Computers, Artificial Intelligence, and Philosophy of Mind

Jack Copeland (University of Canterbury)

April 2016

Date / Time: April 18, 20, 22, 25, 27 (2-4:30 pm)
Location: 600 Renwen Building

Lecture 1: Artificial Intelligence versus the Human Brain

An introduction to AI. What is AI and what are its goals? AI’s achievements. Need an artificial intelligence be conscious? Origins: the early history of AI.

Lecture 2: The Imitation Game

Alan Turing’s test for computer intelligence: the nature and origins of the test. Turing’s predictions about the test. Has the test been passed? Defending the test against conceptual objections.

Lecture 3: Connectionism: Computing with Neurons

Is the human brain a computer? The nature and origins of connectionism. Is the brain a connectionist network? John Searle’s conceptual arguments that the brain is not a connectionist network.

Lecture 4: Can Computers have Freewill?

Freedom of the will appears to be a central human characteristic. Computers, though, are deterministic devices. Someone who knows the program and the input can predict the computer’s behavior in advance. What scope, then, for an artificial intelligence to exhibit free will?

Lecture 5: Computability, The Church-Turing thesis, and Hypercomputation

The Church-Turing thesis states that every algorithm can be carried out by a Turing machine (Turing’s abstract computing device, now a foundational concept in computer science). This thesis is often taken to imply that the human brain must be a form of computer (so AI must be possible), and that any information-processing machine must be equivalent to a Turing machine. Hypercomputation, on the other hand, explores the possibility of information-processors that are more powerful than Turing machines.