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Just cause it goes quack don’t mean its a duck

August 27, 2007

One of these days I am going to find out why some people want to argue in the face of the evidence that computers can become intelligent/creative in the same way as humans. Mind Hacks picked up on an article by Dennett on chess playing computers as compared with protein machines (thats us humans by the way, on a par with calling books linear based print media if you ask me). The argument goes that some people argued that humans were more intelligent than computers because they could beat them at chess. Now we can’t any more so lets call a duck a duck if it quacks and admit that computers are as intelligent as us (or will be soon).

Of course the way you do this is to reduce humans to protein machines, i.e. you deny the value of intentionality, intuition, bluffing and the like. Mind you Dennett gangs up with Dawkins against Gould so I will admit a prejudice against the pair of them (I like Gould). Both want to reduce what it means to be human. Incidentally you can tell Dawkins has become a cult, you can now wear the T-shirt and proudly proclaim your atheism (I quote) and if that wasn’t enough he is also selling bumper stickers! Next he will be on day time television asking us to send in money in return for a tape of his speech to support the mission ……

When a computer can invent a game like chess, I might just concede a point, but any constrained system can be computed. Its when you see old computers sitting in parks playing chess in a social setting as a retirement hobby that we should get worried. Of course by then they will also invent a religion ….

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