Hey pit people, I'm writing an essay for school about the question "Can A Machine Know?"

It'd be interesting to hear what you all think about it...and plus there's gotta be someone a lot smarter than me in the pit that could give me a new perspective to consider for my essay.

Fire away!
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I don't get it...

More detail please...
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it can know 1 or 0 about a kajillion times
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Can a machine know what? I believe a machine will only be able to perform what its owner will give it the capability to perform. I believe it is impossible to have a machine that is capable of personal thought and free will. You can give it a way to respond to thousands of series of events and commands, but as far as knowing like a human, no.
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Can a machine know what?
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Well a machine's only as smart as its creators right? But machines don't really have judgement or decision making on the level that humans to. So, although your question is incrediibly vague, I'd say machines can not know, because they do not have a mind of their own.
computers do not know. they can store, but all a computer see's is binary, 1 and 0, on and off, yes and no. they do not 'think', and what appears to be a computer thinking is clever programming
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Man will eventually be able to make a machine that can change and adapt by itself, in my opinion it's almost inevitable, and when that happens, that surely will give machines the ability to know. Don't get me wrong, I agree with people saying machines can only do what you design them to, but some genius/idiot (however you see it), will most probably design a machine that can "think", react and perform by judgements.
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Quote by Gemini
Can a machine know what?

i think what hes trying to get at, is can a machine be self-sufficient and think for itself, carry emotions and such.

and, to be honest i think machines are very limited to the creators capabilities and creative instinct

theres my input on it
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Define "know", define "machine", define "can"...

Does knowing require consciousness? Are humans machines, conscious or otherwise? Will anything else develop consciousness? Is the question more like WILL machines "know"? Is knowledge strictly human?
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Sorry for the apparent vagueness, but that's the exact wording of the question I was given (yes uncreative it's for TOK, and I'm doing it because it does seem pretty difficult. I guess I like a challenge?)

Basically, the point of the question is for me to define 'know' and 'machine' and somehow make a reasoned, logical argument about it. I don't think there are right or wrong answers, but there are good and bad arguments. As Nick Naylor would say, "That's the beauty of argument. If you argue correctly, you're never wrong".

Anyway, my first reaction to the question was very similar to the way most people here have responded. As musicians, I suppose we would all like to reject the idea that a machine could ever rival humans in terms of things such as creativity or emotion. None of us are very comfortable with the idea of a computer playing guitar with as much emotion as Robert Johnson, SRV, Jimmy Page, Satch or whoever your guitar idol might happen to be.

But I've read around the subject a little, and there's some pretty interesting theories out there. One of the most intriguing comes from this dude called Daniel Dennett (who coincidentally enough looks just like Santa's evil brother). Anyway, he believes that the human brain is a biological machine that has achieved a level of complexity that gives the impression of consciousness. From what I understand, he explains that 'emotions' are just a byproduct of this evolution (remember that emotions such as love have been scientifically reduced to an abundance of certain "neutrophins"...I have no idea what they are but hey it was from Wikipedia so it couldn't possibly be wrong).

This of course begs the question, could an incredibly complex computer also seem to have "consciousness", and if so, emotion?

And that's all I have to say...about that.

Um, any thoughts?
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Last edited by jase_connor at Feb 5, 2007,