chinese room experiment

Topics: Artificial intelligence, Chinese room, Philosophy of mind Pages: 4 (1177 words) Published: April 23, 2014
Kulacic 1 of 5
Kimi Kulacic
Philosophy 1000
Professor Sievert

“Do Machines Have Minds?”

The reliance of technology by the modern day human is astonishing. In fact it is so widely accepted that people who live a life without technology are considered outcasts of society. Modern day advances in technology are momentous. We now have access to a wide array of information with a simple click of a button. We use technology every hour of every day. Smart phones and computers have capabilities that have never been seen before. You can communicate with friends from all over the world instantly. You can open your smart phone ask it a question and receive a response in seconds. But how can this be possible? How can a device seemingly so small and simple have these incredible response capabilities.

A controversial issue is whether or not computer programs have actual minds of their own or if they are just programmed to give the appropriate responses. John Searle a famous philosopher designed a thought example to test the human mind comparing it to a programmed computer. The thought experiment placed an English speaker with no knowledge of Chinese written symbols or Chinese Kulacic 2 of 5

language in a locked room. The English speaker is given a “batch” of Chinese writing. The English speaker is then given a “script” of with a set of rules in English that enables him to correlate the first “batch” of Chinese writing with a second “batch” of Chinese writing. The English speaker responds to the Chinese speaker using the set of rules he is given. He does this in such a way that the Chinese speaker believes that he could understand their conversation. Although the English speaker does not understand the conversation he is engaging in he can still respond as if it was an actual conversation. Searle relates this to a computer program. He says similarly if a computer was programed to give specific responses to specific information it would seem that the...
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