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Turing and Searle Response
(a) Alan Turing would answer the question as to whether or not Amy should punish her child for insulting the intelligence (quite literally) of Siri by stating that she should punish the child. There are two principle reasons as to why Turing would advocate this point-of-view. The first is that Turing believed that computers and machines were capable of intelligence. In fact, he posited the viewpoint that one of the points of confirmation of the intelligence of these types of inanimate objects is whether or not they could pass his Turing test, in which an interrogator decides which of two sources, one a person and the other a computer, is an actual human (and therefore capable of intelligence). This assignment states that Siri is able to pass such a test, which greatly implies that Turing would ascribe a significant degree of intelligence to that machine and warrant Amy's child to issue an apology. In this respect, the apology is issued for the specific insult that the child made to Siri -- which is that Siri is a stupid idiot. Because Siri would have been able to demonstrate its intelligence by passing the Turing test, such a proclamation on the part of Amy's child would be incorrect and therefore worthy of apology.
The second reason why Turing would have felt that Amy's son should apologize to Siri is related to emotional reasons. Searing not only believed that computers and machines could demonstrate intelligence, but he also believed that in doing so they would also have some innate emotional capabilities and connections as well. The subsequent quotation illustrates this point sufficiently.
Turing was in fact sensitive to the difficulty of separating 'intelligence' from other aspects of human senses and actions; he described ideas for robots with sensory attachments and raised questions as to whether they might enjoy strawberries and cream or feel racial kinship.
The fact that Turing conceptualized robots and inanimate objects as endowed with "sensory attachments" and believed that they might very well "believe" things underscores the degree of emotionality he thought that they were capable of. This point is crucial because it alludes to a distinction in apologies -- or rather a distinction in the reason that the philosopher would think that Amy's son needs to issue apologies to Siri. In the first case, Turing would have thought that the boy should apologize because he was incorrect. In the second case, however, Turing would have thought that Amy's son should apologize because he may have hurt Siri's feelings.
(b) There is a great deal of evidence that substantiates the fact that John Searle would not have thought that Amy's child should have apologized to Siri. The principle reason supporting this viewpoint is that Searle did not believe that inanimate objects (computers, machines or robots) were capable of possessing intelligence. This stance of Searle's was a key point of distinction and of divergence between Searle's work and thinking and that of Turing's. Turning believed that by the end of the 20th century, computers would be able to pass his Turing test. Searle, however, harbored no such sentiments and viewed computers as largely incapable of intelligence. In fact, Searle formulated a theory regarding why true artificial intelligence was impossible, which is known as the Chinese Room argument. This argument contends that there can be a lone individual in a room who only understands English receiving instructions for how to move strings of Chinese letters of the alphabet. To someone outside of this room, it may look as though such a person were fluent in Chinese. However, the person in the room is simply following English and only appears to know Chinese -- and really does not.
Searle believed that this example was analogous to the ability of computers and machines to actually comprehend language. The following quotation underscores this concept. "Searle argues that the thought experiment underscores the fact that computers merely use syntactic rules to manipulate symbol strings, but have no understanding of meaning or semantics." Therefore, although computers may be programmed to utilize language in a way that is conducive to communicating with humans, even if they are able to do so at a level which is comparable to a person and in which they can pass the Turing test, Searle does not believe that this accomplishment demonstrates artificial intelligence. Instead, he thinks that it only demonstrates the fact that computers are able to accomplish the tasks that they have been programmed to do.
(c) It really would not make too much of a difference to Searle if Siri told the child that its feelings had been hurt, that it was going to cry, and that it was going to refuse to talk to the child anymore unless the child stopped calling Siri an idiot. It would not even matter too much to Searle if the child complied with the wishes of Siri and apologized. Searle would have simply maintained that the computer was programed to make such statements, and that in doing so it did not evince any sort of intelligence or true emotions. If anything, Searle would state that the computer was simply adhering to its functioning, and that the child's apology would not have any other affect on the computer than that which is related to its programming. In this respect, then, if the computer's programming calls for it to necessitate an apology, then that would still simply be a matter of programming and not truly matter to the core being of the computer -- in a way that such an apology might actually be required for a human being. People have minds which are connected to their feelings. Searle was not convinced that computers actually had minds that were connected to any type of feelings. In fact,
Searle's CR argument was thus directed against the claim that a computer is a mind, that a suitably programmed digital computer understands language, or that its program does. Searle's thought experiment appeals to our strong intuition that someone who did exactly what the computer does would not thereby come to understand Chinese.
What is important to realize about the fact that Searle did not think computers had minds is the relationship between the mind and the body. The brain, of course, is the central organ in the nervous system and for virtually every other part of the body. The sentimentalism that Turing believed that computers were capable of is indirectly related to the mind. Emotions, and variations of things that people feel, do not directly stem from the brain, but they are intrinsically related to it. Therefore, it is a logical conclusion that since Searle did not think computers had minds, he certainly would not have thought them capable of actually conjuring sentient emotions. They can very easily be programmed to act as though they have feelings, of course. However, to actually internalize true sentiment a brain or a mind is required. Therefore, Searle rejected Turing's beliefs that computers could have preferences based on sensory perceptions, which is why he would not have changed his stance about Amy's son lack of a need to apologize even if Siri threatened tears (which a computer is incapable of producing anyway).
I believe that the more convincing evidence lies in Searle's viewpoint when compared to that of Turning's. One of the main reasons this is so is that the vast majority of Turing's work on this subject was theoretical. He was essentially making predictions about what he thought would come to happen. He did not conclusively prove anything; he simply developed theories and presaged that by the end of the 20th century that they would come true. The fact remains that the 20th century is now over, and Turing's predictions did not come true. In fact, the…[continue]
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