General Question

willlane's avatar

Is stong AI possible?

Asked by willlane (8points) October 9th, 2007

What do you think about strong AI, when (if) will it happen, and what are the implications for the human race?

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5 Answers

ryanquattlebaum's avatar

I don’t think it’s possible for a computer to become self-aware. Isn’t that required for strong AI?

TruMobius's avatar

is it self awareness or sentience?

ben's avatar

Potentially, but I think it will take a radically different approach, one that mimics biology and reproduction much more. I don’t think X more CPU power with our current computers will ever achieve strong AI. There’s a brilliant thought experiment by Searle which influenced my thinking on this called the Chinese room. Definitely check it out.

As for the implications, well, there will certainly be some ethical issues, so I think it depends on the policy at the time. I’d see we’re still 100+ years away, so it’s hard to predict anything…

FusionGyro's avatar

It’s worth studying AI partly because it’s very disillusioning. I wrote a Bayesian spam filter for a Mac program (Spamfire). When I was done, I thought it was really cool how quickly the program learned what was spam and what wasn’t. But it’s completely mechanical; it’s just sorting words and doing a little statistics. All AI is ultimately like that: completely mechanical. Seeing the mystery taken out of it was very sobering.

Neural networks get a lot of airtime because they’re modeling the human brain. Imagine trying to emulate a computer by modeling the transistors. I don’t think you’d get very far. Even if you did, you still have the same input/output problem: you have to define inputs and outputs and train the thing. There’s no such thing as undirected learning for a computer. There’s an AI koan about randomly wiring a neural network. Same thing would go for random training. We only have results when we have a defined problem domain and do some directed training. We only have rote, mechanical methods because that’s all a computer can help you do.

In short, strong AI belongs to fiction, not science.

steelmarket's avatar

There was a time when it was thought that we would be able to create life when could put all the necessary chemicals together, warm them up and give the mix a spark. But, life has proven to be much more than just the sum of all the parts. I see the quest for AI as being very similar. What if there is some structure, electrochemical, quantum, both (or neither) which is the DNA of thought? Read Kathleen Ann Goonan’s new novel, “In War Times” (on this topic, plus just a good read).

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