From time to time, mainstream newspapers, like The Wall Street Journal, publish articles about artificial intelligence (it was more frequent when the Spielberg movie was released last year).
This story focuses on the works by two professors from the University of California at Berkeley, Hubert Dreyfus and John Searle. Interestingly, they are both from the university's philosophy department.
Here are some quotes.
Prof. Searle picked up where Prof. Dreyfus left off, arguing that even if you could build a machine as smart as HAL, it still wouldn't have what humans call "consciousness." Consciousness is a specific biological product of the brain, he said; a computer program simulating the brain would no more be able to be conscious than a program simulating digestion would be able to eat a pizza.
These days, it's getting harder to find anyone in cognitive sciences who still believes computers are useful models for intelligence, consciousness and the like. Instead, most people in the field spend their time studying actual brains: scanning 'em, slicing 'em, dicing 'em. It's essentially the Dreyfus-Searle research agenda: To understand the mind, forget about computers and look at the gray stuff inside our heads.
Still, the idea persists that the brain works like a computer, and vice versa, in part for the same reason people once thought the sun moved around the earth: because it sure seems that way to the casual, uninformed observer.
Source: Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, June 10, 2002 (Paid registration required)
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