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Humanist Archives: Nov. 23, 2022, 2:28 p.m. Humanist 36.267 - a robot wrote this

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 267.
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        Date: 2022-11-22 12:28:11+00:00
        From: maurizio lana <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 36.263: a robot wrote this

Hi Willard,

about "why so much effort is spent [in AI] in imitating human behaviour"
and "success at imitating what", the reason is clear for me, the
imitation is at the core (is the pulsating hearth!) of both the program
of Turing and the program of Dartmouth for the artificial
intelligence[*] (so we have a scientific field which stays at a concept
of 70 years ago). in this perspective the quality of the imitation is
the visible indicator of the quality of the artificial intelligence
which by itslef is too difficult to define in abstract terms. Turing is
crystal clear in this respect:

> I PROPOSE to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?'. ... Instead
> of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by
> another. ... The new form of the problem can be described in terms of
> a game which we call the ‘imitation game’.

this focus on imitation continues today because on the imitation lots of
narratives can be built which introduce the AI as wonder.

but do we want the AI as an artefact which we can use to progress the
humanity, or as a golden calf which opens (unveils?) a new religion with
its high priests? the first one, i hope, but this needs us to discuss
about it, about "the true nature of the machine", not to wonder.

or as an artefact which we can use to progress our work: see for example
Hope, Tom, Doug Downey, Oren Etzioni, Daniel S. Weld, e Eric Horvitz.
2022. «A computational inflection for scientific discovery». arXiv.

Hutson, Matthew. 2022. «Could AI Help You to Write Your next Paper?»
/Nature/ 611 (7934): 192–93.

[*] Turing, Alan Mathison. 1950. «Computing Machinery and Intelligence».
Mind LIX (236): 433–60.;
McCarthy, John, Marvin L. Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester, e Claude Elwood
Shannon. 1955. «A proposal for the Dartmouth summer research project on
Artificial Intelligence».

Il 22/11/22 09:59, Willard McCarty <> ha
>          Date: 2022-11-20 08:02:11+00:00
>          From: Willard McCarty<>
>          Subject: the bar set low
> ...
> I keep teasing the question of why so much effort is spent in imitating
> human behaviour rather than exploring what Louis Milic called "the true
> nature of the machine" ("The Next Step", CHum 1966), and why is it
> that we seem to be impressed by its successes? Sure, it chronicles
> what we take to be advances in artificial intelligence, but success at
> imitating what? Advancement towards what? I would think that the
> important question is the one we find on the dustjacket of The
> Bestseller Code: what does GPT-3 and its kind "teach us about books,
> stories, and reading"?


crisi? piuttosto un brutale approfondirsi dell'ingiustizia sociale
g. strada

Maurizio Lana
Università del Piemonte Orientale
Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici
Piazza Roma 36 - 13100 Vercelli

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