Can Computers Think?

This is a discussion on Can Computers Think? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; >> It is more a test of humaness Very true, but if we consider humans to be intelligent (which is ...

  1. #16
    Toaster Zach L.'s Avatar
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    >> It is more a test of humaness

    Very true, but if we consider humans to be intelligent (which is debatable), then it makes sense (to me at least) that something that passes for a human could also be intelligent. Granted, this is only a small subset of things considered intelligent, but it is the most easily definable one.

    The 'quantum mechanical magic' doesn't really make sense as an argument (which I know is what you're saying). Things on the quantum level do not (apparently) follow causal laws, but rather random probability. On large scales, however, the 'laws' are approximately causal (close enough for government work, so to speak), but those quantum laws apply to everything, not just humans.
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  2. #17
    Code Monkey Davros's Avatar
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    >Hmm... That is a rather big problem

    I've got a feeling that the answer is blindingly simple, but a paradigm shift is needed to see it.
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  3. #18
    Toaster Zach L.'s Avatar
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    A lot of problems arise if you require things to be defined. In the case of language, every definition must necessarily be circular because only a finite number of symbols exist. Some things (axioms if you will) must just be implicitly understood, and that I think is where the problem lies.
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  4. #19
    Code Monkey Davros's Avatar
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    Hi Zach,

    >then it makes sense (to me at least) that something that passes for a human could also be intelligent

    But my point is what about things which can't pass as human? Or are we to define intelligence as a property belonging to humans only?
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  5. #20
    Code Monkey Davros's Avatar
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    >Hah, that sounds like it's directly taken from the speak program!

    Does the speak program mean alot to you?*

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  6. #21
    Toaster Zach L.'s Avatar
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    >> But my point is what about things which can't pass as human? Or are we to define intelligence as a property belonging to humans only?

    And a good point indeed. I can't say I really have any decent answer to that.

    If thinking merely implies the ability to use logic at a certain level, then I'd have to say yes. If it require other, less definable qualities, then I don't think that an objective answer can ever be reached.
    The word rap as it applies to music is the result of a peculiar phonological rule which has stripped the word of its initial voiceless velar stop.

  7. #22
    Code Monkey Davros's Avatar
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    One last point on whether computers can only do what they are explicitly programmed to do. I want to show you something, if you are not familiar with this:

    Look at the equation: x <-> x*3.57(1 - x)

    The <-> means we are going to iterate this equation, will show you, just treat it as equals.

    If we choose an initial start value for x between 0 and 1, say 0.2, and work it out:

    x = 0.2 * 3.57 * (1 - 0.2) = 0.5712

    now we plug 0.5712 back into the equation and calculate a new value:

    x = 0.5712 * 3.57 * (1 - 0.5712) = 0874402099

    we can keep doing this, and it will give us an endless stream of random looking numbers.

    So what's my point? Where are all these numbers coming from? We could program the equation, but have programmed the numbers? And there is no short-cut way to determine what the 100th iteration value is going to be, without going through all the iterations before hand. So we don't know what the answer is going to be before hand, so how can we programmed it?

    Another property of this equation, is that it is 'chaotic'. If we start with an initial value of 0.199999, instead of 0.2, after a number of iterations, we will get wildly different numbers to the original. So small rounding errors are also going have a serious impact on the results.

    If you still think we have programmed this, try using complex numbers for x. Because 'complex' numbers have two components, we could actually plot this on an x-y graph. Have a look at what it looks like (I'm a bit rusty on this & not sure the plot represents the same equation, but there are lots of simple equations which yield plots similar to this and point is the same.)

    http://www.olympus.net/personal/dewey/Deepv.png

    http://www.olympus.net/personal/dewey/mandelbrot.html

    Where has this come this thing come from? Have we programmed this or was it there all along?

    I guess my final argument is that I think the propensity for complex behaviour and the formation of complex structures (i.e. brains) is built into the fabric and laws of the universe. Try looking at primes! If it can be revealed with just numbers, then in principle at least, there is no reason why a computer cannot display complex thinking-like behaviour. It need not be programmed explicitly, it's behaviour will just emerge.

