprehensive, one could come arbitrarily close to reproducing very sophisticated and intelligent responses. If such a box also included information about ongoing sensory experiences accumulated over years, then its responses could not easily be distinguished from those of an intelligent human. Yet the conclusion drawn by the anti-machine-intelligence bunch is that no matter how elaborate the symbol-manipulating abilities inside a box or room, nothing is happening that anyone would call understanding.