Can Machine Think? It is a book by John Locke wherein he poses the question, can man and computer ever work side by side, to solve a problem, for each is at odds with the other? I found this book intriguing because of its inquiry into how we became so attached to the machine that it may have become a prison for us?
One starts to realize the authors are asking us to imagine what it would be like if we were already computers, because in the end we are all computers, and in the end man is just a computer? Is this a thought provoking book? For sure not. It is a journey into the philosophical questions of man, and it may stir up some interesting responses to our own philosophy. It is a journey well worth taking.
Does man have the right to attach to a computer? Can a computer be more intelligent than a person? Can a system of control and information be considered the right way to govern society? These are interesting philosophical questions, which the author tries to answer in his entertaining and thought provoking book.
Can Machine Think is a provocative book. The author raises interesting questions, which get us thinking about what really is true, and what is possible. Questions such as, is man superior to a machine? Can machines replace human beings?
In one of the chapters, the author poses the question, “What is it that makes a computer think”? He points out that the mind of a machine does not have a memory like the human brain, yet, it does have the ability to store and recall information, solve problems, and perform calculations. This may provide some of the answers to the philosophical and ethical questions of life.
How can the computer system to be more intelligent than humans? How can one have both a mind and a body, at the same time? Can you think in one frame of reference, while your computer is doing something else? These are all fascinating and fundamental questions, which are the subject of Can Machine Think?
One of the problems with reading this book is that it is written in a very small format, with only about 200 pages. Some reviewers have suggested buying a couple of books on the subject, to fully grasp its content. However, I found that the writing style was too dense for my taste. I found myself not wanting to read more than a single page at a time, and then I would have to focus again on the intricate graphical representations.
Overall, I found that Can a Machine Think! answered many of the questions that I have had for years. It made me wonder if perhaps computers really could ever think, and whether or not that was even possible. Fortunately, I did not have to find out the answer to those questions, because Can Machine Think! provided an entertaining ride-along, and reminded me that I really should get to know the inner workings of a computer.
However, does the book answer the age-old question, Can machines think? I thought that the answer would be yes, but as I read through the engaging and interesting prose, I began to question if it was even possible to do so. The authors spend nearly a thousand words, answering the age-old question, and provide scientific evidence to support their claim. So, is it possible that they have uncovered the actual code that enables machines to think? They do present several different pieces of evidence that suggest that it is.
The first part of the book to discuss is a simple exploration of how computers think. Authors Berry and Martin take a close look at what the human mind can and cannot do. Basically, they pose the question, can computers use abstract thought and solve problems using a set of instructions? The authors answer in both Yes and No. They describe various programs they have developed, and show us what they are capable of doing, but they admit that one of their programs cannot be fully used by humans.
The second part of the book to focus on is more of a review of how computers think, and what types of things they can and cannot do. This section describes programs such as a simulator, which allows one to test a hypothesis without actually having to create a working program. It shows that there are two general ways to design a simulation, and that humans can easily create a complex simulation. They then go on to describe the way one can use the simulation to answer a question, or solve a certain problem. The section also goes into more detail about how these problems and questions can be solved by various different types of computers, and by humans as well.
The final part of the book to discuss how computer programs can think is a short article on what type of environment that would be needed, and what type of hardware would be necessary. Specifically, the authors touch on whether the computer needs to be connected to a human mind in order to let them think, and what kind of hardware is needed for this. Though the article does not go into great detail, it does provide an interesting peek at how computers might be able to think.