Saudi Arabia recently granted the status of citizenship to a robot, Sophia. Read this article about Sophia and watch the video below to see her speak to a live audience. Given recent advancements in the development of sophisticated AI, what conditions would be necessary for you to consider such AI to be 'persons'? If you would not consider them persons under any conditions, explain why you would not. In your answer, include specific reference to one or both of the excerpts from John R. Searle on pgs. 355-356 of our text. How does he view the idea of AI as persons/potential persons?
NB: Often in this thread, students write comments such as 'AI will never be human' or 'no, I do not and will not ever consider AI to be human.' BUT!!! Note that we are discussing whether AI should be considered persons, not humans. Clearly, to be human means to have human DNA etc., so, AI cannot be human. Make sure to focus your comments on the potential personhood of AI.
Make sure to follow the instructions given in Unit 1 in the Discussion Forums: Protocol and Grading Criteria folder for making specific references to texts, videos, and podcasts; posts that do not make references according to these instructions will not receive full credit.
Weller, Chris. “Meet the Fist-Ever Robot Citizen – A Humanoid Named Sophia That Once Said It Would 'Destroy Humans'.” Business Insider. 27 Oct. 2017. Meet Sophia, the robot citizen that said it would 'destroy humans' – Business Insider. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.
“Interview with the Lifelike Hot Robot Named Sophia.” YouTube, uploaded by CNBC, 25 Oct. 2017. Interview With The Lifelike Hot Robot Named Sophia (Full) | CNBC – YouTube. Accessed 19 Aug. 2020.
1- For Eduardo Cuentas
Under no conditions will I accept Artificial intelligence capable of "personhood". I will not accept it because AI is a technological creation that is not biological. AI at its best attempt to achieve "personhood" will merely attempt to imitate what someone interprets as the requirements to achieve personhood.
Within the book “Introducing Philosophy” page 335, John R Stearle states “We know from the [previous] argument digital computer programs by themselves are never sufficient to produce mental states. Now since brains do produce minds, and since programs by themselves can't produce minds it follows that the way the brain does it can't be by simply instantiating a computer program. “ In this statement Stearle presents the concept that digital computer programs are not able to sufficiently provide mental states or a naturally functioning brain.
“As computers and robots become more common, as common as telephones, washing machines, and forklift trucks, it seems likely that this aura will disappear and people will take computers for what they are, namely useful machines.” This segment shows that Stearle believes that these machines should be put back into their placehood of useful and powerful machines, however not powerful enough, to possess a natural mind.
Countless questions come to mind when discussing the topic of artificial intelligence and personhood. One of the questions that stick out to me is, what considers a person a person? One can understand by watching the video provided, Sophia the robot is very personable as she can answer questions, as well as show facial expressions related to the topics discussed. It is an extraordinary creation. Sophia does appear to look and function as a person. On the contrary, after reading the passage from our text, “The Myth of the Computer” one can understand there is more to consider a person a person. I do not consider Sophia the robot as a person. Artificial intelligence utilizes computer programs as well as algorithms to create this “personable” robot. Yes, Sophia has all the attributes of being a person, but she is unable to think for herself. As stated by Searle, “digital computer programs by themselves are never sufficient to produce mental states.” (Solomon, 2020) Sophia reminds me of an Alexa or an Echo Dot, she can create Natural Language Processing. When combined with facial expressions and other personable characteristics, Sophia appears to look and function as a person. Can you imagine giving citizenship to your Alexa? I believe for a robot to be considered a person; it needs to be able to think for itself. Humans can solve problems as well as critically think. Searle creates such a wonderful depiction of how computer software works. One can understand how computer software is also used to create artificial intelligence, and how it is a limited aspect of functionalism.
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