Searle’s Chinese Room

Chinese room thought experiment

“Searle’s thought experiment begins with this hypothetical premise: suppose that artificial intelligence research has succeeded in constructing a computer that behaves as if it understands Chinese. It takes Chinese characters as input and, by following the instructions of a computer program, produces other Chinese characters, which it presents as output. Suppose, says Searle, that this computer performs its task so convincingly that it comfortably passes the Turing test: it convinces a human Chinese speaker that the program is itself a live Chinese speaker. To all of the questions that the person asks, it makes appropriate responses, such that any Chinese speaker would be convinced that they are talking to another Chinese-speaking human being.

The question Searle wants to answer is this: does the machine literally “understand” Chinese? Or is it merely simulating the ability to understand Chinese? Searle calls the first position “strong AI” and the latter “weak AI”.

Searle then supposes that he is in a closed room and has a book with an English version of the computer program, along with sufficient paper, pencils, erasers, and filing cabinets. Searle could receive Chinese characters through a slot in the door, process them according to the program’s instructions, and produce Chinese characters as output. If the computer had passed the Turing test this way, it follows, says Searle, that he would do so as well, simply by running the program manually.

Searle asserts that there is no essential difference between the roles of the computer and himself in the experiment. Each simply follows a program, step-by-step, producing a behavior which is then interpreted as demonstrating intelligent conversation. However, Searle would not be able to understand the conversation. (“I don’t speak a word of Chinese,” he points out.) Therefore, he argues, it follows that the computer would not be able to understand the conversation either.

Searle argues that, without “understanding” (or “intentionality“), we cannot describe what the machine is doing as “thinking” and, since it does not think, it does not have a “mind” in anything like the normal sense of the word. Therefore, he concludes that “strong AI” is false.

wikipedia

Bourdain visits Narnia

“I’m crammed into a burrow so small that my knees are up around my ears and the boom mike keeps slamming into my head, inhaling the potent scent of toffee-apple brandy and trying to drink a talking mouse under the table. But is it really the boom mike that’s making my head pound? I know for sure that my camera man doesn’t usually have two heads. I have to face facts. The mouse is winning.
Yesterday, I thought I knew what to expect from Narnia: good solid English cooking spiced up with the odd unusual ingredient, and good solid English people spiced up with the odd faun. And centaur. And talking animal. I’d longed to visit Narnia when I was a kid, but every time the notoriously capricious entry requirements, such as the bizarre and arbitrary lifetime limit on visits, relaxed the slightest bit, it would get invaded, get conquered, get re-conquered by the original rulers, or get hit by some natural disaster. The “Hundred-Year Winter” put the kibosh on the one time my parents even considered it.
When, by some bureaucratic miracle, my crew and I were permitted entry, I wondered if I was too old and jaded for Narnia. Maybe I’d been too old and jaded by the time I was twelve. Narnia is supposed to a land of clean living and old-fashioned values, where men are men and women are women and you have to go to Calormen to find anything more spicy than mulled wine. Not my kind of place at all, really.”

Fan fiction at archiveofourown.org

Where did the *record scratch* / *freeze frame* joke originate?

I know the trope. It seems familiar. Can’t think of any examples though.

reddit thread regarding the issue.

It’s a pretty popular trope in 80s and 90s movies. A lot of them would start en medias res with the character in some ridiculous situation. There would be a record scratch and a freeze frame of the character’s face, followed by the character saying something like “You’re probably wondering how I got here,” only for the story to rewind and explain from the beginning. I can’t think of a classic example off the top of my head, but Deadpool did a parody of it, if memory serves.

Pretty popular trope which nobody can remember a single example of?


Mandela Effect?

Psychologists call the phenomenon confabulation. The term is used clinically to refer to memory defects experienced by patients with brain damage, and also to describe everyday phenomena like embellishing the truth when recounting events and inventing facts on the fly to fill in gaps in memory. We’ve all done these things at one time or another, though we’re rarely conscious of it when we do.