Am I machine enough for Deep Blue?
Cognitive Daily: does beating humans in chess qualify machines as creative? While noting that we have a habit of moving the goalposts on these human v. machine challenges, Dave Munger says he's unwilling to bet against it. He also links to a post from Jonah Lehrer of Seed Magazine, who argues that efficiency ought to be considered when thinking about the "humanity" of Deep Blue.
I'm a little more skeptical of Deep Blue's psychological realism. The set of linked mainframes was capable of analyzing over 200 million possible chess moves per second. Kasparov's brain, on the other hand, only evaluated about five moves per second. This difference in processing power leads to profound differences in computational efficiency. Deep Blue is a fire hazard, and requires specialized heat-dissipating equipment to keep it cool during chess matches. Meanwhile, Kasparov barely breaks a sweat. His biological computer is a model of efficiency. So that's one thing evolution gets you.
Knowing what we know about the indispensability of emotion to thought, sentient or reflective action may not depend at all on crunching the numbers. In his book, Reconstructing the Cognitive World, Michael Wheeler argues that biology rather than sheer brainpower endows us with creativity and that a philosophy of mind focused on reason applied to brain representation is somewhere north of the point. Our bodies make meaning.
Once I can sum up some of Wheeler's thinking, I'll pass it along here.
Frankly, I am not sure that I'd recognize a truly creative machine If I encountered one, but intelligence - not to speak of humanity - is surely found in carbon, not silica. And as Lehrer suggests, functional accounts of intelligence might ascribe thoughtfulness to machines but it also, sadly, lowers the standard for intelligent behavior in one significant way.
The fact is, I'm not machine enough to avoid dumb mistakes. Will Deep Blue have pity on me?