Literature/1979/McCorduck

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McCorduck, Pamela (1979). Machines Who Think. 25th anniversary edition, Natick, MA: A K Peters, Ltd., 2004.

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Q: What so-called smart computers do -- is that really thinking?

A: No, if you insist that thinking can only take place inside the human cranium. But yes, if you believe that making difficult judgments, the kind usually left to experts, choosing among plausible alternatives, and acting on those choices, is thinking. That's what artificial intelligences do right now. Along with most people in AI, I consider what artificial intelligences do as a form of thinking, though I agree that these programs don't think just like human beings do, for the most part. I'm not sure that's even desirable. Why would we want AIs if all we want is human-level intelligence? There are plenty of humans on the planet. The field's big project is to make intelligences that exceed our own. As these programs come into our lives in more ways, we'll need programs that can explain their reasoning to us before we accept their decisions. [1]


From http://www.pamelamc.com/html/machines_who_think.html

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  • "In summary, if you are interested in the story of how the pioneers of AI approached the problem of getting a machine to think like a human, a story told with verve, wit, intelligence and perception, there is no better place to go than this book."
    --Nature, February 19, 2004
  • "The enormous, if stealthy, influence of AI bears out many of the wonders foretold 25 years ago in Machines Who Think, Pamela McCorduck's groundbreaking survey of the history and prospects of the field…. [T]aken together, the original and the afterword form a rich and fascinating history."
    --Scientific American, May 2004

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Gradient-optical-illusion.svg
The shade of the bar looks invariant in isolation but variant in context, in (favor of) sharp contrast with the color gradient background, hence an innate illusion we have to reasonably interpret and overcome as well as the mirage. Such variance appearing seasonably from context to context may not only be the case with our vision but worldview in general in practice indeed, whether a priori or a posteriori. Perhaps no worldview from nowhere, without any point of view or prejudice at all!

Ogden & Richards (1923) said, "All experience ... is either enjoyed or interpreted ... or both, and very little of it escapes some degree of interpretation."

H. G. Wells (1938) said, "The human individual is born now to live in a society for which his fundamental instincts are altogether inadequate."