Synthetic intelligence


Synthetic intelligence

Synthetic intelligence (SI) is an alternative term for artificial intelligence. Harv|Poole|Mackworth|Goebbel|1998|p=1 It emphasizes the belief of many researchers that the intelligence of machines is not an imitation or in any way artificial; it is a genuine form of intelligence. According to this view, the term "artificial intelligence" is an oxymoron; implying that the intelligence is not intelligent. Harvtxt|Haugeland|1986 proposes an analogy with artificial and synthetic diamonds—only the synthetic diamond is truly a diamond.

imulated vs. real thinking

Harvtxt|Russell|Norvig|2003|p=948 present this example:
# "Can machines fly?" This is true, since airplanes fly.
# "Can machines swim?" This is false, because submarines don't swim.
# "Can machines think?" Is this question like the first or like the second?

Drew McDermott firmly believes that "thinking" should construed like "flying". While discussing the electronic chess champion Deep Blue, he argues "Saying Deep Blue doesn't really think about chess is like saying an airplane doesn't really fly because it doesn't flap its wings." Harv|McDermott|1997 Edsger Dijkstra agrees that some find "the question whether machines can think as relevant as the question whether submarines can swim." Harv|Dijkstra|2006

John Searle, on the other hand, suggests that a thinking machine is, at best, a "simulation", and writes "No one supposes that computer simulations of a five-alarm fire will burn the neighborhood down or that a computer simulation of a rainstorm will leave us all drenched." Harv|Searle|1980|p=12 The essential difference between a simulated mind and a real mind is one of the key points of his Chinese room argument.

Daniel Dennett believes that this is basically a disagreement about semantics and that it is peripheral to the central questions of the philosophy of artificial intelligence. He notes that even a chemically perfect imitation of a Chateau Latour is still a fake, but that any Vodka is real, no matter who made it. Harv|Dennett|1978|p=197 Similarly, a perfect, molecule-by-molecule recreation of an original Picasso would be considered a "forgery", but any image of the Coca-Cola logo is completely real and subject to trademark laws. Harvtxt|Russell|Norvig|2003|p=954 comment "we can conclude that in some cases, the behavior of an artifact is important, while in others it is the artifact's pedigree that matters. Which one is important in which case seems to be a matter of convention. But for artificial minds, there is no convention."

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