|Overview: Chinese Room|
John Rogers Searle
What is the Chinese Room?
John Spacey, updated on April 04, 2016
The Chinese Room is a thought experiment that suggests that artificial intelligence can't exhibit consciousness because machines simply process information that they don't "understand."The Chinese Room thought experiment is an analogy to artificial intelligence. A person who can't speak Chinese is sitting in a room text chatting in Chinese. They have a book that gives them an appropriate response to each series of symbols that appear in the chat. The person on the other side of the chat can't tell that they are speaking to someone who can't speak Chinese. The person in the room doesn't understand anything about the conversation and is simply looking up symbols in a book. The Turing test, a common way to define and test artificial intelligence, involves a computer imitating a human on a chat. According to the test, if a machine can convince people that it's human, it's intelligent. The Chinese Room analogy shows that by this definition of machine intelligence that computers need not understand the conversation to pass.
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