Can Computers Think?












A computer is (in principle) a Turing machine, that is a device that manipulates symbols on a strip of tape according to a table of rules.

A computer would pass the Turing test of  its output cannot be distinguished from the output of a human being, and  would then show Strong Artificial Intelligence (Strong AI).

Would a computer passing the Turing test have something like the human mind? Some would say yes, other would say no. What are the arguments?

John Searle states in Minds, Brains and Science that a computer program is syntactical but not semantical, since the symbols the computer is manipulating have no meaning themselves beyond the rules they obey.

On the other hand, for a human mind the symbols have a meaning ultimately resulting from bodily sensations from the world outside the mind.

Steven Pinker states in How the Mind Works that

  • the mind is a system of organs of computation, 
  • the mind is what the brain does,
  • the brain processes information
  • thinking is a kind of computation.

What is the difference between Searle and Pinker?

Is Searle’s brain necessarily connected to a body, while Pinker’s does not have to be?

What do you think?

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