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Does a computer think if no one is around to see it?

Ovidiu Cristinel, Stoica (2023) Does a computer think if no one is around to see it? [Preprint]

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I show that a computer cannot think unambiguously about anything, not even about a number. If thinking is a computation, a computer would have different, possibly opposite thoughts, corresponding to many computations it implements at the same time. The user interface allows us to see only one of them.

I show explicit situations in which, if we assume that the computer can think of a number, we have to conclude that it thinks, in parallel, of all numbers within a range. These numbers can in principle be extracted by using a very expensive computation. I give an explicit example of a program doing this, with available source code for independent verification.

Using an indexical argument, I show that the human mind does not have this ambiguity. Therefore, even if the human mind can be simulated by a computer (as computers are currently understood), it cannot be reduced to computation.

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Item Type: Preprint
Ovidiu Cristinel, Stoica0000-0002-2765-1562
Keywords: Computational theory of mind; Artificial Intelligence; Philosophy of Computer Science
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
Depositing User: Ovidiu Cristinel Stoica
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2023 12:18
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2023 12:18
Item ID: 22234
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
Date: 22 June 2023

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