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Can a machine think (anything new)? Automation beyond simulation

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 11:48 authored by M. Beatrice FaziM. Beatrice Fazi
This article will rework the classical question ‘Can a machine think?’ into a more specific problem: ‘Can a machine think anything new?’ It will consider traditional computational tasks such as prediction and decision-making, so as to investigate whether the instrumentality of these operations can be understood in terms of the creation of novel thought. By addressing philosophical and technoscientific attempts to mechanise thought on the one hand (e.g. Leibniz’s mathesis universalis and Turing’s algorithmic method of computation), and the philosophical and cultural critique of these attempts on the other, I will argue that computation’s epistemic productions should be assessed vis-à-vis the logico-mathematical specificity of formal axiomatic systems. Such an assessment requires us to conceive automated modes of thought in such a way as to supersede the hope that machines might replicate human cognitive faculties, and to thereby acknowledge a form of onto-epistemological autonomy in automated ‘thinking’ processes. This involves moving beyond the view that machines might merely simulate humans. Machine thought should be seen as dramatically alien to human thought, and to the dimension of lived experience upon which the latter is predicated. Having stepped outside the simulative paradigm, the question ‘Can a machine think anything new?’ can then be reformulated. One should ask whether novel behaviour in computing might come not from the breaking of mechanical rules, but from following them: from doing what computers do already, and not what we might think they should be doing if we wanted them to imitate us.

History

Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version

Journal

AI & Society

ISSN

0951-5666

Publisher

Springer

Issue

4

Volume

34

Page range

813-824

Department affiliated with

  • Media and Film Publications

Research groups affiliated with

  • Sussex Humanities Lab Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date

2018-01-30

First Open Access (FOA) Date

2018-02-15

First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date

2018-01-30

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