Introduction to The Last Dream by Joseph Weizenbaum
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We are now fullfilling the last dream by creating an artificial intelligence, that is by constructing an artefact that is to function like the human mind. Weizenbaum’s intention is discussing whether or not there are aspects of reality about which science cannot alone inform us. A closely related question is whether there is such a thing as dangerous knowledge and, if there is, such a thing as forbidden knowledge.1
In an article from 1950 entitled “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” Turing stated that it was his conviction that computers should be able to imitate human behaviour perfectly and that this goal would be attained by the year 2000. The article from 1950 presented a method of defining intelligence; the so-called Turing test.2
A person placed in one room and a computer in another. Both are able to communicate with the outside world but only through the medium of typewritten texts. Another person is placed in a third room and, after questioning both these intelligences’, has...