More Weizenbaum

A lovely passage, from the end of Chapter Seven:

A theory is of course itself a conceptual framework. And so it determines what is and what is not to count as fact. The theories—or, perhaps better said, the root metaphors—that have hypnotised the artificial intelligentsia and large segments of the general public as well, have long determined that life is what is computable and only that. As Professor John McCarthy, head of Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory said, “The only reason we have not yet succeeded in formalising every aspect of the real world is that we have been lacking a sufficiently powerful logical calculus. I am currently working on that problem.”

Sometimes when my children were still little, my wife and I would stand over them as they lay sleeping in their beds. We spoke to each other in silence, rehearsing a scene as old as mankind itself. It is as Ionesco told his journal: “Not everything is unsayable in words, only the living truth.”
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One Response to More Weizenbaum

  1. Ian Thorpe says:

    Having worked on Artificial Intelligence projects 15 years ago and being aware how little progress has been made since then towards making machines that can reason, I would say the profesor has as much chance of creating a sufficiently powerful logical calculus as he has of stepping in a pile of rocking horse shit.

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