The Absurdity of Thinking Machines

Posted 1 Mar 2006 at 17:44 UTC by steve Share This

Mark Halpern doesn't like the Turing Test or Turing's legacy in the field of AI. In an article in The New Atlantis he argues that Turing's idea was problematic and flawed from the start. According to Halpern, humans don't judge the intelligence of other humans by their response to questions but by their appearence. He argues that if humans respond badly to questions, we merely judge them stupid thinkers but no matter how well machines respond to questions we will always judge them non-thinking because they don't look human. Halpern objects to "AI enthusiasts" who have made Turing "their spiritual father and philosophic patron" and he's apparently not too happy the ACM named the Turing Award after him either. The article degenerates into the usual Searle Chinese Room argument and concludes that only machines made of meat can think because they have some sort soul that non-meat machines can never have which is apparently necessary for thinking. If you'd like to read more about Halpern's ideas on the absurdity of thinking machines and Turing, the new article is an abridged version of a longer two part article that can be found on Halpern's website.

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