[ExI] The digital nature of brains (was: digital simulations)

Gordon Swobe gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Sun Jan 31 17:25:45 UTC 2010

--- On Sat, 1/30/10, Eric Messick <eric at m056832107.syzygy.com> wrote:

> In the referenced paper, Searle says that weak AI would be
> a useful tool for understanding intelligence, while strong AI would
> duplicate intelligence.  

We might reasonably attribute intelligence to both strong and weak AI systems. However for a system to have strong AI it must also have intentional states defined as conscious thoughts, beliefs, hopes, desires and so on. It must have a subjective conscious mind in the sense that you, Eric, have a mind. 

> I claim (and I expect you would dispute) that an accurate
> neural level simulation of a healthy human brain would constitute 
> strong AI.

I dispute that, yes, if the simulation consists of software running on hardware.

> Assuming that such a simulation accurately reproduced
> responses of an intelligent human (it passes the Turing Test), 
> I'm going to guess that you'd grant it weak AI status, but not strong 
> AI status.


> Furthermore, you seem to be asserting that no test based on
> it's behavior could ever convince you to grant it strong
> status.

Right. Such a system might at first fool me into believing it had strong AI status. I would however discover the deception if I obtained knowledge of its inner workings and found the architecture of a software/hardware system running formal programs as such systems exist today. I would then demote the system to weak AI status.
> Let's go a step farther and place the computer running this
> simulation within the skull of the person we have duplicated,
> replacing their brain.  It's connected with all of the neurons which
> used to feed into the brain.
> Now, what you have is a human body which behaves completely
> normally.

Still weak AI.

> I present you with two humans, one of which has had this
> operation performed, and the other of which hasn't.  Both claim
> to be the one who hasn't, but of course one of them is lying 
> (or perhaps mistaken).
> How could you tell which is which?

Exploratory surgery.

> This is of course a variant of the classic Turing Test, and
> we've already stipulated that this simulation passes the Turing
> Test.
> So, can you tell the difference?

I can't know the difference from their external behavior, but I can know it from a bit of surgery + some philosophical arguments. 

> Or do you claim that it will always be impossible to create
> such a simulation in the first place?  No, wait, you've
> already said that systems that pass the Turing Test will be possible, 
> so you're no longer claiming that it is impossible.  Do you want to
> change your mind on that again?

Excuse me? I never argued for the impossibility of such systems and I have not "changed my mind" about this. I wonder now if I can count on you for an honest discussion. 

What I have claimed several times is that the Turing test will give false positives for the simulation.



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