News and Events

Tang Chun-I Visiting Professorship Public Lecture: The Meaning of Thought – Limits of A.I.

Please register by 5pm, 19 February 2021 to attend the public lecture.


Much contemporary artificial intelligence (A.I.) research neglects to investigate the nature of its key object of study: intelligence. In this lecture, I intend to compensate for this neglect by offering an ontology of intelligence so as to determine to which extent A.I.-systems can be rightly described as intelligent. A.I. research frequently operates with an “efficiency” sense of intelligence, which associates this property with a system’s measurable problem-solving capacity. By invoking the thesis of biological externalism, according to which our mentalistic vocabulary is essentially tied to picking out behaviors of biological life forms, I argue that ascriptions of mental properties to non-living systems are categorially inappropriate, given how relating to a problem space to begin with necessarily builds on indispensable biological parameters. In this context, I will argue that A.I.-systems are thought-models, which should not be understood as thinking-models: it makes no sense to attribute intelligence to such models outside of the context of our intelligent use of them for our own problem-solving ends. The actual bearer of intelligence in A.I.-systems, thus, turns out to be the hybrid human-machine-interface which is structured by both human use of technology and A.I.-programs. Finally, I maintain that thought itself is a sense modality, which is bound to inherently contextual forms of understanding and that these cannot be replaced by any kind of non-biological A.I.-system.

Delieved in English
All are welcome