Date: Friday, November 27, 2015 - 7:30pm
Lecture Title: Mathematics and Thinking Machines
Talk abstract: In the nineteenth century, mathematician Charles Babbage designed a programmable calculating machine that could execute algorithms with an accuracy and speed surpassing human abilities. Though Babbage’s mechanical computer remained unbuilt during his lifetime, his interest in developing machine intelligence anticipated twenty-first-century concerns about the promises, limitations, uses, and misuses of machine-generated data. This lecture will consider how our conceptions of thinking machines have evolved over the past 200 years and what issues may arise in the future. What does it mean to imagine machines “thinking”? What avenues are made available to us by the power of machine mathematics? And in what ways do calculating machines challenge our sense that human cognition is an exceptional phenomenon?
But when I look at the people speaking, I'm not so confident.
Nevertheless, I'll probably go.
To keep myself amused, I've made the bingo card below. It contains just a few of the worst arguments (courtesy of people like Michael Egnor, David Gelernter, John Searle, Roger Penrose, and Hubert Dreyfus) that I've heard proposed against the idea of thinking machines.