Is artificial intelligence possible?

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In the science fiction film, The Terminator directed by James Cameron, the computers in the movie “get smart” and rise up against their human masters. In other words, the computers in the movie were able to become independent of their programmers and developed a kind of artificial intelligence (A.I.). This essay will prove that in real life, computers will never realize artificial intelligence, and also even though functionalism is based on an analogy between humans and computers, it is an effective way to describe the interaction between the mind and body. Two essays will be evaluated in this essay.  The first essay was called; “Can Computers Think?” by John Searle which rejects the theory of A.I. The second essay was called; “Escaping from the Chinese Room” by Margret Boden, which supports A.I.

A functionalist view of the mind is one that draws an analogy between the functioning of the human brain and the functioning of the digital computer. The strongest view says that the mind and the brain are just digital computers. This is called strong A.I., which is a term coined by John Searle.

American Hilary Putnam was one of the first to make the analogy between the brain and the computer Putnam said it made no more sense to compare the mind and the brain then to compare the software with the hardware of a computer. He also made the point that psychologists were like programmers and electrical engineers were like physicians. Putnam also made the point not to take the analogy too far. There are important differences between computers and humans. One of the differences Putnam felt was that “…all humans were able to learn from their experience and so change their own program but few computers could do that unaided” Hilary Putnam also argued against identifying psychological events with neurophysiologic events, and even against the attempt to do so. He felt mapping the brain to the mind was a waste of time.

Jerry Fodor was another well known functionalist. Fodor, like Putnam felt that functionalism alleviated many of the problems associated with other mind body theories. These other mind body theories included Cartesian Dualism, materialism, behaviorism and the identity theory. Cartesian Dualism is the theory that that the mind and the brain are two separate things. The main problem with this theory is how is the spiritual “stuff” of the mind able to interact with the body? The functionalist theory deflated the importance of the interaction; the mind of the program interacts at one constant level with the brain. Fodor explained the relationship between the mind and the body as a: “subtle dualism of absent function (software) and its realization (hardware)”.

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Functionalism is also much less rigid a theory when compared to behaviorism. Behaviorism is the theory that all states of mind could be explained by observing a persons behavior, and that a person’s mind is just a bunch of psychological dispositions. The problem with behaviorism is demonstrated by Rodin’s Le Penseur. The problem was, if there was no behavior then the mental states could not be described.

Materialism is defined by William Lyons as a view that “…everything mental is totally inside the head”. Materialism is similar to functionalism although, materialism says nothing about the relationship between ...

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