Thursday, September 15, 2016

Ex Machina Discussion


Ex Machina

Get into groups.  Discuss all of the mind questions.  Then discuss one of the Ethics/Gender/Sexuality questions.  Pick a spokesperson.

Mind Questions

  1. Is the Original Turing Test (are Ava's answers distinguishable from a human's?) a good test for consciousness and mind?
  2. Is the New Turing Test (can Ava get Caleb to help her escape?) a better test for consciousness and mind?
  3.  Does Ava appear to lack any capacity that's crucial for real consciousness and mind?

Ethics/Gender/Sexuality Questions

  1. Is it wrong for Nathan to turn off Ava when he develops a new model?
  2. Do the AIs in the movie have rights?
  3. Could AIs really have genders?
  4. Is it wrong for Nathan to use the AIs for sex?



(1) Substance Dualism (Rene Descartes)
  • To have mental states (like seeing red), you need a soul.  It's the soul that sees red.
  • Descartes thought soul and brain interacted through the pineal gland
  • Ava, in Ex Machina, couldn't have mental states unless she has a soul.

(2) Physicalism (JJC Smart)
  • To have mental states (like seeing red), you must have a brain, and don't need a soul.  It's the brain itself that sees red. Mental states are identical to brain states.
  • The biological science of the brain will eventually explain each and every type of mental state.  We will understand that feeling hot is this particular brain state, seeing red is that brain state, etc.
  • Ava, in Ex Machina, doesn't have a biological brain, so couldn't have mental states.
(3) Functionalism 
  • To have mental states, you don't need a brain or a soul. Mental states are functional states, likes braking is a functional state.  Any system can have mental states if it functions in the right way.
  • The science that explains mental states will be computer science, not brain science.
  • An AI like Ava in Ex Machina, could (in principle) function so as to have mental states.

(4) Naturalistic Dualism (David Chalmers, next week)

(5) Epiphenomenalism (Frank Jackson, next week)

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