Monday, September 30, 2019

Tok Can a Machine Know

In today’s day and age, the question â€Å"Can a Machine Know? † is very important and relevant to what we are doing with machines in making them more and more humanlike and capable of human functions. A machine, as defined on Dictionary. com â€Å"is an apparatus consisting of interrelated parts with separate functions, used in the performance of some kind of work. † That seems simple enough, not very complicated at all. But then if you look up â€Å"know†, the definition is very hard to grasp. Dictionary. com defines â€Å"know† as: â€Å"to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty. This doesn’t give much justice to the word and requires you to define other terms such as understand and truth and certainty. It is much easier to use the term as defined according to Plato. His view is regarded to be the â€Å"classical† definition. According to Plato, at least three criteria must be satisfied in order for there to be knowledge; a statement must be justified, true and believed. And so if a machine meets all these requirements then it must in fact know. With machines, the main argument against their capabilty to know is that everything they can do is because humans programmed them to do it. Machines cannot do anything on a whim; they have no imagination or creativity. Creativity is one of the things that makes humans rather special and not just walking computer processors. It enables us to make decisions which are not based simply on algorithms or past history or other data. We can be bold, reckless, brave, and foolish or act in many other emotional ways. This is impossible to program as emotions do not lend themselves to mathematical analysis. Yet emotions are an essential part of knowledge. For example I know whether I am happy today or not and it probably affects what I do today more than the facts I actually know. Computers can never be happy or sad. They cannot love or grieve. They cannot, in other words, be human and know. But the other side of the argument is that humans are just computers which contrary is the exact opposite stated in the above paragraph. We are just many bits and pieces that are all working together to let us live and experience life. In fact humans are classified as biological machines, and if humans can know anything, machines should be able to know. Many consider the only aspect that makes humans and other higher organic creatures different from the commonly defined machine is our ability to express emotions and intuition. These emotions and intuitions come from our mind, which is a system; a system of biochemistry, electricity, some mechanics and maybe a bit of quantum mechanics, but a system nonetheless. If you take any individual part of this system away, none of these parts will understand anything. They're simply exchanging information with different parts according to set rules. This is exactly what a machine does when given instructions and prior facts and figures. As I was researching this topic and looking at both sides of the argument, I admit I was very torn. At first I thought no, there’s no way a machine can know. They don’t have brains and everything they do is programmed beforehand for them by humans. But as I delved more deeply into the question I found that some advanced robots are not quite like that. On Youtube, there are many videos which include Honda’s robot, named ASIMO, that show machines can think very much on they’re own. One video talks about how this robot can actually â€Å"see†, a trait we usually only give to living organisms. Though it has two cameras for eyes, the way it processes the information it views through the cameras is very humanlike, like a child learning their surroundings. A man shows the robot objects that it has already learned to indentify and ASIMO says what they are out loud. But then the man shows it two completely different objects, a toy car and a toy robot, and tells ASIMO what they are. The man then shows the robot the two objects again and asks it what they are. ASIMO dutifully replies what each is correctly. This amazed me because it showed machines could actually learn from experience, just like humans. But that wasn’t all, ASIMO was later told indentify a chair. At first a normal looking wood chair was placed in front of it and the robot nodded. Then a stool was placed in front and ASIMO nodded again, even though the stool looks nothing like a chair. But then it is showed a table and ASIMO shakes his head no. This was very astounding to me because it showed a machine making a judgment. So to actually determine whether or not a computer can know, we must go back to Plato’s description of knowledge and see if a machine fits. The main purpose of most machines is to record vast amounts of data which are all truthful so that fulfills the first criteria easy enough. Then it must be justified which is done by the programmer feeding information to the machine. And last but not least it must believe and because the computer must follow the code it’s given, then it must believe and thus it fits all of Plato’s criteria for knowledge. But this just seemed too easy so I decided to look into the ways of knowing, and if the machine fit all those components, then it definitely knows. Though a machine can use reason to solve problems that no human can, use intuition to figure out if an object is a chair or not, speak in every language known to man, see objects and know what they are, and be able to hear a human and respond, machines still cannot experience emotion and that is the one thing stopping them from knowing. As stated in a previous argument, an essential part to knowing is through emotion and creativity and imagination. Without these things a machine cannot know. Until humans are able to make a machine that has the capacity that the human brain does, a machine will never know like a human. It will understand how to perform certain tasks and learn new things, but it will never be able to create something of its own or experience any type of emotion. In saying this, I do believe that in the near future, with technological advances, there will soon be a machine which can think for itself and have its own ideas and creations. Due to Raymond Kurzweil’s theory of Singularity, humans will create machines that have intelligence which surpasses their own and by that time machines will most definitely know. Because of the human sciences striving to create robots that are humanlike, they will eventually become successful and once the breakthrough is made, then there will be thousands of different machines that can know and our society will have totally changed. But as of right now, a machine cannot know. It can perform very humanlike tasks and talk and walk and speak but there is still the barrier of not being able to imagine or feel which separates humans from machines.Bibliography;page=3

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