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Opening the door to the Chinese Room:
Intersubjectivity and the
Phenomenology of AI
Open AIED
19 September 2018
DR. ROBERT...
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
MAKING HEADLINES
3
PERSPECTIVES FROM PHILOSOPHY OF MIND
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
1. The first thing to say is that many computer scientists ...
4
WHY DO HUMAN BEINGS EXPERIENCE PHENOMENA AT ALL?
HARD PROBLEM OF CONCIOUSNESS (CHALMERS, 1995)
Information flowQualia
5
HOW CAN PHYSICALISM BE RECONCILED WITH MENTAL PHENOMENA?
THE MIND-BODY PROBLEM
6
HOW CAN PHYSICALISM BE RECONCILED WITH MENTAL PHENOMENA?
THE MIND-BODY PROBLEM
The mental and physical
are separate (dua...
7
THE MIND AS INFORMATION PROCESSOR
MACHINE FUNCTIONALISM
1. Puttnam (1967) argues in ‘Psychological Predicates’ that psyc...
8
A TEST OF INTELLIGENCE?
TURING TEST
Turing’s (1950) famous test of ’intelligence’
Turing’s thesis: if two systems are in...
9
THE CHINESE ROOM THOUGHT EXPERIMENT
JOHN SEARLE (1980)
Searle similarly rejects the mind/body problem as a false dichoto...
10
AI IN EDUCATION
INTERSUBJECTIVITY?
1. At The Open University AI is being considered for personalised learner support; i...
11
EVALUATION & MONITORING
BRINGING LEARNING TO LIFE
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/may/11/google-
duplex-ai-...
12
SHOULD AI BE RATIONAL, OR BE LIKE HUMANS?
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: CONTRASTING VISIONS
Russell and Norvig (1995, 2002, ...
13
SOME THOUGHTS
IN CONCLUSION
1. Despite the recent interest in AI from an engineering and computer science perspective t...
THANK YOU
rob.farrow@open.ac.uk
@philosopher1978
Image credits:
Consciousness by sachin modgekar (Noun Project)
Thinking b...
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Opening the door to the Chinese Room: Intersubjectivity and the Phenomenology of AI

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Presentation made to the Open AIED group at The Open University (UK) in September 2018

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Opening the door to the Chinese Room: Intersubjectivity and the Phenomenology of AI

