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Philosophy Week three – Minds and computers


The Mind as a Computer.

The last part of this weeks course discussed the mind as a computer.

The Turing Machine

The Limitation Game 1950 – The Turing test is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of an actual human.

The Turing test has been criticise as being too limited because firstly it relies on language and secondly other things that have minds might not be Human. Recent claims that AI forms have beaten the Turing Test have been quite limited in their tests. A gaming robot and a question and answer machine.

In late September 2012 an ‘Artificially Intelligent Game Robot’  passed The Turing test for the first time ever according to gaming magazines. The gaming bot successfully mimicking the traits of human gamers including irrational grudges and poor aim over long distance. This was reported in in gamingin world publications such as geek.com. Earlier that month gekosystem.com claimed that a robot “Cleverbot” had passed the Turing test.  1334 votes from a Turing test held at theTechniche festival in Guwahati, India were released. They revealed that “Cleverbot”  was voted to be human 59.3% of the time. Real humans did only slightly better and were assumed to be humans 63.3% of the time.

John Searle’s Chinese Room

This theory talks about computers taking in input and responding with output without really needing to know what it means.

Can computers think and learn?

One of the objections to computers having minds is that they cannot originate anything, they can only do what we know how to order them to perform (Lovlace 1842).

This one seems to and even has a sense of humour, programmed of course.

Robots with Artificial intelligence are progressing all the time. They are looking more and more human.

These hospital robots perform the same functions as humans in that they provide comfort for patients.


In week three we considered physicalism compared to Cartesian Dualism. Then we looked at  identity theories and functionalism.  Finally we looked at  minds as computers, information processing machines which operate on the syntactic structures of symbols (The Chinese Room).

Artificial intelligence may seem to be real intelligence. There is no real agreement about what intelligence or the mind is. In all the videos in this post the robots are artificial intelligences they are not conscious, they do not think about thoughts. The science is progressing and I wonder where it will be in another decade. Will computers eventually develop to resemble the human mind?



  1. […] and androids have come a long way but not quite this far yet. See my post on the mind as a computer for video links to the latest AI […]

  2. […] Philosophy Week three – Minds and computers […]

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