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Humanist Archives: Dec. 4, 2021, 8:50 a.m. Humanist 35.384 - Russell on "Living with artificial intelligence"

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 384.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
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    [1]    From: James Rovira <>
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.382: Russell on "Living with artificial intelligence" (30)

    [2]    From: maurizio lana <>
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.382: Russell on "Living with artificial intelligence" (61)

        Date: 2021-12-03 14:47:33+00:00
        From: James Rovira <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.382: Russell on "Living with artificial intelligence"

Right. Machines don't have their own objectives the way people do. We
create our own objectives, and machines are created with -our own-

People lose their freaking minds over technology - reason and common sense
- sometimes especially the people who design it and the people who try to
sell it.

Jim R

> > “Machines are intelligent to the extent that their actions can be
> > expected
> > > to achieve their objectives.”
> >
> I'm going to be a bit obtuse - but earlier this week I had to work on a
> repair during which I turned on a drill press and lowered the bit to drill
> a hole
> in a piece of wood.
> The drill press is certainly a machine, and its action is to rotate a
> bit. This rotation is expected to obtain the objective of making a hole in
> wood.
> Is my drill press intelligent? (While it isn't "aware", that isn't
> required - "presumably aware".)
> --henry

        Date: 2021-12-03 08:24:52+00:00
        From: maurizio lana <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.382: Russell on "Living with artificial intelligence"

hi Henry,

what you say recall me of what i would call the "dishwasher
argument" in the Luciano Floridi writings, not occasionally, when he
points to the fact that the imitation [game] is not an expression of
artificial intelligence

Floridi, Luciano. 2002. Philosophy and
computing: An introduction. Routledge: Only an artificial
agent would wash a pair of socks by quickly rotating them one
way and another in a lot of hot water and soap for about an
hour, but there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the
procedure. However, we do not consider washing-machines and
dishwashers authentic robots.

Floridi, Luciano, Mariarosaria Taddeo, e Matteo Turilli. 2009.
«Turing’s Imitation Game: Still an Impossible Challenge for All
Machines and Some Judges––an Evaluation of the 2008 Loebner
Contest». Minds and Machines 19 (1): 145–50.
Isn’t it handy that Google knows better and tells you that your
keywords are misspelled and should be so and so? But then, our
dishwashers need no intelligence (let alone consciousness) to do a
better job than we.

Floridi, Luciano. 2010. Information: a
very short introduction. Very short introductions 225.
Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press = Floridi, Luciano, e
Josh Cowls. 2019. «A Unified Framework of Five Principles for AI
in Society». Harvard Data Science Review 1 (1).
this [the Dartmouth definition of artificial intelligence] is
obviously a counterfactual: were a human to behave in that way,
that behaviour would be called intelligent. It does not mean
that the machine is intelligent or even thinking. The latter
scenario is a fallacy and smacks of superstition. Just because a
dishwasher cleans the dishes as well as, or even better than I
do, it does not mean that it cleans them like I do, or needs any
intelligence in achieving its task.

the artificial intelligence is the "sacred" of the digital society.
around the sacred cults are built and a caste of priests is born, 
who instruct the faithful. Floridi is demythizing this sacred
when he puts the sacred in comparison with the dishwasher and 
the dishes, or the washing machine and the socks. you with the drill 
press are doing the same, i feel.


Maurizio Lana
Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici
Università del Piemonte Orientale
piazza Roma 36 - 13100 Vercelli
tel. +39 347 7370925

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