The Chinese Room Argument

Decent Essays
While proponents of strong AI believe that machines are capable of imitating human consciousness so well that it might be perceived as actually obtaining consciousness, others such as John Searle believe otherwise. Another logical stance on the question is accepting that machines are able to behave as though it has a conscious mind physically, but also arguing that machines will never be able to possess this consciousness as though a human would. This second type of viewpoint is considered Weak Artificial Intelligence, otherwise known as narrow artificial intelligence. Weak AI is acknowledging that machines can simulate consciousness computationally, but that is different from actually obtaining consciousness.
One of the most widely known
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Searle believed that simply manipulating symbols will not ensure computers are able to think or understand, in other words, knowing syntax does not mean understanding the semantics, and function does not mean understanding.
There are of course many criticisms of Searle’s Chinese Room Argument, the main ones include the Systems Reply, the Robot Reply, the Brain Simulator Reply, the Other Minds Reply, and the Intuition Reply.
In Searle’s Chinese Room Argument, the person inside the room is defined as not able to understand Chinese. But in response to that, the Systems Reply brings up the point that while the person might not know any Chinese, the system as a whole understands Chinese. The Virtual Mind Reply is similar to the Systems Reply in that the person inside the room might not understand Chinese by him or herself. But Virtual Mind Reply questions whether understanding is created or not. While the person in the room might not have any knowledge of Chinese at the beginning, running the system might create an agent that does have understanding of Chinese. The Robot Reply, while accepting that the person in the room might not understand Chinese or the computer in the room does not understand a particular language, suggests that “giving a computer a body” would mean something different for the computer. Being able to interact with the environment using sensors might enable the computer to learn. The Brain Simulator Reply suggests to consider the program being
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