A very nice thought experiment (and real experiment) that clearly indicates the limitations of AI. Of course the AI enthusiasts would respond by saying this only demonstrates the limitations of current speech recognition software. Once such software is developed further even distorted human speech will be translatable by a computer. I tend to agree that they are correct in this belief. Ultimately speech and speech recognition can be optimized to a degree that a computer should be able to equal or even surpass human capabilities. For a significantly sophisticated computer even language or dialect would pose little difficulty in translation.

Where I diverge strongly from the AI community is in the belief that this input (speech, language) could be translated to understanding. Further it seems downright impossible that a computer could “understand” and act upon said words. At least not act in ways consistent with a human understanding of them. Understanding and true knowledge require a base concept of feelings and emotion. A physical recognition of feelings requires a body. A body capable of experiencing the world. Emotions are even more complex. An intelligent being would need a physical body that experiences things and a system/process for converting these experiences into outputs/actions.

The current focus of AI research totally neglects the importance of the body in grounding and supporting intelligence. It operates under the false belief that the mind is the only requirement for intelligence. Until this logical fallacy is addressed AI will only ever be a shadow of true intelligence.

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Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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