Strong v Weak AI - The Chinese Room in 60 seconds
Written by Mike James   
Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Can we create machines that think like we do? This is the goal of "strong" AI. Some years ago a philosopher invented the Chinese Room thought experiment to prove that it was impossible. We have a 60-second video that explains it all...

The Open University has a new series of free, very short videos called 60 Second Adventures in Thought. At the moment there are a total of six and the one that is of most interest to us is the Chinese Room.

This is an argument invented by philosopher John Searle to prove that it was impossible to create real thinking machines. The best you can do is to create mechanisms that appear to think.

To tell you more would preempt the video - so just watch:

 

   

 

There are many challenges to the Chinese Room but one of the most popular is simply to point out that this assumes that it is possible to create a book of instructions for the task. This is far from obvious and perhaps any such equivalent mechanism would have to think just like we do.

Another interpretation is that Searle is indeed accurate in his model of thinking and it is the way that we do it to. In this case strong AI is either possible or impossible depending on whether or not you include the human brain as an example of strong AI.

At the end of the day it all comes down to philosophy.

If you would like to read a fuller account of the ideas of strong and weak AI than read Artificial Intelligence - strong and weak.

 

chineseroom

 

All the videos in the series are worth watching.

More Information

60 Second Adventures in Thought

Further Reading

Artificial Intelligence - strong and weak

 

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