One of the main questions implied in what we today call “digitalization” is not what happens, when computers (or in our case: when robots) think but rather if it makes sense to talk of computers, robots, or any kind of machines as if they were capable of thinking. Or formulated in a still different way: Does it make sense to call machines “intelligent”? It goes without saying that the locus classicus of this question has been Alan Turing’s pathbreaking article on “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”, published 1950 in Mind
. What I will be dealing with in what follows will therefore just have the status of some philosophically orientated modest footnotes to the main idea of Alan Turing. These footnotes will be developed in five steps: Before even entering the arena of Robots and Artificial Intelligence I will try to open up a space for thorough reflection which will enable us to discuss these issues by not following the beaten track. In order to do that we will first of all ask whether “bullshit makes sense” by critically dealing with “the Digital”, a notion taken for granted by almost everybody (1), and by then asking the seemingly very pedestrian question as to how intelligent the CIA is (2). This then will set the scene for reminding us of a very influential argument in early modern sceptical rationalist philosophy: Descartes’ “Deus” or “Genius Malignus” argument (3). From there it will be easy to proceed to an important but often neglected implication of the “Turing test” (4) culminating in a revision and rehabilitation of one of the most abhorred concepts of modern science and philosophy: deception (5), thus launching what I would like to call an “anti-Cartesian experiment”.
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?