Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Myth of Artificial Intelligence

Consider this analogy. You wind your watch (or put a battery in it), then it "keeps time." On it's own! Isn't that amazing? That's the entire rational basis for belief in AI. It is incredible that this simple- minded analogy supports an entire academic discipline. Many scientists seriously believe that if you store some instructions for action in a machine, then step back and watch those instructions execute later, that you are witnessing artificial intelligence.

For years I believed it might be possible to create genuine intelligence in a computer. I learned to program computers and worked on the problem for twenty years. Finally I realized that the problem is badly formulated. We need to define "intelligence" before we can hope to synthesize it. I have a definition of intelligence now, and unfortunately, it makes it impossible to synthesize intelligence. The essence of intelligence is a self-relating existence. It is to exist in a way that takes its own existence into account. A stone does not do that. Any animal does.


  1. If you believe in Artificial Intelligence, then Artificial Intelligence will believe in you.

  2. That is genuinely funny! Thanks for a good laugh.