Why Minds are Not Like Computers

If you have any interest in intelligent algorithms Ari Schulman has an article worth reading in the Winter 2009 volume of The new Atlantis. I am not particularly fascinated with what some think of as Artificial Intelligence; I can’t stand the term, to be frank, and hold the acronym in no higher esteem. But I am very fond of algorithms which occasionally seem to be intelligent, particularly as they apply to gaming and game theory. And seeming to be intelligent is, as Schulman reminds us, all the Turing Test requires. Having written a fairly popular backgammon game for Windows back in the early 90’s I have some direct experience of how much easier it is to opine on the idea of decomposing complex thought processes into rules and procedures than to actually do it. In a cogent and well-written tour of the last thirty years of thinking in the field of intelligent programs, Schulman applies his insights about the nature of mind and machine, and comes up with some convincing reasons why a layered, modular, procedural description of intelligence continues to be an ellusive goal.

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