Weak Artificial Intelligence

The weak artificial intelligence theory states that machines can act as if they were intelligent. This theory becomes complicated because one must first decide, "What is intelligence?" Philosophy has spent a great deal of time discussing this and the traditional AI logic holds that intelligence, no matter how we define it, resides somewhere or there would be no point in trying to put it into a program. (Price 1999)

A philosopher named Turing proposed that instead of defining intelligence and asking if machines can think, we should ask if they could pass a behavioral test. Turing proposed that if a computer could converse with an interrogator and essentially fool the person into thinking that it was conversing with a human and not a computer that the machine was intelligent. There are several different views within the scientific community regarding the utility of the Turing Test. While some have argued that the Turing test is the benchmark test for Strong AI, other have stated that the Turing test can be "fooled" by correct behaviors generated for the wrong reasons. (Turing)

Martin Fischer and Oscar Firschein describe three philosophical theories that they entitle "existence theories." The first theory states that intelligence is a nonphysical property of living organisms, and it cannot be re-created by machines. Obviously, if one buys into this theory, the theory of weak artificial intelligence can be easily dismissed. This theory is believed to be an offshoot of dualism, or the idea that the mind and body are two distinct entities. The mind may be viewed as human consciousness and awareness in this theory and intelligence is tied to spirituality.

The next theory states that intelligence is an emergent property of organic matter. This theory further elaborates that is long as machines are made out of silicon or inorganic matter they will never being intelligent. This theory does postulate that if machines could be made out of organic materials then they would stand a chance at being considered intelligent. This theory presents some interesting arguments as scientists are currently representing neurons in computer systems. Molecular biologists have, in fact, begun to use DNA molecules to attempt to solve complex computational problems.

The last theory proposed by Fischer and Firschein allows for the most leeway. It states that intelligence is a functional property of formal systems and is completely independent of formal embodiment. This viewpoint in particular is of the most interest to computer scientists. (AIEvolution)

Big Blue, the computer designed to play chess by IBM, is brought up in many discussions Chess is certainly a game that requires a great deal of thought and planning. Before each move Deep Blue had to analyze the chessboard, start with a list of possible moves, and then start taking away moves until the best one is left. While many people accept this sequence of events as "intelligent", others have stated that Big Blue is simply mimicking intelligence. Some have gone so far as to label the critics of Big Blue’s intelligence as Narcissist, with comparisons to human reactions when Copernicus postulated that humans were not at the center of the universe or reactions to Darwin’s theory of evolution that we all evolved from a protozoan like ancestor. The case of Big Blue serves as an excellent example of all the issues that comes up when discussing perceived intelligence of computers(Generation 5).

When we extend Weak AI theory to how AI is portrayed in the media, we will find that by just about all accounts machines are intelligent by just about any definition.

Sources Cited:

Turing Test. http://matrix-psych/ualbeta.ca/mike/Pearl_Street/Old Dictionary/T/turing_test.html

AIEvolution: http://www.teklearning.com/ai_evo.htm

Generation 5. http://library.thinkquest.org/18242/ai_phil.shtml

This project was produced for PSY 380, Social Psychology of Cyberspace, Spring 2000,  at Miami University. All graphics in these pages are used with permission or under fair use guidelines, are in the public domain,  or were created by the authors.  Last revised:  Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 17:34:09.  This document has been accessed  1  times since 1 May 2000.  Comments & Questions to R. Sherman