Computers that think and Lions that sing.

November 11, 2003 at 1:17 PM

So, Sunday night Jessica and I went to Graceland (no, not Paul Simon-style) and saw an awesome show: Irving (so-so), The Pale (rocked), Rocky Votolato (really rocked), and Pedro the Lion (Dave Bazan is cool--one of those new songs was really good. The show, however, dragged a little after a while). At $8 a ticket, it was well worth it.

Now I'm putting off writing a philosophy essay. It's about cognition--i.e., what constitutes thought, a mind, etc. This isn't the branch of philosophy I'd pick to study--I'm more of an ethics/metaphysics person. It is, however, an interesting topic. The essay I'm writing is supposed to argue that the position of Strong AI (stating that thought is merely the manipulation of formal symbols, as in a computer program, and that therefore computers have minds) is false. Shouldn't be difficult at all, especially since we're allowed to mimic arguments from our book, and one of them (by John Searle) has a fairly sound argument.

The only issue now is me getting off my butt... I think I'm going to officially start it in Starbuck's while I wait for Jessica to get out of physical therapy.The position of Strong AI holds to what is called the Turing Test: If an entity can imitate a human being through printed answers, then it has a mind like a human. Searle points out the difference between the sytactic manipulation that computers use and the semantic meaning that humans' thoughts have. His position is that thought must have both the syntax and the semantics.