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See the previous post here.

Consciousness as an emergent phenomenon

If you spend some time watching termites, bees or ants, you’ll be amazed how complex are the processes they’re going through everyday. Especially ants like Attina, that are farming fungi for food. This is something, isn’t it? And they don’t understand what they are doing. A mass of clueless insects cooperating in projects that amaze us — humans with brains.

Phenomena such as these can lead to a conclusion that what we’re experiencing is just an emergent process of cooperation of billions of clueless cells in our brain (or, for…


What has philosophy to do with AI?

The main question behind the theory of Artificial Intelligence is a philosophical one: what does it mean to be human? There are many other more specific questions, however all of them are linked to this fundamental one. How to emulate human learning processes in the machine? Can machines become conscious? What does it mean to be “conscious”? Should we let machines make moral decisions? Does the “free will” exist? What is the relation between human knowledge and the real world?

We don’t have certain (“scientific”) answers to all of these questions, but without…


Everyone likes a good story

You probably know the famous scene in Mad Men, where Don Draper presents Kodak’s “Carousel”. I remember it very well, as when it came out I was working in an agency where everyone was watching the series and wanted to be like Don. What the brilliant Creative Director from Sterling Cooper was doing is called “storytelling” and it has a central place in marketing, even when it changes and becomes data- or even AI-driven.

In traditional marketing you basically had to guess about the right strategy to attract new customers and to appeal to existing ones. If you made money…


In Plato’s dialogue “Phaedrus”, Socrates tells a myth about the invention of writing. According to the myth, Theuth, the god of arts and sciences, presented writing to the god-king Thamus, as something that would “make the Egyptians wiser and give them better memories”. The king replied that humans would not benefit from this invention “This discovery,” said Thamus “will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust the external written characters and not remember of themselves”.

Plato seems to agree with this view, however he wasn’t exactly following it, as he was…


In 1942, a few years before the birth of Artificial Intelligence, Isaac Asimov formulated the Three Laws of Robotics, a set of rules to govern a world in which it is possible to build advanced robots.

Are robots capable of making moral decisions?

Asimov’s Laws are quite simple:

  1. a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm;
  2. a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law;
  3. a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or…


In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy there is a famous scene in which a super intelligent computer, Deep Thought, is asked the “Ultimate Question to Life, the Universe, and Everything” and determines the answer is 42.

Since we don’t know the “real” answer to this question, we can’t rule out the possibility that Deep Thought was right.

Natural Language Processing

In 1966, Joseph Weizenbaum presented a computer program for natural language processing, named ELIZA, which used the pattern matching technique to simulate a live person. …


The distinction between strong and weak Artificial Intelligence is related to the question raised in the 1950’s: can machines such as computers become conscious and think like humans? Strong AI is basically a positive answer to this question. In 1950 Alan Turing described a set of conditions that, when fulfilled, would mean that machines reached the human level of intelligence.

Can a computer think?

For Turing, what we call intelligence was just a matter of our perception — computers are not different than the human mind in quality and the only difference lies in computing power. If a computer can do any “purely intellectual”…


Pexels.com

A court in Poland has just sentenced a local farmer to jail for animal cruelty. The farmer was selling fish (carp) in a Christmas market, killing them on a stand with a little guillotine. (Here’s the link to the article in Polish). Carp in Poland are maybe the most important traditional Christmas Eve dish, so the controversy is raised every year; this is the first time such a case was actually ruled on by a court of law.

Let’s start with the technical aspect of the case. The judge explained in the sentence that the farmer should have stunned the…


The game of chess has been viewed as an indicator of human intelligence for centuries. Strategic thinking, which is critical in chess, represents in a sense the core of what we consider to be intelligence — information processing and adaptation to the changing conditions of the environment. With each move, the chess player makes dozens of calculations, comparing possible scenarios that a given move makes possible.

So you think you can play chess

It’s no wonder that the idea of a chess-playing machine long dominated the dream of creating artificial intelligence. At the end of the eighteenth century, Hungarian inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen presented the Austrian imperial…

Olgierd Sroczynski

Ethics | Anthropology | Philosophy of Mind and Language | Data Analysis | https://www.linkedin.com/in/olgierds

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