Monday, April 11, 2016

Daniel Dennett, AI Philosopher

Daniel Dennett is one of the foremost AI philosophers. 

Is it possible in principle to make such a robotic bird? I think possible in principle.
What would it cost? Oh much more than sending people to the moon.  It will dwarf the Manhattan Project. It would be a huge effort and we wouldn’t learn that much.

My sense is that the trajectory of philosophy is to work on very fundamental questions that haven't yet been turned into scientific questions. Once you get really clear about what the questions are, and what would count as an answer, that's science. Philosophy no longer has a role to play. That's why it looks like there's just no progress. The progress leaves the field. If you want to ask if there has been progress in philosophy, I'd say, look around you. We have departments of biology and physics. That's where the progress is. We should be very proud that our discipline has spawned all these others.

The intentional stance is the strategy of interpreting an object as an agent with beliefs, desires and rationality. You can adopt the intentional stance towards a person, an animal, a thermostat – which ‘wants’ to maintain a certain temperature, and regularly updates its ‘belief’ about what the current temperature is – or, more interestingly, a chess-playing computer, which ‘knows’ the rules, has true ‘beliefs’ about the positions of the pieces on the board and ‘wants’ to win.


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