Andrew And The Mind

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's November 2001

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Andrew and the Mind "Bicentennial Man"� was written by Isaac Asimov to celebrate America's bicentennial in 1976. Originally planned as the first in a three part series, the story ended up as a standalone piece. We are all better off, as it stands "Bicentennial Man"� is perhaps the greatest science fiction piece written. However, the question before us is not whether or not this is a great story, that much is obvious, the question is "does Andrew have a mind?"� I would argue that Andrew certainly has a mind. He could certainly pass the Turing test as well as overcome the Chinese room problem. He fulfills Searle's criteria that only certain types of machines can think, mainly ones with internal causal powers. Andrew also displays several characteristics that are only ascribed to human minds. With all this evidence, it is evident that Andrew did, in fact, have a mind.

Andrew most definitely has a mind.

Firstly, Andrew could pass the Turing test. The Turing test, devised by A. M. Turing, is the definitive test for determining whether or not a machine has mind. The test, called by Turing the "Imitation Game,"� consists of 3 players. One player is an interrogator and the other two, being of opposite sex, are placed in a separate room. The object of the game is for the interrogator to determine which player is the female and which is the male. Extrapolating the game out to include a human and a computer, the object then becomes which player is human and which is a computer. The key for the computer is to be able to imitate human behavior. Now, if Andrew was placed in the room, could he successfully imitate human behavior? Yes, he could, and did. While Asimov's characters are not real people, they...