Philosophy Hurts Your Head

The blog of a cranky Philosophy PhD Student from Newcastle, Australia.

Archive for February, 2006

The Trouble with the Turing Test

Posted by Sam D on February 22, 2006

“One AI champion, Yorick Wilks, goes even further: he has questioned how we can even be sure that other humans think, and suggests that something like the Test is what we actually, if unconsciously, employ to reassure ourselves that they do. Wilks (not to be confused with Maurice Wilkes, quoted earlier) offers us here a reductio ad absurdum: the Turing Test asks us to evaluate an unknown entity by comparing its performance, at least implicitly, with that of a known quantity, a human being. But if Wilks is to be believed, we have unknowns on both sides of the comparison; with what do we compare a human being to learn if he thinks?”

Mark Halpern, “The Trouble with the Turing Test,” The New Atlantis, Number 11, Winter 2006, pp. 42-63.

Read the whole article Here.

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Posted in Artificial Intelligence, Mind, Philosophy of Mind | Leave a Comment »

Voltaire on Prayer

Posted by Sam D on February 20, 2006

The Eternal has his designs from all eternity. If prayer is in accord with his immutable wishes, it is quite useless to ask of him what he has resolved to do. If one prays to him to do the contrary of what he has resolved, it is praying that he be weak, frivolous, inconstant; it is believing that he is thus, it is to mock him. Either you ask him a just thing, in which case he must do it, the thing being done without your praying to him for it, and so to entreat him is then to distrust him; or the thing is unjust, and then you insult him. You are worthy or unworthy of the grace you implore: if worthy, he knows it better than you; if unworthy, you commit another crime by requesting what is undeserved.
In a word, we only pray to God because we have made him in our image. We treat him like a pasha, like a sultan whom one may provoke or appease.

Voltaire- “Prayers,” Questions sur l’Encyclopédie (1770-1774)

Posted in Philosophy & Religion, Quotes | Leave a Comment »

The Foresight Exchange Prediction Market

Posted by Sam D on February 1, 2006

I had been going over interesting stuff on the web and rediscovered this site.
FX, as it is know, is a game, (in the style of a futures market,) where participants can bet (with fake money) on the probability of future events, and/or make claims of their own about the future. Wikipedia on FX.

Now this might seem a bit geeky and possibly so grossly inaccurate that it gives no useful information. But I was watching a claim related to the price of crude oil last year, a claim that it would hit some huge high or other. The FX market for this claim went through the roof several days in advance of the ‘real’ market. Did it predict this riseor cause it? I don’t know. But it might be worth watching.

I was thinking that it I, and some of the people from Dialectic should put together some claims (possibly of a philosophical nature) and see how the FX community reacts to them.

Posted in Interesting stuff | Leave a Comment »