is a philosophy discussion group meeting on the 3rd Tuesday of every month
from 7.30 to 9.30pm
in the The Bull
in Tanners Street. We cover a large range of topics
. If you have an idea for a topic that you would like us to cover why not drop us a line
? There's no charge for membership and everyone is welcome to drop in. Just bring your brain and some beer money!
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a strange topic riddled with criticism, contradictions and controversy and yet has very successfully solved many problems and has become embedded in all areas of life today.
The term was coined in the late 1950s and throughout the 50s and 60s in both science fiction and the media we were being promised a future in which autonomous, human-looking robots would be doing all of our drudge work: building cars and doing our housework. The much-hyped robotic future never came to fruition and so the AI industry has seen long periods in which funding to research projects were cut. On the other hand there have been great successes in the area but researchers complain that whenever an AI solution is implemented successfully it ceases to be called AI: it's just ordinary computing. They call this the AI effect.
How many of us using Google on a daily basis are aware that we are using a very sophisticated AI engine or 'bot' as the nerds like to call them? AI is all around us but once it has become part of our mundane routine it ceases to be magical and we stop calling it AI. A popular adage in the AI community is Tesler's Theorem: "AI is whatever hasn't been done yet".
However, the fundamental philosophical issue in AI is not whether machines can act intelligently, that has been demonstrated beyond doubt, but whether they can be conscious. And if we conclude they can be conscious how does that affect our view of ourselves as autonomous, self-conscious agents? Is AI a threat to our sense of Humanity?
Graham Warner brings out this distinction in his excellent essay, 'Artificial Intelligence, Artificial minds, Artificial Consciousness?' which will form the basis of our discussion and is a MUST READ!
Come along and explore AI at the Stoa (it will be a multi-media presentation as befits the topic) but leave your robots at home. They might feel a little embarrassed by the discussion!
Some on-line stuff on AI
- Artificial Intelligence, Artificial minds, Artificial Consciousness?
- Graham Warner's introductory essay on AI which covers just about all the philosophical issues around the topic. A MUST READ!
- Non Serviam
- This is a science fiction short story by Stanlislav Lem which explores the idea of a computer simulated environment in which a community of artificial intelligences evolve. It's very clever and thought provoking and has theological implications too!
Alan Turing and the Origins of AI
AI Programming Languages
Early AI Programs
Is Strong AI Possible
Strong AI, Applied AI, and CS
The CYC Project
Top-Down AI vs Bottom-Up AI
Theories of mind and intelligence
The Computational Theory of Mind (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy )
- Is the brain just a computer and thinking a form of computation?
Gerard O'Brien On the Computational Theory of Mind
- Rationally Speaking Podcast 95
What is intelligence
- The difficulty with deciding whether machines can think is establishing what intelligence is in the first place. If it's just problem-solving then obviously machines can think but whether machines are conscious and have an inner life is another question altogether.
The intuitional problem of consciousness
The Turing Test
Computing Machinery and Intelligence (pdf)
- The original 1950 paper in which Alan Turing details the famous 'Turing Test'
The trouble with the Turing Test
The Turing Test does not matter
The Turing Test (audio)
- Rationally Speaking Podcast 113
John Searle&mdashThe Chinese Room and beyond
The Chinese Room Objection
- Minds, Brains and Programs
- Searle's original paper about the Chinese Room
- Critique of Cognitive Reason
- Later arguments in John Searle's paper. The, the best summary of Searle later arguments against computionalism.
- The Chinese Room thought experiment
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- An annotated Searle bibliography
- Contains as many references as you are ever likely to want about Searle on AI
- The Myth of the Computer
- by Denial Dennett—Reply by John Searle
Nick Bostrom's Simulation Argument
- Nick Bostrom's Simulation Argument
- Philosophy BitesPodcast on the Simulation Argument
- Nick Bostrom on Superintelligences
Fear and suspicion of Computer AI
- The Uncanny Valley (Wikipedia)
- The Uncanny Valley
- Take the Turing Test yourself
- Chat on-line and find out if what you are talking to is a person or a (ro)bot.
- What's a chatbot?
- A chatbot (aka. chat bot, chatter robot, chatterbot, Artificial Conversational Entity, talk bot or chatterbox) is a computer program designed to simulate an intelligent conversation with one or more human users via voice or text, primarily for engaging in small talk. The aim of such simulation is normally to fool the user into thinking that the program's output has been produced by a human.
- A version of Weizenbaum's original chatbot, Eliza
- ELIZA emulates a Rogerian psychotherapist. Try discussing your problems with her.
- Try chatting with this on-line girl. She'll drive you mad!
- A.L.I.C.E Artificial Intelligence Foundation
- Another virtual girl you can talk to if you are lonely, but don't expect that she will stick to the subject.
- John Humphrys of the 'Today' programme grills the robot that 'passed' the Turing test
- A computer that allegedly duped humans into thinking it is a 13-year-old boy is put to the test by BBC presenter John Humphrys... leaving the seasoned interviewer distinctly unimpressed.
- Did Eugene Goostman (a chatbot) really pass the Turing Test?
- Eugene Goostman is a smart-ass teenager, living in Ukraine and currently conducting conversations with inquisitive souls around the world. There's only one problem: Eugene is not a boy, he's a program. And he---or it---made headlines when a new version of the chat bot finally passed a version of the Turing Test
- Script of the play RUR (pdf)
- The word robot comes from the Czech for 'slave' and was first coined in 1920 in the play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) by Karel Čapek
- ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot
- ASIMO falls down stairs
- One of the most difficult engineering problems for robotics is getting a humanoid robot to walk upstairs. Showing ASIMO performing this operation is therefore always part of Honda's demonstration. In this clip he falls down the stairs. Notice how an attendant quickly wheels a screen around him to preserve his privacy just as if he were a real person who has suffered an injury!