  1. 1. Opening the door to the Chinese Room: Intersubjectivity and the Phenomenology of AI Open AIED 19 September 2018 DR. ROBERT FARROW INSTITUTE OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY @philosopher1978 rob.farrow@open.ac.uk
  2. 2. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE MAKING HEADLINES
  3. 3. 3 PERSPECTIVES FROM PHILOSOPHY OF MIND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE 1. The first thing to say is that many computer scientists and engineers are quite uninterested in the philosophy of artificial intelligence (despite this being where AI comes from as a concept) 2. Philosophers have long been interested in whether a non-human is able to possess a mind or have the attribute of intelligence 3. This has only been from the perspective of computational theories of mind over the last hundred years or so, but can be traced back into the history of philosophy as the mind-body problem 4. The so-called ‘hard problem of consciousness’ is a contemporary example of the mind-body problem 5. Machine functionalism presented the mind as an information processor 6. Turing test was presented as a test of intelligence 7. Searle’s response to machine functionalism: the Chinese Room 8. Thoughts on the potential use of AI in education 9. Concluding thoughts
  4. 4. 4 WHY DO HUMAN BEINGS EXPERIENCE PHENOMENA AT ALL? HARD PROBLEM OF CONCIOUSNESS (CHALMERS, 1995) Information flowQualia
  5. 5. 5 HOW CAN PHYSICALISM BE RECONCILED WITH MENTAL PHENOMENA? THE MIND-BODY PROBLEM
  6. 6. 6 HOW CAN PHYSICALISM BE RECONCILED WITH MENTAL PHENOMENA? THE MIND-BODY PROBLEM The mental and physical are separate (dualism) The mental and physical interact (mental causation) Physics is causally closed (physicalism)
  7. 7. 7 THE MIND AS INFORMATION PROCESSOR MACHINE FUNCTIONALISM 1. Puttnam (1967) argues in ‘Psychological Predicates’ that psychological states are not in correspondence with physical states 2. This gives rise to an interest the multiple realisability of mental properties, and hence to functional accounts of the mental 3. For instance, pain reception can be realised in multiple ways in different organisms, but all of these systems have the same ‘function’ 4. For the functionalist, mental states are reducible to functional states: there are no ‘inner’ mental representations and no mental/physical dualism 5. Puttnam frames his discussion of functionalism in terms of ‘Turing machines’ which read & write data along a tape according to a finite set of internal conditions and a consistent symbolic alphabet
  8. 8. 8 A TEST OF INTELLIGENCE? TURING TEST Turing’s (1950) famous test of ’intelligence’ Turing’s thesis: if two systems are input-output equivalent they have the same psychological status (Kim, 1998)
  9. 9. 9 THE CHINESE ROOM THOUGHT EXPERIMENT JOHN SEARLE (1980) Searle similarly rejects the mind/body problem as a false dichotomy (i.e. he rejects the premise that mind and body are separate in favour of the idea that they are different aspects of a single phenomena). The ‘Chinese Room’ thought experiment is often presented as an argument against ‘Strong AI’ (Dennett) Strong AI thesis: “The appropriately programmed computer with the right inputs and outputs would thereby have a mind in exactly the same sense human beings have minds.” More recently, Searle has framed this thought experiment in terms of the hard problem of consciousness
  10. 10. 10 AI IN EDUCATION INTERSUBJECTIVITY? 1. At The Open University AI is being considered for personalised learner support; it would draw on the massive amount of data retained by the university about their students 2. For instance, AI could offer personalised feedback on writing and other work 3. AI could effectively replace a large range of functions in education 4. In May 2018 the OpenAIED group heard a very interesting presentation from Mark Nichols (LTI) on some of the thinking around AI support for students. 5. This drew on Buber’s (1923) account of intersubjectivity which contrasts intersubjective relationships (“I-Thou”) with the world of things (I-It) 6. The suggestion was that AI interactions should be characterised by intersubjectivity and a sense of ‘human’ interaction 7. It’s important to note that intersubjectivity assumes a kind of symmetry between human relationships which expresses itself as forms of mutual recognition – the kind of recognition which machines cannot genuinely reciprocate even if they can simulate it convincingly
  11. 11. 11 EVALUATION & MONITORING BRINGING LEARNING TO LIFE https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/may/11/google- duplex-ai-identify-itself-as-robot-during-calls
  12. 12. 12 SHOULD AI BE RATIONAL, OR BE LIKE HUMANS? ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: CONTRASTING VISIONS Russell and Norvig (1995, 2002, 2009)
  13. 13. 13 SOME THOUGHTS IN CONCLUSION 1. Despite the recent interest in AI from an engineering and computer science perspective there remain unresolved epistemological and metaphysical controversies 2. I hope to have at least indicated that the philosophical issues around AI do have important implications for those building ‘practical’ systems 3. In order to resolve the mind-body problem we necessarily end up taking a reductive approach: in the behaviourist/functionalist tradition mental operations are disregarded in favour of language and behaviour 4. These are structural issues: machine learning has made little progress with representing higher order thoughts, higher levels of abstraction, being creative with language, or ‘common sense’ (Russell & Norvig, 2009) 5. In summary, we might suggest that there is massive hyperbole about the affordances and likely futures of AI: reports of artificial intelligence are greatly exaggerated and it is human intelligence that is being extended 6. All of the AI we refer to is essentially ‘weak’ (i.e. task orientated rather than generalised) intelligence and should perhaps be referred to as ‘augmented’ 7. This is to say nothing of the well documented ethical concerns raised by the use of AI in education
  14. 14. THANK YOU rob.farrow@open.ac.uk @philosopher1978 Image credits: Consciousness by sachin modgekar (Noun Project) Thinking by iconoci (Noun Project) translate by Graphic Enginer (Noun Project) Other images believed to be public domain

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