Minds and Machines

I did this activity for philosophy but I think that the thought it inspires is worth sharing with you guys. Let me know what you think!

Here are some of my thoughts on the following questions.

– Are computers intelligent?
I do not think computers are intelligent. To me intelligence includes creativity and original thought. A computer may know knowledge, be able to complete all sorts of tasks, and maybe even learn, but are limited to the skills and knowledge they are given by humans. As computers are not able to produce original thought I do not feel they are intelligent.

– Can or will computers/machines have feelings, make moral choices, feel pain, think, generate original thoughts, be self-aware, have an imagination, love and hate, live, learn, grow, develop, and be unique?
While computers have been proven to be able to essentially learn and develop this is only through human programming. Machines in my opinion will never be capable of genuine emotion, imagination, or original thought. These processes are unique to organic beings. I believe that these processes are not only influenced by the structure of our brains but also with an unidentified human factor innate to our being. Whether this factor is the human “soul” or something even more mysterious I do not believe it can be emulated with synthetics.

– How are persons distinguished from things?
As people we are distinguished from things by our unique organic composition and our ability to produce original thought. One of the most important qualities we possess over machines is free will. This free will cannot be reproduced with synthetics it is our essence. Free will makes us individuals, it inspires our thoughts, and drives our actions. Personhood is reached when a being realizes it is special, it is an individual, and that it has the tool of thought in it’s hands. Thinghood on the other hand is defined by the lack of qualities that define personhood. A machine is incapable of realizing a sense of personhood as it can not have these realizations.

– Who or what should be included in the community of persons?
The only things that should be included in a community of persons are beings that display all three qualities of original thought, emotion, and free will. As such the only beings that should be included as of now is humans. Machines and even animals have not achieved these key qualities. As of now we should be the only members of our collective community. As persons its is important for us to decide the what and who shall be included in our community. It is also our duty to include other beings into our community should our three qualities ever be met.

– What is the connection between a thought and the physical event
in the tissue inside your head?
There is connection to thinking/feeling things with actual physical events inside the brain. Activity that is electrical or chemical is often the catalyst for our thoughts. Although this process is physical and could probably be emulated one day I don’t ever think it could be reproduced organically within a machine. The two synthetic and organic elements just wouldn’t jive. I also still think that the physical process is only one part of the thought process.

– What is consciousness?
In my mind consciousness can be viewed as that inexplicable human factor. Consciousness is having a state of mind that includes the key qualities that make up a person. This belief leads me to believe that while certain aspects of this phenomena can scientifically studied such as personality there will never be a science to it’s origin. The purpose of this phenomena is to make humans human and make unique as individuals.

– Can humans be created by machines from existing genetic material?
I suppose that because of the strives already made in the field of genetics and stem cell research that one day humans could be produced by machines given certain conditions. Already animals are able to be grown from a single cell and human body parts can be grown! I suppose that once the science evolves enough a human could be grown from a cell so long as that all the correct genetic info necessary is available. Machines would also need to be programmed by humans to complete this task. Whether the result of the process would be a unique human or just a clone I do not know.


5 thoughts on “Minds and Machines

  1. I think computers can actually be considered intelligent. I understand your point of view, but in saying that, computers have basically taken over the world. It seems like theres nothing that computers can’t do anymore. I think for that reason alone, they have to be considered intelligent.

    • For me the word intelligence implies the involvement of genuine original thought something that machines are not yet capable of. For me the deciding factor is that they are programmed they do not generate original ideas.

  2. What exactly does ‘original’ thought mean…99.99% of what most people think is ‘original’ has been done many, many, many times before…


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