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Jim Meyers
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Think of it like this: an individual neuron does not understand chinese either. In Searle's thought experiment he - an individual in a room - is the equivalent of a neuron. If he had a helper that might be the equivalent of another neuron. All of his tools are the equivalent of either other neurons or the chemical/electrical interactions between neurons. All of this stuff by itself does not understand Chinese. Put it together and yes it does understand Chinese. And yes "in some sense" your computer does understand the tasks it does. It probably isn't sophisticated enough to reflect on those tasks or to feel good or bad about those tasks, but those "humanesque" aspects are all things programmed in the language of neural connections. If you were able to program something similarly sophisticated into your computer, then it would have those same "humanesque" qualities.
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Jul 18, 2013