I was very interested to see the pop up magazine Unruly Bodies edited by Roxane Gay here on Medium recently. It features/featured a selection of articles written by various authors from different backgrounds all curated by miss Gay. She summed up her intention with the magazine by writing “…. to create a space for writers I respect and admire to contribute to the ongoing conversation about unruly bodies and what it means to be human. I asked twenty-four talented writers to respond to the same prompt: what does it mean to live in an unruly body?” (emphasis mine)
As a writer who has thought much about the body and its likely role with respect to the possibility of artificial intelligence I was intrigued. My regular reader(s) know(s) I happen to believe that having a physical “body” with “sensory organs/apparatus” is a requirement for anything to be capable of having intelligence/being intelligent. To clarify some, having/experiencing sensations/feelings is not enough, to be intelligent a thing must have an actual physical body as the kinethestics of movement through 3-dimensional (or other dimensional) space is also needed (simulated movement or simulated experience of movement is not good enough either). However, my intention here is not to delve into the complicated philosophical and scientific arguments that support this position but rather to remark on the ease, and I would argue, carelessness with which proponents of concepts like ‘machine learning’ and artificial intelligence omit the body, or any consideration of it, from their discussions of such things. The machines that ‘learn’ are always just computers or perhaps robotic/automated systems and ‘artificial intelligences’ are always disembodied computer programs that ‘live’ in our smartphones or control our cities street lights, or drive our automated vehicles. The ridiculousness of calling a car driving computer program intelligent never once crosses the minds of said people, nor does the fact that machine learning is a term composed of two words that when combined in that order result in a logical contradiction and something which is logically impossible, a learning machine. Machines cannot learn for if they did they would no longer be machines. I should add a shortcut key to my keyboard for those last two sentences for I cannot recount the number of times I have typed them in the past two years.
To miss Gay I say good luck with your magazine and I applaud your efforts but I am afraid you are way behind the times with your topic of choice. Next time try unruly machines. You will definitely get more clicks if nothing else.