    Am I makeing sense, or have I just bored you all?
    Last edited by Davros; 06-29-2003 at 10:16 AM.

  8. #23
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    what if you had a computer capable of taking college courses, making friends and doing everything us, humans, do on a daily basis. is this machine thinking?

    ...and i guess thinking is a property of being intelligent! someone or something that can make decisions on their own.

    but then are they really aware of their existance? probably not!
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  9. #24
    Rad gcn_zelda's Avatar
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    >> define think
    dictionary.com-
    To exercise the power of reason, as by conceiving ideas, drawing inferences, and using judgment.

    This is obviously not a proper definition, because you can't properly define think, but whatever.

    >>but then are they really aware of their existance? probably not!

    I agree. Knowledge of existence is a property of intelligence.

  10. #25
    Its not rocket science vasanth's Avatar
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    i think that true AI is not going to be possible in the near fuuture with our conventional tools and present technology.... May be in another 1000 or 2000 years we might have completely new technologies and we would have explored biology in depth and also in the fields of quantum computing etc etc.. that true AI may be possible... But thats a distant ("Possibility")...


    I always wich that i was born a thousand years later... I could have seen better technology and the fate of mankind.. But then the egyptian must also have though the same.. and the humans of the future may also think the same....


    I remember my dad say that when he told his grand pa that man had landed on the moon he never believed it.. so we at present with present technology in mind and thinking about the present may not think about true AI.. even if we do may be in todays sense...

    When we think of the future of the human race i think we might start migrating to other parts of the universe (no laughing here please... this i asuem in terms of thousands of years from now..)... because ultimately the entire human race might end when the sun feels that it had its day...


    So we are the unlucky/lucky ones to be born in this part of the century...

  11. #26
    The Earth is not flat. Clyde's Avatar
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    There seem to me to be two separate issues here;

    Can computers feasably solve problems in a human-esque way?

    and

    Can computers ever experience reality in a subjective sense?

    Since we can already approximate certain areas of human problem solving with programs and there seems to be no barrier to prevent future expansion of AI algorithms the answer to the first question seems me an unassailable yes.

    The second question is where the debate rages: can you create a conscious computer?

    I think so. If we discount Decarte's dualistic model of the conscious mind we are forced to accept that consciousness and all its trappings are derived from the interactions of a physical system.

    The brain in all its glory simply consists of 'electrical' and chemical inputs and outputs.
    Last edited by Clyde; 06-29-2003 at 11:53 AM.

  12. #27
    The Earth is not flat. Clyde's Avatar
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    think that true AI is not going to be possible in the near fuuture with our conventional tools and present technology.... May be in another 1000 or 2000 years we might have completely new technologies and we would have explored biology in depth and also in the fields of quantum computing etc etc.. that true AI may be possible... But thats a distant ("Possibility")...
    I think you underestimate the rate of scientific and technological advancement.

  13. #28
    Its not rocket science vasanth's Avatar
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    though technology increments at the rate of a geometric progression(GP).. I think true AI where there is no difference between a human and a robonoid /humonoid/computer (if you can call it so).. may take another 500 to 1000 years.. Hope i am wrong..(i want to see it in my life time).

  14. #29
    Registered User Commander's Avatar
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    Originally posted by vasanth though technology increments at the rate of a geometric progression(GP).. I think true AI where there is no difference between a human and a robonoid /humonoid/computer (if you can call it so).. may take another 500 to 1000 years.. Hope i am wrong..(i want to see it in my life time).
    there is no way it would take that long..i mean look @ it, mendel(sp?) discoverd the heritence thing a few hundred years ago...and by now we cloned animals (possibly humans as well) have the whole map of the human DNA and research in the biotech field is moving VERY fast...scientists figured out the SARS virus in a matter of weeks. so it's very doubtful that figuring out the human brain anatomy and how we think is gonna take that long if researchers really work on it.....

    ....but then again, u never know, cancer and AIDS are still here

    but likewise i too would like 2 c it in my lifetime, and i'm very optimistic about that

    as for if computers can think, it better can because i have no other explanations for the things it does in the most inappropriate of times!
    oh i'm sorry! i didn;t realize my fist was rushing to meet ur face!

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