Automation and Conversation: Wittgenstein and Turing on ‘Cultural Searches’ and “Common Sense
Juliet Floyd (Boston University)

June 23, 2018, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
MIT

32-D461 (4th floor seminar room)
32 Vasser St
Cambridge
United States

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All are welcome to attend this public talk at MIT as part of the PIKSI summer program!

Abstract: Discussion of Alan Turing has focused on his contributions to developing and implementing the idea of a stored-program computer, his work in cryptography and Artificial Intelligence, and his discussions of the nature of mind and mechanism. His famed “Turing Test” has been taken to advocate a reductive, computationalist mechanism about the brain and the mind, i.e., functionalism. This is thought to point forward toward a possible “singularity” in which machines perform most or all of human labor. The real Turing was a philosopher of the foundations of logic and mathematics, following a longstanding Cambridge philosophical tradition. He insisted on the importance of “common sense”: a malleable, yet fundamental concept he often invoked, influenced above all by Wittgenstein, whom he in turn influenced. Turing’s fascination with what he called “the cultural search” provides us with a novel perspective on the role and nature of automation, conversation and emerging media in our computationally-driven world.

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