Minds and computers

ABC Radio National’s The Philosopher’s Zone just had an excellent edition on artificial intelligence and whether a computer could ever simulate the mind.

The guest on the show is philosopher Matt Carter, who’s also just written a book on the subject called Minds and Computers (ISBN 0748620990).

For half an hour, the programme is a remarkably comprehensive guide to some of the key issues in the philosophy of artificial intelligence and computational models of mind.

Alan Saunders: Is it an interesting question because we think that perhaps we could develop computers that are like us in some intellectual respect and to whose rights we will perhaps have to give recognition? Or is it because we think that the computational model will tell us something about our own minds?

Matt Carter: It’s an excellent question, and I think the answer is both. There’s a sense in which we really hope to understand our own minds better through this kind of computational understanding, and certainly the computational theory of mind is currently by far the most dominant theory in the philosophy of mind and the culture of sciences broadly. But there are also a number of people working on strong artificial intelligence projects, and the ultimate goal of those projects is to produce man-made artifacts that have minds in precisely the same sense, or some very similar sense, in which we take ourselves to have minds.

Link to Philosopher’s Zone on ‘Minds and Computers’.

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