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The prevailing attitude, in favor of weak AI, asserts that "the syntax of the program is not by itself sufficient for the semantics of the mind" [Baumgartner 1995, quoting Searle].The apparent failure of traditional (strong) AI has led researches to consider new computing paradigms.
Still, there are those who cling desperately to the strong AI dream.
Searle says in [Baumgartner 1995] that these people have built their professional lives on the assumption that strong Artificial Intelligence is true. Then you do not refute it; you do not convince its adherents just by presenting an argument.
If Star Trek is any reliable predictor of our world's future (hah!
), then the issue of whether machines can be alive won't be resolved any time soon.
The "weak AI" thesis claims that machines, even if they appear intelligent, can only simulate intelligence [Bringsjord 1998], and will never actually be aware of what they are doing.
Some weak AI proponents [Bringsjord 1997, Penrose 1990] believe that human intelligence results from a superior computing mechanism which, while exercised in the brain, will never be present in a Turing-equivalent computer.An early attempt at this was the Connection Machine, introduced by Thinking Mind, Inc.in 1986, which had up to 64,000 processors, massively connected, capable of fully parallel operation.Far from it, the predominant opinion in the AI community, among both sides of the strong/weak issue, is that the mind is a strictly physical phenomenon [Fischler 1987].Even Searle, a weak AI advocate, believes that The AI debate is primarily concerned over whether our current, algorithmic computing paradigm is sufficient to achieve intelligence, once "the right algorithm" has been found.For example, researchers have noted that the traditional Von Neumann "stored-program" architecture, which is the basis of most of the world's computers today, is radically different from the neural structure of the brain."Connectionists" hope to build machines whose organization more resembles that of the brain and its neural structure, by using numerous, simple processing components connected in a massively parallel manner.In this parable, Searle demonstrates that although the system may appear intelligent, it in fact is just following orders, without intent or knowledge of what it is accomplishing.Searle's argument has been influential in the AI community and is referenced in much of the literature.But the person inside the room knows nothing of this.He is instantiating a computer program -- that is, he is performing purely formal manipulations of uninterpreted patterns; the program is all syntax and has no semantics.