January 21, 2004
AI slamming, Rageboy style

I will probably disagree with a lot of the stuff he says, but that will not detract from the Rageboy thesis on AI.
The basic problem with anti-AI philosphers is one that is actually covered from the other side in Rageboy's text via a quote from Jerry Fodor:

"There is, in short, every reason to suppose that the Computational Theory [of Mind] is part of the truth about cognition.
But it hadn't occurred to me that anyone could think that it's a very large part of the truth; still less that it's within miles of being the whole story of how the mind works. (Practitioners of artificial intelligence have sometimes said things that suggest they harbor such convictions. But, even by its own account, AI was generally supposed to be about engineering, not about science; and certainly not about philosophy.)" [p. 1; italics in original]

Brilliantly put, and exactly the reason the anti-AI position, right or wrong, while interesting, is inessential to AI. I am perfectly willing to say that AI is just engineering and that all thought-like signs emanating from the AI machine are fake, are signs only because of our interpretation, and evidence only of design, not intelligence. That is not in any way a statement about the consequences of building such a fake machine however and it says absolutely nothing about the nature of engineerable signing. If these machines can design even more sophisticated machines, can fly planes, emit texts understandable as sonnets or whatever that will have consequences regardless of our perception of their possible lack of intelligence.
That's the question I consider interesting. This simpler engineering question is still pretty out there stuff and it is very likely very difficult to design these Howard Hughes like machines (didn't the list of accomplishments I wrote above sound an awful lot like the skills of Howard Hughes?) if it is at all possible. Personally I think complexity itself will in some hard to conceive way yield at least some of these capabiliites.

Posted by Claus at January 21, 2004 12:41 AM | TrackBack (0)
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