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There are still many anthropomorphizing misunderstandings about what it means for a machine to be intelligent. In searching for common ground between human and artificial thinking processes, I suggest reconsidering how human intelligence can be conceived in mechanistic terms. To do this, I take a closer look at the notion of the spiritual automaton of the 17th century philosopher Baruch de Spinoza. In his writings, a mechanical theory of the mind can be found, before the comparison between minds and machines even arises. In a second step I sketch some ways in which current methods in AI studies could be seen to reflect aspects of the Spinozistic model of the mind

In: Artificial Intelligence
Reflections in Philosophy, Theology, and the Social Sciences
This book discusses major issues of the current AI debate from the perspectives of philosophy, theology, and the social sciences: Can AI have a consciousness? Is superintelligence possible and probable? How does AI change individual and social life? Can there be artificial persons? What influence does AI have on religious worldviews? In Western societies, we are surrounded by artificially intelligent systems. Most of these systems are embedded in online platforms. But embodiments of AI, be it by voice or by actual physical embodiment, give artificially intelligent systems another dimension in terms of their impact on how we perceive these systems, how they shape our communication with them and with fellow humans and how we live and work together. AI in any form gives a new twist to the big questions that humanity has concerned herself with for centuries: What is consciousness? How should we treat each other - what is right and what is wrong? How do our creations change the world we are living in? Which challenges do we have to face in the future?