Turing’s choice: Human and artificial volition (2004)

Alexander Riegler

First global conference "Artificial intelligence: Exploring critical issues" in Vienna, Austria, 20-22 October 2003

[From the Introduction] Already more than 50 years ago Alan Turing (1950) set out to correct the view that a machine is not human-like until “it can write a sonnet… [however] not only write it but know that it had written it.” His solution, however, to settle at the “polite convention that everyone thinks” in order to prevent us from falling prey to solipsism, did not catch on among proponents of A.I. If we declare fellow humans equipped with free will there will be no reason to assume that we have to exclude sophisticated artifacts from becoming conscious as well. Let us reconsider the “polite convention” by picking up the idea that we indeed cognitively construct our world. This perspective rests on the insight that cognition is an organizationally closed system, a network of dynamically interacting elements whose properties are solely determined by the properties of other elements. However, what appears to be a solipsistic position – the one Turing warned us to take – is merely agnostic in a Wittgensteinian sense. How so?