This essay considers selected responses to the Chinese Room Argument and Searle’s replies to those responses, with particular attention to how the arguments in question relate to his key assertions that a) syntax is not sufficient for semantics, and b) that the brain possesses causal powers which are necessary for understanding and cannot be replicated in a digital computer. It then discusses what recent neuroscience research can say about the Chinese Room, and ultimately decides that Searle does not sufficiently persuade us of his conclusion, and that the possibility of a machine- based intelligence is still up for grabs.
The field of Artificial Intelligence was founded upon an ambitious goal – to create machines that can think like humans. Since 2012 much well publicised progress has been made in narrow AI, but what of general artificial intelligence? This essay will cover different approaches to AGI development from four contemporary research groups – namely Numenta, DeepMind, CogPrime and NARS – contrasting their strategies and noting recent progress in each, before considering the future of AGI as a whole.