Turing, Searle, and Artificial Intelligence Essay

Turing, Searle, and Artificial Intelligence Essay

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The conditions of the present scenario are as follows: a machine, Siri*, capable of passing the Turing test, is being insulted by a 10 year old boy, whose mother is questioning the appropriateness of punishing him for his behavior. We cannot answer the mother's question without speculating as to what A.M. Turing and John Searle, two 20th century philosophers whose views on artificial intelligence are starkly contrasting, would say about this predicament. Furthermore, we must provide fair and balanced consideration for both theorists’ viewpoints because, ultimately, neither side can be “correct” in this scenario. But before we compare hypothetical opinions, we must establish operant definitions for all parties involved. The characters in this scenario are the mother, referred to as Amy; the 10 year old boy, referred to as the Son; Turing and Searle; and Siri*, a machine that will be referred to as an “it,” to avoid an unintentional bias in favor of or against personhood. Now, to formulate plausible opinions that could emerge from Turing and Searle, we simply need to remember what tenants found their respective schools of thought and apply them logically to the given conditions of this scenario.
Part A: From Turing
It is best to begin with Turing’s hypothetical opinion, considering Searle’s will later require an additional consideration (in response to Part C of this scenario). Based on Turing’s argument for the possibility of artificial intelligence, Siri* would be considered a “thinking, intelligent being” because Turing’s definition of a “thinking, intelligent being” is a being that has the ability to use and understand language. This is measured by a successful passing of the Turing test, also known as the Imitation Game, in w...

... middle of paper ...

...ctively resolves our scenario and answers Amy's question.
Given this new judging criterion, Turing’s answer is ultimately correct, and Amy should punish her Son because Siri* is a "thinking, intelligent being." Because Siri* would possess a physical, human brain, Searle could not refute its personhood since his own requirements for personhood have been satisfied by our criteria. However, if Siri* is recognized as a "thinking, intelligent being," it brings into question what exactly is a “person.” Indeed, Amy should punish her Son not simply because Siri* is a "thinking, intelligent being," but because Siri* has a physical, human brain and could very well be a human in "her" own right.

Works Cited
Searle, John R. "Minds, Brains, and Programs." N.p., 1980. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
Turing, A. M. "Computing Machinery and Intelligence." N.p., 1950. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.

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