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Artificial Intelligence and Human Capacity

1)What role do metaphors play in helping people grasp the concept of Artificial Intelligence? Do you agree with the statement that the brain is a "meat machine"? What other metaphors might be applicable to the function of the human brain?

2)In the article "First tentative steps," Rodney Brooks is quoted as saying, "My belief is that we, people, are machines. So in principle, I see no reason why we can't build a robot that is as capable as a human being." Compare that statement with the two remaining articles, other readings you have done, and your own views. Discuss your position relative to the possibility of machines becoming equal to humans.

3)How do you think Victor Frankl would answer the question, "What does it mean to be human?" Examine his ideas on life, love, suffering, and humor. Develop your own definition of what it means to be human.

4)Consider John Searle's "four features of mental phenomena." What specific aspects of each feature make mental phenomena so difficult to fit into a scientific conception of the world? What are the implications of the four conclusions he makes in Chapter 2 in defining a "thinking" machine?

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Dear Student,
The links you have provided do not work - as you can see, to get to the actual articles and study materials requires logging in to your school system therefore I was unable to get access to the materials you were given. I had to sequester the books & the articles separately hence it took me longer. I must say though that I immensely enjoyed creating this solution for you. Artificial intelligence and robotics are very interesting topics for me and to combine them with philosophy & the discussion of consciousness is fascinating so much so in fact that I had drawn on my own experience and knowledge of robotics to explain certain concepts. I urge you to view the video of ASIMO learning as I have indicate in the solution. It will explain metaphor & AI to you in simpler terms. The solution is written in APA format, all the references I used are indicated indicated in the reference section. Attached is the wordform of the solution for easy printing. Good luck & Happy Holidays!

OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Humanity & Consciousness

1. Metaphors & artificial intelligence

Question: What role do metaphors play in helping people grasp the concept of Artificial Intelligence? Do you agree with the statement that the brain is a "meat machine"? What other metaphors might be applicable to the function of the human brain?

John Searle, imminent American Philosopher poured his academic life working on social & language philosophy. He did so because language & the social networks affected his critical analysis and interest in the philosophy of the mind. His focus in understanding the philosophy of the mind was on intentionality, referring to the relation between mental states or meanings and their associated objects. Echoing the thinking of philosophical linguist Saussure, he wanted to investigate how the mind captures and decides on assigning knowledge to a representation. Take for instance words. How does the mind conceive a word and subsequently assign & recognize meaning? Now take that a bit further, if one assigns meaning and conceives a set of beliefs on a deity or God, the act of doing so is intentional because the mind wills it and assigns meaning to it. Searle's work extends to a discussion of meaning creation and meaning understanding. He presents a thesis that posits that man has a set of abilities, capacities, tendencies, and dispositions that are not intentional. He calls this 'the background'. These he believes are what enables man to recognize and assign meanings automatically, to process thought. So when we hear someone say - 'I'm off to study', those who listen can arrive at assumptions - the subject is off to school or to the library. This, he further argues is based on the social experience which contributes, he believes to one's Conscious free flowing thought, influencing behaviour and thinking process. For Searle, Consciousness is built on actual first-person experience & is subjective, caused by the physical processes of the brain. How then can we imbue artificial intelligence with consciousness? For Searle, for that to happen, there is no other way other than duplicating and copying the actual processes that the brain goes through to create consciousness. Socialization & Experience is also necessary to achieve that state of consciousness. Therefore, in a way, Searle finds it improbable that artificial intelligence, that which is displayed by computers can actually at any point achieve consciousness.

Human beings talk in metaphors or explain abstract concepts in metaphors. It is imperative therefore that for artificial intelligence to grasp human thought accurately, AI must be able to decode and understand metaphors. Metaphors present mental state in human beings. When one says 'I feel blue today,' we can right away understand the mental and physical state of the person who uttered it and what it refers to. Artificial intelligence and cognition is a controversial and interesting topic primarily because it is that effort to decode the human mind with AI worked on by neurologists, sociologists and scientists to approximate human thought and behaviour. The 'meat machine' as human beings are referred to be complex biologies that outside of physiology is perplexing to understand when mental processes are sought to be mapped out. Consider this - a cardiologist can explain pretty much everything that goes on in the human heart and the cardiac system. A neurologist on the other hand can explain the nervous system's physiology but not the manner by which thoughts, consciousness and state of being are composed. Neurologists, psychiatrists, sociologists & linguists have delved on this area of studies feverishly to this day.

While advances have been reached, we are still not in that stage to claim that man has arrived at a sense of understanding. ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a collection of short essays providing an in-depth and comprehensive response to 4 humanities/Philosophical questions indicated in the original inquiry (see problem). Totalling at about 2,800 words, the essay discusses the work of Brooks, Frankl and Searle and includes examples of recent innovations in Artificial intelligence including the innovative learning (cognition-based design) robot by Honda - the Asimo. Mental Phenomenon and the human ability to 'know' and learn is discussed as well as varied opinions on the possible developments in AI to lay down the foundation to provide answers to what it means to be 'human'. A full reference list is provided for expansion. A word version of the solution is attached. Note that each 'mini-section' heading indicates the questions/topic being discussed.