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Meme Central Books Level 3 Resources Richard Brodie Virus of the Mind What’s New? Site Map Level 3 of Consciousness You are reading about something that most people don’t even know exists. If you told them, they wouldn’t just not believe you—they would have no clue what you were talking about.
First published Fri Mar 19, 2004; substantive revision Tue Sep 22, 2009 The Chinese Room argument, devised by John Searle, is an argument against the possibility of true artificial intelligence. The argument centers on a thought experiment in which someone who knows only English sits alone in a room following English instructions for manipulating strings of Chinese characters, such that to those outside the room it appears as if someone in the room understands Chinese. The argument is intended to show that while suitably programmed computers may appear to converse in natural language, they are not capable of understanding language, even in principle. Searle argues that the thought experiment underscores the fact that computers merely use syntactic rules to manipulate symbol strings, but have no understanding of meaning or semantics.
First published Wed Apr 9, 2003; substantive revision Wed Jan 26, 2011 The phrase “The Turing Test” is most properly used to refer to a proposal made by Turing (1950) as a way of dealing with the question whether machines can think. According to Turing, the question whether machines can think is itself “too meaningless” to deserve discussion (442). However, if we consider the more precise—and somehow related—question whether a digital computer can do well in a certain kind of game that Turing describes (“The Imitation Game”), then—at least in Turing's eyes—we do have a question that admits of precise discussion. Moreover, as we shall see, Turing himself thought that it would not be too long before we did have digital computers that could “do well” in the Imitation Game. The phrase “The Turing Test” is sometimes used more generally to refer to some kinds of behavioural tests for the presence of mind, or thought, or intelligence in putatively minded entities.