The most cursory examination of the history of Artificial Intelligence, AI,
highlights numerous egregious claims of its researchers, especially in
relation to a populist form of computationalism. In particular, a 'strong'
form of this doctrine holds that any suitably programmed computer
instantiates genuine conscious mental states purely in virtue of it carrying
out a specific series of computations.
The argument to be presented in this talk is a simple development of that
originally presented in Hilary Putnam's 1988 monograph, "Representation &
Reality", which if correct has important implications for Turing Machine
Functionalism and the prospect of 'conscious'
In this presentation, instead of seeking to emulate Putnam's claim that,
"everything implements every Finite State Automata, (FSA)", I will simply
establish the weaker result that, "everything implements the specific FSA
[Q], when executing program (p) on a particular input set (x)". Then,
equating Q(p,x) to a putative AI program passing the Turing Test, I will
show that conceding the Strong AI thesis for Q, (crediting it with mental
states and consciousness), opens the door to a vicious form of panpsychism
whereby all open systems, (e.g. grass, rocks and toadstools), have conscious
experience and disembodied minds lurk everywhere...
Dr. J.M.Bishop is Reader in Computing at Goldsmiths College, University of London.