Re: Granny Objections to Computers' Having Minds

From: Parker, Bronwyn (
Date: Thu May 23 1996 - 12:33:51 BST


Granny objections to computation are basically beliefs that computers
do not have minds but for no good reasons, simply because it seems to
go against basic human intuition. It seems impossible to the avarage
granny that computers could have minds yet it is possible that they do.
Granny objactions are all arbitory, thay have no actual evidence to
support them and are based upon unexamined, inate bias. However, I
think that it would be true to say that the majority of people would
agree with granny; Mainly because of human instinct that computers are
machines and machines do not have minds.
Granny Objections include;
-Computers have a program and can only operate within that program,
they can only do what they are programmed to do, consequently they
cannot have a mind since they have no choice or free will, they just
have a program.
-Computers have no history or experiences, they just have a pseudo past
whereas, we, as humans have a history and a past life.
-Computers cannot be creative.
-Computers cannot and don't have emotions.
-We are not machines, we are not 'any system that operates within the
causal laws of physics' . We are different and can do so much more than
mere machines.

All of these objections can be argued against; Computers are flexible
and adapt to inputs and changes in code, they can be unpredictable and
do new things due to chance effects from outside the system, due to
pseudo random effectsproduced by the code itself and effects of the
program which the programmer did not expect. It can be argued that it
is irrelevent whether or not computers have a history since all that ir
applicable is the here and now.It also cannot be assumed to be true
that computers do not have emotions, we do not know. Are we any
different to computers really since surely we also operate within the
causal laws of physics only in a different perimeter, we could also be
said to be predictable, as computers are predictable.
However, I would still agree with granny in saying thatcomputers do not
have minds. Personally I find the whole idea of artificial intelligence
quite frightening, I want to believe that we, the human race, is unique
in it's cognitive powers and artificial intelligence is like playing

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