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The Chinese Room Thought Experiment
The Chinese Room Thought Experiment
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Old 7th September 2010, 09:07 PM   #11
Andrew Eckhardt is offline Andrew Eckhardt  United States
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Originally Posted by panomaniac View Post
I don't get it. If the answers make sense, and are even "insightful" then obviously the person wrote the big book of instructions understood.
If I read the setup correctly, not only understood the story in Chinese writing but also the thing (person(s)?) that generated the questions about it and those who would evaluate the answers.

Either that or the instructions were brilliantly designed after a functional theory of everything, or at least how to usefully/properly arrange Chinese letters for any purpose whatsoever.

Thadman, people don't usually devise thought experiments just for fun. What was the original point of this question?

Last edited by Andrew Eckhardt; 7th September 2010 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 7th September 2010, 09:28 PM   #12
pedroskova is offline pedroskova
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Old 7th September 2010, 09:36 PM   #13
Cal Weldon is offline Cal Weldon  Canada
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The Chinese Room Thought Experiment
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Old 7th September 2010, 09:39 PM   #14
Moondog55 is offline Moondog55  Australia
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I believe it was a question on the nature of intelligence and whether machines
( read computers ) would ; when sufficiently powerful; be considered to be intelligent.
I think there were also questions raised at the time about computer sentience once sapience was raised to a sufficiently high level
QUOTE" The more I know, the more I know, I know (insert maniacal laugh >here<) NOTHING"
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Old 8th September 2010, 01:16 AM   #15
Ed LaFontaine is offline Ed LaFontaine  United States
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Are the machines smart or what?

Faith in GPS sends Mercedes downstream -- Engadget

Which one was NOT smart, the machine or the operator? Where did the lack of understanding occur?
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Old 8th September 2010, 01:50 AM   #16
abraxalito is offline abraxalito  United Kingdom
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Originally Posted by thadman View Post
So where did the understanding occur?
No understanding occurred, there was an algorithm 'run'. Its important to point out the impracticability of this thought experiment though. According to some estimates there are over 20,000 different Chinese ideograms - so a sequence of merely 20 characters has more permutations than there are atoms in the observable universe. The chances of finding the answers 'correct, even insightful' are infinitesmally small - far lower than the chances of finding no Chinglish in Google's translation of an online page of Chinese.
'The total potential here must be nothing less than astronomical.'
'Nothing less. The number 10 raised almost literally to the power of infinity.'
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Old 18th December 2012, 09:26 PM   #17
M Gregg is offline M Gregg  England
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Quite interesting,

Chinese room...an old thread..

Chinese room - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A brain creates a mind...so anything simulating a brain should create a mind..
would it be sentient...

Interesting...no HAL 9000 yet?

M. Gregg
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Old 18th December 2012, 11:02 PM   #18
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Originally Posted by abraxalito
No understanding occurred, there was an algorithm 'run'.
Yes. There is a world of difference between accurate processing of symbols (which computers do all the time), and understanding a text and answering questions based on understanding of that text. Having said that, some simple 'comprehension' questions may be answerable by mere symbol processing. Deeper questions require understanding, so at present the best that could be done is for the automaton (whether electronic or biological) to fake understanding.
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Old 18th December 2012, 11:07 PM   #19
DSP_Geek is offline DSP_Geek  Canada
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Understanding would depend on how the Chinese Room deals with questions outside the rulebook. If an unpredictable question is answered with gibberish, then there's no understanding.
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Old 18th December 2012, 11:34 PM   #20
Bigun is offline Bigun  Canada
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The Chinese Room Thought Experiment
what we have here is the Turing test where the man in the Chinese room is a stand-in for a microprocessor: Turing test - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And, wasn't it Sir Roger Penrose who claims to have shown there is great doubt that it will ever be possible for a Turing machine (digital computer) to perfectly simulate a human mind. There are mathematical problems that can be proven to be impossible to solve using an algorithm and have only been solved through human insight - this is an underlying tenant of his claim. Read the book "The Emperors New Mind".

And another implication from his work is that the physical mechanisms that enable the human mind are therefore not algorithmic and our brains are not equivalent to a Turing machine - the only alternative is that there are quantum level processes at play which do not operate on an algorithmic basis and so operate outside the bounds of the Chinese room where instructions in a book are to be followed.
"The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed." Robert M Pirsig.

Last edited by Bigun; 18th December 2012 at 11:40 PM.
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