Neuroscience & Mind Icon Neuroscience & Mind

Dembski: Descartes Understood the Limits of Artificial Intelligence

William Dembski

The new Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence is deeply informed by the work of William Dembski. It would have been amazing to hear him deliver the opening comments at last week’s inauguration of the Center, here in Seattle. But I am very sorry to report that Bill’s mother was, as he knew, days away from death and this of course kept him from being with us. You can read his beautiful tribute to Ursula Dembski here.

But the Center’s director, Robert Marks, read Dembski’s address to us, and it is remarkable, both profound and humane.

Dembski explains the permanent inadequacy of machines in mimicking human intelligence and he traces his thinking on this to its roots in Descartes who understood it already in the 17th century. But as Dembski goes on to say, the purpose of the Bradley Center is not just to rebuke hype about AI, or to warn about the peril that is its flipside — treating human beings as machines. There is a central positive agenda for the Center, emphasizing “digital wellness,” education, “appropriate technologies,” and entrepreneurship.

You can read the rest in full now — “How Humans Can Thrive in a World of Increasing Automation” — at the Mind Matters site. Please do so.

Photo: William Dembski, by László Bencze.