Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, April 18, 2013

John Searle 16-2

Searle's Chinese Room example totally misses the mark when it comes to examining computers and their ability to "think" or not.  The confused man who doesn't know what exactly he's doing is a terrible way to illustrate a computer because it implies that somewhere in the computer there is the capability for it to understand in the first place. The man has the capability to understand and for higher functioning whereas the computer does not have the ability to do so. A computer doesn't have the capability to understand even if we wanted it to, the man on the other hand does have the capability to understand if someone were to allow him to. A computer is a machine created by man. Computers do not think unless we give them the capability to do so and even then they are restricted by their parts, their mechanisms. In the same sense as our thoughts are limited by our biology. You cannot think or behave in a way that your brain does not have capability of allowing you to do so just like a computer cannot function outside of what its parts allow it to.


  1. For machines to become "self-aware", they have to develop a mind of their own. We can program computers to simulate thoughts or actions, but the computer is still following its programming. That's why we call it "AI". If a computer becomes aware that it exists and then decides that it wants to learn new information that humans did not tell it to. That is a major step in machine becoming self aware. I feel that machines won't truly become self-aware until they developed the ability to ask "why".

    I disagree with Dr. Oliver when he said that only organic material is alive. Our brains learn material with a chemical process. It takes time for our brain to learn new material. Machines learn with an electronic process that is much, much faster. To put this into perspective, it takes a person to learn their PhD about seven years. A machine can learn its PhD in about 15 min. Learning new material is the first step for machines to become alive. With that, machines can evolve faster than we ever could. Now, who is alive?

  2. I am from group 16-1 and I found the video on youtube about singularity. It gives a better idea on how technology will progress in the next ten years.


  3. brittany1:52 PM CDT

    I agree that computers do not think unless we make them capable to do so.

  4. kaitlyn bennett2:03 PM CDT

    Sorry David I have to disagree I don’t think a computer can "learn" at all. Humans can learn by experience and by understanding new information given by others, but computers cannot do this. The only information they know is what is put into their programs by humans. The only way they can evolve is by humans creating better versions. Apple sends out a new software update for the iPhone every other month or so trying to perfect their software, if computers were able to learn then each individual phone would improve itself on a daily basis.
    Computers are not alive, maybe they can process information including information at the PhD level way faster than a human can, but that’s only because humans put the information into the data base. It didn’t learn this info. It’s simply pulling it from a random file with those key words that someone else has put there. When a computer can show me new information that has never before been seen or discovered by man, that’s when I’ll believe a computer is a living, thinking, learning organism.

  5. Anonymous2:28 PM CDT

    Computers do not have the ability to think, they meerly have the ability to compute

  6. Adam Thomas2:51 PM CDT

    I agree. and I think Dr. oliver was right in saying that only organic material is alive, computers can't think and learn like humans and animals and don't grow and become more advanced by themselves like other living things