Technology

Technology has traditionally evolved as the result of
human needs. Invention, when prized and
rewarded, will invariably rise-up to meet the free
market demands of society. It is in this realm that
Artificial Intelligence research and the resultant
expert systems have been forged. Much of the material
that relates to the field of Artificial Intelligence
deals with human psychology and the nature of
consciousness. Exhaustive debate on consciousness and
the possibilities of consciousnessness in machines has
adequately, in my opinion, revealed that it is most
unlikely that we will ever converse or interract with
a machine of artificial consciousness. In John
Searle\'s collection of lectures, Minds, Brains and
Science, arguments centering around the mind-body
problem alone is sufficient to convince a reasonable
person that there is no way science will ever unravel
the mysteries of consciousness. Key to Searle\'s
analysis of consciousness in the context of Artificial
Intelligence machines are refutations of strong and
weak AI theses. Strong AI Theorists (SATs) believe
that in the future, mankind will forge machines that
will think as well as, if not better than humans. To
them, pesent technology constrains this achievement.
The Weak AI Theorists (WATs), almost converse to the
SATs, believe that if a machine performs functions
that resemble a human\'s, then there must
be a correlation between it and consciousness. To
them, there is no technological impediment to thinking
machines, because our most advanced machines already
think. It is important to review Searle\'s refutations
of these respective theorists\' proposition to
establish a foundation (for the purpose of this essay)
for discussing the applications of Artificial
Intelligence, both now and in the future.
Strong AI Thesis
Strong AI Thesis, according to Searle,
can be described in four basic propositions.
Proposition one categorizes human thought as the
result of computational processes. Given enough
computational power, memory, inputs, etc., machines
will be able to think, if you believe this
proposition. Proposition two, in essence, relegates
the human mind to the software bin. Proponents of this
proposition believe that humans just happen to have
biological computers that run "wetware" as opposed to
software. Proposition three, the Turing proposition,
holds that if a conscious being can be convinced that,
through context-input manipulation, a machine is
intelligent, then it is. proposition four is where the
ends will meet the means. It purports that when we are
able to finally understand the brain, we will be able
to duplicate its functions. Thus, if we replicate the
computational power of the mind, we will then
understand it. Through argument and experimentation,
Searle is able to refute or severely diminish these
propositions. Searle argues that machines may well
be able to "understand" syntax, but not the
semantics, or meaning communicated thereby.
Essentially, he makes his point by citing the famous
"Chinese Room Thought Experiment." It is here he
demonstrates that a computer" (a non-chinese speaker,
a book of rules and the chinese symbols) can fool a
native speaker, but have no idea what he is saying. By
proving that entities don\'t have to understand what
they are processing to appear as understanding refutes
proposition one.
Proposition two is refuted by the
simple fact that there are no artificial minds or
mind-like devices. Proposition two is thus a matter of
science fiction rather than a plausible theory A good
chess program, like my (as yet undefeated) Chessmaster
4000 Trubo refutes proposition three by passing a
Turing test. It appears to be intelligent, but I know
it beats me through number crunching and symbol
manipulation. The Chessmaster 4000 example is also an
adequate refutation of Professor Simon\'s fourth
proposition: "you can understand a process if you can
reproduce it." Because the Software Toolworks
company created a program for my computer that
simulates the behavior of a grandmaster
in the game, doesn\'t mean that the computer is indeed
intelligent. Weak AI Thesis
There are five basic propositions that
fall in the Weak AI Thesis (WAT) camp. The first of
these states that the brain, due to its complexity of
operation, must function something like a computer,
the most sophisticated of human invention. The second
WAT proposition
states that if a machine\'s output, if
it were compared to that of a human counterpart
appeared to be the result of
intelligence, then the machine must be so. Proposition
three
concerns itself with the similarity
between how humans solve problems and how
computers do so. By solving problems
based on information gathered from their respective
surroundings and memory and by obeying
rules of logic, it is proven that machines can
indeed think. The fourth WAT
proposition deals with the fact that brains are known
to have
computational abilities and that a
program therein can be inferred. Therefore, the mind
is
just a big program ("wetware"). The
fifth and final WAT proposition states that, since the
mind appears to be "wetware", dualism
is