I may be going off base here, but Searle's Chinese Room seems to be addressing the mind/brain divide or even the software/hardware divide (and probably more the latter one). It sounds like the Chinese Room is the processor/brain that does the work and the "infinite" book is the software/mind that tells the processer/brain what to do.
on hawkins, intelligence, and searle's chinese room
And so the dilemma, from what I see, comes down to: When does sentience arise? And my own question would be what's the limits of sentience? And from what Hawkins and Searles say, it sounds like they don't believe the Chinese Box has sentience but calling it intelligence.
Am I off base here?
--The_Lex Wed Jul 23 13:19:45 2008
You're dead on in your first point; that's exactly why they mark they argument, the guy is the CPU, the book is the software, the scratch paper is the RAM.
So what do you mean by sentience? Self-awareness? Ability to model the world and one's place in it?
--Kirk Wed Jul 23 14:28:01 2008
I don't really have a meaning for sentience. In all honesty, it's the word that popped into my head about this topic. Neither do I really have good working definition of intelligence.
With your argument, I can see how you might argue that a convincing imitation of a human being by a machine/computer (the Turing chess player, anyone?) could be construed as intelligence if we only have an outward display of it and the book/software has structured and readied replies to an infinite amount of "problems" or "situations."
I guess I bring up sentience or the soul because that's what Hawkins or Searle seems to be talking about, the internal part.
For me, I guess it largely comes down to semantics, defining intelligence, sentience, soul, etc. etc. in ways that structures the question and makes sense of it.
Does the Chinese Box have tastes, desires, likes, dislikes, hobbies; you know, markings of humanity that go beyond dealing with problems and necessity but make meaning, purpose, joy, tragedy, etc. etc.?
To me, it seems like Hawkins might be defining intelligence as not just manipulating symbols but to engage in meaning and purpose while engaging in those activities other than resolving a problem or issue. But I could be overreaching my understanding of the situation, especially since I haven't read the book.
--The_Lex Wed Jul 23 15:15:12 2008
Oh, Kirk. Don't you know that true intelligence is defined as whatever animals and computers are bad at?
You could just as easily say, oh, the guy who doesn't know Chinese, that's not a CPU, that's the laws of physics. And the book and the scratch paper? Well, I see no reason why they should be seperate -- they're really neural connections in a brain. The neurons just fire in accordance with the laws of physics, which are static, and clearly neither of those things can have understanding. Therefore humans can't possibly understand anything / are given this magical, unknowable power of understanding by God, and there's literally no way God can give that power to a fucking book and a pile of scrap paper. We have control over every step!
I mean, that's the argument, isn't it? We UNDERSTAND how to manipulate symbols, but we don't have a fucking clue what intelligence is -- that's unknowable magic! I'M UNKNOWABLE MAGIC!
It's curious to note that Hawkins doesn't bother to mention the scrap paper as a possibility for "where the understanding is", because that's the only place where a model of the story could possibly be built and stored. I'd actually imagine that the unalterable parts of the book would be paltry indeed; the first instruction would almost certainly be a "Copy the following squintillion symbols onto scrap paper"-type bootstrapping step, if the piles of pre-written scrap paper weren't already there to begin with.
--SpindleyQ Wed Jul 23 16:26:33 2008
To be fair I don't Hawkins is a dualist or a mystic... I'll talk more about this in the next days entry
--Kirk Thu Jul 24 10:59:18 2008
This reminds me of the second-to-last act of the novel "Captain Jack Zodiac," a superbly-named sf novel of, IMO, considerable worth, written by Michael Kandel, who may be better known by his most superior translations of Stanslaw Lem novels from Polish to English.
Captain Jack Zodiac's protagonist finds himself in the raw core of the universe's many levels of existence, and he finds a programming manual for the universe itself. He doesn't understand the code language, but he does have all the time in the world, so he just memorizes the damn thing and waits for it to synthesize.
--LAN3 Thu Jul 24 17:34:33 2008
Oh, his Lem work was outstanding! Some of that stuff seemed like Goedel Escher Bach level complexity!
--Kirk Fri Jul 25 09:57:02 2008
Agreed-- The Cyberiad alone demonstrates his ability to replicate Lem's language-plays as well and challenging poetry, something that probably had to be re-created as much as translated.
I wish he would translate more Lem, even some existing works. Solaris, for example, has never made it to English without passing through another language first. (Tarkovsky's movie was, of course, Polish to Russian with English subs, and the available novel was drawn from a French translation of the Polish.) There are also other direct translations from Polish, but by, IMO, slightly inferior translators.
His other books are "Panda Ray" and "Strange Invasion," the latter of that microgenre of people who are momentarily or permanently mentally-different from "normal" and are therefore accessable for contact by aliens. Semi-farce is a common element of all three, per discriptions I've seen.
--LAN3 Fri Jul 25 19:22:06 2008
Oh, that's right, I did read Panda Ray. I might call it a YA novel. I only just remembered the time-travelling bathroom.
--LAN3 Fri Jul 25 19:23:15 2008
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