Why Machines That Talk Still Do Not Think, and Why They Might Nevertheless be Able to Solve Moral Problems

In: Artificial Intelligence
Author: Lukas Brand

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Abstract

The question whether automata can be intelligent or even have a mind has been an ongoing controversy for centuries. Even though we intuitively agree with the positions of Descartes and Searle that automata do not have a mind nor understand what they are doing the way we do, we do nevertheless observe the increasing occurrence of automata performing several tasks that are considered to require mental abilities (e.g. AlphaZero, Google Duplex, and Project Debater). The article outlines the different positions in the controversy and argues for the thesis that, based on recent advances in artificial intelligence, automata could in principle perform other complex tasks, and in particular moral decision-making as well.

Artificial Intelligence

Reflections in Philosophy, Theology, and the Social Sciences