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The Escape of the Mind$
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Howard Rachlin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199322350

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199322350.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 April 2021

Making IBM’s Computer Watson Human

Making IBM’s Computer Watson Human

Chapter:
(p.131) 10 Making IBM’s Computer Watson Human
Source:
The Escape of the Mind
Author(s):

Howard Rachlin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199322350.003.0010

The victory of an IBM computer (Watson) in the TV game show Jeopardy is used to speculate on the abilities Watson would need to be considered human. The chapter’s premise is that to be human is to behave as humans behave and to function in society as humans function. Alternatives to this premise are considered and rejected. From the viewpoint of teleological behaviorism, essential human attributes such as consciousness, the ability to love, to feel pain, to sense, and to imagine may all be possessed by a computer (although Watson does not currently have them). Most crucially, a computer may possess self-control and may act altruistically. However, the computer’s appearance, its ability to make specific movements, its possession of particular internal structures, and the presence of any non-material “self” are all incidental to its humanity. The chapter is followed by two perceptive commentaries by other psychologists and the author’s reply.

Keywords:   altruism, consciousness, humanity, imagination, love, pain, self, self-control, Watson (IBM computer)

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