‘A Perfect and Beautiful Machine’: What Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Reveals About Artificial Intelligence

Daniel C. Dennett writing at The Atlantic:

Charles Darwin and Alan Turing, in their different ways, both homed in on the same idea: the existence of competence without comprehension.

As a career software engineer, and a longtime fan of the sciences, I find this essay fascinating. Of course, Turing was right. Speaking only for myself, I’ve been creating software with high levels of competency for decades, but comprehension? Zero. But then again, I don’t work in a field attempting such. People who do in those fields are making great progress.

In the end, however, I think Dennett nails it in the last paragraph:

Turing’s strange inversion of reason, like Darwin’s, goes against the grain of millennia of earlier thought. If the history of resistance to Darwinian thinking is a good measure, we can expect that long into the future, long after every triumph of human thought has been matched or surpassed by “mere machines,” there will still be thinkers who insist that the human mind works in mysterious ways that no science can comprehend.

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