Re: PHIL/AI: Humongous Lookup Table

Eugene Leitl (
Tue, 11 Feb 1997 20:25:02 +0100 (MET)

On Tue, 11 Feb 1997, Max More wrote:

> At 04:39 PM 2/10/97 -0800, Hal wrote:
> >
> >My idea is to suggest that you're not "really" conversing with the table.
> [snip]>
> >I think that the HLT can be thought of in the same way. It is a conduit
> >to the person or program which was used to create the HLT. When we talk
> >to the HLT, we're really talking to that program.
> >
> >In this light, the HLT is not really a challenge to the Turing test because
> >we're not really talking to the HLT at all. The HLT attracts our attention
> >so that we forget about the program which was used to create it. That is
> >where the mind actually is.
> I like the way you put this, Hal, and it seems correct to me. The lookup
> table case has always been annoying since it's hard to grant it true
> awareness. However, it never really bothered me too much since I'm a
> functionalist not a behaviorist. The Turing Test assumes functionalism.
> The importance of the lookup table example also seemed less important
> because it is surely implausible to build a functional intelligence that
> uses a look up table. As you note, the number of possible conversations is
> too large. Still, citing the lookup table as possible *in principle* left
> it as a bothersome example (on the assumption of behaviorism). I think your
> explanation of what's going on with a table puts the example to rest.

I am not sure the lookup table business can be disposed of thus easily.
If we consider the lookup table to define a discrete Hamiltonian over
entire system state space, it obviously describes a physical system
exhaustively, its entire dynamics. Since a human is a physical system, a
lookup table can certainly describe his evolution. The answer lies in the
size of the table -- it is superastronomic (not enough matter in the
universe to construct anything interesting). That a lookup table
intuitively cannot be intelligent is an artefact of our intuition, having
about the same relevance as that against Searle's chinese room gedanken
experiment, imo.