by Marinus Jan Marijs
A possible approach to see whether there is a non-physical element within humans, is to compare the mental ability of humans to artificial intelligence which has no “soul”.
Wikipedia gives the following data:
The idea of an artifact made conscious is an ancient theme of mythology, appearing for example in the Greek myth of Pygmalion, who carved a statue that was magically brought to life, and in medieval Jewish stories of the Golem, a magically animated homunculus built of clay. However, the possibility of actually constructing a conscious machine was probably first discussed by Ada Lovelace, in a set of notes written in 1842 about the Analytical Engine invented by Charles Babbage, a precursor (never built) to modern electronic computers. Lovelace was essentially dismissive of the idea that a machine such as the Analytical Engine could think in a humanlike way.
She wrote: It is desirable to guard against the possibility of exaggerated ideas that might arise as to the powers of the Analytical Engine. … The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform. It can follow analysis; but it has no power of anticipating any analytical relations or truths. Its province is to assist us in making available what we are already acquainted with.
One of the most influential contributions to this question was an essay written in 1950 by pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, titled Computing Machinery and Intelligence. Turing disavowed any interest in terminology, saying that even “Can machines think?” is too loaded with spurious connotations to be meaningful; but he proposed to replace all such questions with a specific operational test, which has become known as the Turing test. To pass the test a computer must be able to imitate a human well enough to fool interrogators. In his essay Turing discussed a variety of possible objections, and presented a counterargument to each of them.
The Turing test is commonly cited in discussions of artificial intelligence as a proposed criterion for machine consciousness; it has provoked a great deal of philosophical debate. For example, Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter argue that anything capable of passing the Turing test is necessarily conscious, while David Chalmers argues that a philosophical zombie could pass the test, yet fail to be conscious.
In a lively exchange over what has come to be referred to as “The Chinese room Argument”, John Searle sought to refute the claim of proponents of what he calls ‘Strong Artificial Intelligence (AI)’ that a computer program can be conscious, though he does agree with advocates of “Weak AI” that computer programs can be formatted to “simulate” conscious states. His own view is that consciousness has subjective, first-person causal powers by being essentially intentional due simply to the way human brains function biologically; conscious persons can perform computations, but consciousness is not inherently computational the way computer programs are.
To make a Turing machine that speaks Chinese, Searle imagines a room stocked with computers and algorithms programmed to respond to Chinese questions, i.e., Turing machines, programmed to correctly answer in Chinese any questions asked in Chinese. Searle argues that with such a machine, he would be able to process the inputs to outputs perfectly without having any understanding of Chinese, nor having any idea what the questions and answers could possibly mean. And, this is all a current computer program would do.
If the experiment were done in English, since Searle knows English, he would be able to take questions and give answers without any algorithms for English questions, and he would be affectively aware of what was being said and the purposes it might serve. Searle would pass the Turing test of answering the questions in both languages, but he’s only conscious of what he’s doing when he speaks English.
Another way of putting the argument is to say that computational computer programs can pass the Turing test for processing the syntax of a language, but that semantics cannot be reduced to syntax in the way Strong AI advocates hoped. Processing semantics is conscious and intentional because we use semantics to consciously produce meaning by what we say.
In the literature concerning artificial intelligence (AI), Searle’s essay has been second only to Turing’s in the volume of debate it has generated. Searle himself was vague about what extra ingredients it would take to make a machine conscious: all he proposed was that what was needed was “causal powers” of the sort that the brain has and that computers lack. But other thinkers sympathetic to his basic argument have suggested that the necessary (though perhaps still not sufficient) extra conditions may include the ability to pass not just the verbal version of the Turing test, but the robotic version, which requires grounding the robot’s words in the robot’s sensorimotor capacity to categorize and interact with the things in the world that its words are about, Turing-indistinguishably from a real person. Turing-scale robotics is an empirical branch of research on embodied cognition and situated cognition.
Sir Roger Penrose is an English mathematical physicist, Penrose is internationally renowned for his scientific work in mathematical physics, in particular for his contributions to general relativity and cosmology.
Penrose has written books on the connection between fundamental physics and human (or animal) consciousness. In The Emperor’s New Mind (1989), he argues that known laws of physics are inadequate to explain the phenomenon of consciousness. Penrose proposes the characteristics this new physics may have and specifies the requirements for a bridge between classical and quantum mechanics (what he calls correct quantum gravity). Penrose uses a variant of Turing’s halting theorem to demonstrate that a system can be deterministic without being algorithmic. (E.g., imagine a system with only two states, ON and OFF. If the system’s state is ON if a given Turing machine halts, and OFF if the Turing machine does not halt, then the system’s state is completely determined by the Turing machine, however there is no algorithmic way to determine whether the Turing machine stops.)
Penrose believes that such deterministic yet non-algorithmic processes may come into play in the quantum mechanical wave function reduction, and may be harnessed by the brain. He argues that the present computer is unable to have intelligence because it is an algorithmically deterministic system. He argues against the viewpoint that the rational processes of the mind are completely algorithmic and can thus be duplicated by a sufficiently complex computer. This contrasts with supporters of strong artificial intelligence, who contend that thought can be simulated algorithmically. He bases this on claims that consciousness transcends formal logic because things such as the insolubility of the halting problem and Gödel’s incompleteness theorem prevent an algorithmically based system of logic from reproducing such traits of human intelligence as mathematical insight. These claims were originally espoused by the philosopher John Lucas of Merton College, Oxford.
The data to a certain degree supports philosophical dualism.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
“Minds, Machines and Gödel is J. R. Lucas‘s 1959 philosophical paper in which he argues that a human mathematician cannot be accurately represented by an algorithmic automaton. Appealing to Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, he argues that for any such automaton, there would be some mathematical formula which it could not prove, but which the human mathematician could both see, and show, to be true.
The paper is a Gödelian argument over mechanism.”
Lucas presented the paper in 1959 to the Oxford Philosophical Society. It was first printed in Philosophy, XXXVI, 1961, then reprinted in The Modeling of Mind, Kenneth M. Sayre and Frederick J. Crosson, eds., Notre Dame Press, 1963, and in Minds and Machines, ed. Alan Ross Anderson, Prentice-Hall, 1964, ISBN 0-13-583393-0.