• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Can a machine know?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Theory of Knowledge Essay: Essay Question: Can a machine know? To fully appreciate a concept or to know a person must apply different methods to acquire knowledge. A machine can never truly know. Machines just merely recreate what humans tell them to do. They cannot apply the methods that humans use to acquire knowledge. There are many ways of acquiring information; however I will illustrate 6 main methods; Empiricism, perception, Intuition, language, past experience, and thought are essential in the art of knowing. However, before I allude to my main argument I firstly want to discuss the main limitations that computers possess. Machines are not human and thus they cannot possess the ability to act like humans. Machines are pre-programmed and react in a particular way in a particular circumstance. However, machines can think and only can reach knowledge that has already been proven. An example of this is a designing program called Aaron created by Harold Cohen in 2001. He has given the program a knowledge base full of information about how people look and how their bodies move. The program also understands composition, brushwork and how to paint. However it is also obvious that computers will never obtain the human attributes of creativity from inspiration or observation as they don't have minds. ...read more.

Middle

For instance, when I looked at a coin from a certain angle, it seemed to have an elliptical shape. However, my mother doesn't see an elliptical shape but a round shape. Thus, our perceptions of the coin were different due to our senses acting differently. On the other hand, a machine is unable to achieve knowledge through perception and the use of the senses. Both cannot be translated into a numerical equivalent for the computer to recognise. However, the problem with empiricism is that it includes experience as well as sense perception. Knowledge of the physical world is considered a generalisation and can never reach more than a high degree of probability. Yet another method of ascertaining information is through language. Natural language use is determined by context and experience. A natural language can be understood in a variety of ways on the basis of the information it contains. Language owes some of its fundamental properties to the fact that it is used to express, store and convey information. Machines on the other hand understand information not by the use of language but by binary codes. As such, the computer translates information into binary in order for it to understand the information given by a human. Therefore, a computer would not understand slang, vague or socially unaccepted words. ...read more.

Conclusion

In this case, you would not have to know John Tom or Mary or know whether they exist or not to know if the proposition is true. All that is needed to solve this problem is the understanding of the concepts involved. This would include someone being taller than someone else. Thus, No particular experience is needed for the claim to be solved. However, a computer would not be able to solve this problem as they would only look at this knowledge from a language perspective. They would just be able to read the words on the page, or for others that are programmed, a mathematical way to solving the problem. However, due to us humans seeing these types of questions from our past experiences, and our ability to relate to vague language a lot easier, we can solve the problem much more quickly than computers as the answer comes intuitively. As we can see machines need to know the ways in which humans acquire knowledge in order to 'know'. Machines have the ability to learn an abundance of facts and information, however this doesn't constitute to knowing. Knowing something stems a lot further than just information. Machines cannot have the same awareness, observatory skills, thoughts or experiences that humans have. As such their knowledge is limited to specific subjects whereas humans can learn new and different types of knowledge everyday. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. Can we know something that has not yet been proven true?

    Unlike History, scientific facts can be proven right or wrong. For example scientists can make predictions about certain things, which might then be contradicted when controlled experiments are conducted.11 History on the other hand is not as easy to prove or disprove.

  2. In what sense, if any, can a machine be said to know something? How ...

    The Greek physician Galen definitively proved Aristotle wrong in a series of experiments on sheep brains by demonstrating that injury to the brain affected sensory perception and cognition. Without definite proof from Galen, people may have continued to believe that the heart was the center of all intellectual activity.

  1. When should we discard explanations that are intuitively appealing?

    The eye witness, in their state of fear at the gas station, may have failed to notice a crucial facial or physical feature, or even may have added one that did not exist. Often, when my sister and I reminisce about the past, we have differing accounts of what occurred and what was said.

  2. Seeing James the Red Engine cry, prompted me to ask whether a machine could ...

    Descartes attempted to prove the dualist theory that mind and body are separate, he believed he could "feign" that his body did not exist, but he was unable to do the same when thinking about his mind. He therefore concluded that mind and body are not the same thing.

  1. Can a machine know

    for school reasons and it took me several attempts to get my computer to do what I commanded it to do.

  2. Can a machine know?

    When we answer the question about whether a machine can know or not, we have to discuss the difference between "to know" and "to think". Indeed, thinking involves a judgment, it exercises the mind in order to make inferences, decisions, or arrive at a solution.

  1. TOK summer assignment - Art Questions. Experiencing art, artists reputations and "what is ...

    The sizes of the paintings varied quite a bit while going through the rooms. However, I noticed a trend in the sizes of the paintings from room 102 to 112. In the earlier rooms, the size was varied usually ranging from smaller to medium sized paintings.

  2. Can a Machine Know? TOK essay.

    imply intelligence; the machine does not need to be able to reason or be intelligent in order to know something. I have been writing computer programmes since I was very young, and the earliest programmes I wrote were simple mathematical algorithms to add or subtract a number to another number, like a simple calculator.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work