Author: Lukas Brand


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.

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?