Artificial Intelligence

Published on April 29th, 2023 | by


Are Artificial Intelligence (AI) Devices Really Intelligent?

Many people were surprised when, recently, a poem (included below) was “composed” by an AI computer in the Artificial Intelligence Lab, Computer science department, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (India).

Some people insisted that it is conscious; it has emotions; it has understanding; and it is indeed intelligent; otherwise how can it compose such a nice poem?

The answer to the above raised question can be given by Searle’s arguments: In fact, computers can compose a poem in a mechanical manner without having any understanding of the actual meaning of the poem. This puzzle is captured in a famous paradox called Searle’s Chinese Room Paradox.

Searle imagines (Searle’s argument is generic, here it’s used in this specific context) that the AI computer is asked first of all to compose a poem in Chinese rather than English. He describes a thought experiment in which humans (who do not know Chinese) execute the steps of a computer program that accepts input queries in Chinese and gives out answers of the queries in Chinese. The questions and answers both of these are in Chinese whereas the humans who are simulating the computer themselves don’t understand Chinese.

Searle envisages these humans laboriously moving counters in such a way so as to act out all the detailed steps that the computer would perform.

All the operations of computer algorithm for this are supplied (in English) as a set of instructions for manipulating counters with Chinese symbols on them. If these (imagined) humans are asked to compose a poem in Chinese, they follow all the detailed steps that the computer would perform, and thus compose a poem in Chinese. Now it is clear that none of the humans involved in the thought experiment understand a single word of Chinese, so they will not have a faintest idea of what the poem is about, nevertheless, by correctly carrying out the series of operations (which AI computer is supposed to do), they are able to compose a poem in Chinese.

Therefore, the mere carrying out of a successful algorithm doesn’t in itself imply that any understanding has taken place. If on the basis of compositions of poem made by AI computers one insists that computer has done so by understanding power and emotions, then they must explain how, despite the fact that none of humans in the thought experiment understand Chinese, they are able to accept inputs and compose poem in the Chinese language.

The subject matter of consciousness is central to Vedanta. There it is proposed that intelligence of humans does not arise from any mechanistic process. Rather, it is arising directly from the conscious living force within the body – the soul. According to Vedantic Paradigm, even the brain is treated as non-intelligent. It is the consciousness, which uses the brain as its computing instrument, just like we use sometimes paper or calculator for computation. The interaction of the consciousness with intelligence, mind and senses is described in the Katha Upanisad (1.3.3.-4) as follows:

atmanam rathinam viddhi
sariram ratham eva ca
buddhim tu sarathim viddhi
manah pragraham eva ca

indriyani hayan ahur
visayms tesu gocaran
bhoktety ahur manisinah

“The individual is the passenger in the chariot of the material body, and the intelligence is the driver. Mind is the driving instrument, and the senses are the horses. The self is thus the enjoyer or the sufferer in the association of the mind and the senses.”

Lord Sri Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita 13.34:

atha prakasayaty ekah
krtsnam lokam imam ravih
ksetram ksetri tatha krtsnam
prakasayati bharata

O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does the soul, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness.


The Poem Composed by the “Intelligent” Computer:

The BPO Imbroglio
In the beginning, it was body shopping
from LOU, the Land of Uncertainties
to LOO, the Land of Opportunities.
The IT czars
TCS and Infy,
WIPRO and Sify,
shipped able bodies
to work under cyber daddies
on offshore platforms
and collect many a greenback,
while native hackers sweated
on archaic domains and platforms discarded.
Then came the
explosive bandwidth
and some roadwidth
along with goodies of
implosive taxes and duties,
and glass and aluminium facades
of call centers and cyber factories.
Thus grew the reverse tides
of terabytes of chores to
the backoffice girls and boys
and a quadrillion keystrokes
belted out in the byelanes of LOU
at ghostly hours
in gleaming towers
by youthful zombies
exported output at the speed of thought
to the head honchos of LOO.
SanJose to Chennai
NewYork to NOIDA,
Boston to Bangalore,
Oregon to Gurgaon
beat the drums of software destiny.
These giant waves of outsourcing
were immense job loss causing
said Kerry the Heinz King
triggering a debate in LOO
to settle which
the wise men of Washington
set up a Senate sub-committee on anti-BPO
chaired by an expat Indian Angelo
and hired a Bangalore startup
to provide the background research prop-up !
The BPO Imbroglio might
turn a full cycle.
Facing a mounting inflow
of Caucasian minds and bodies
into the swelling job market
in Cyberabad, Cybalore and Cybennai,
the smart Indian techie alecs
may yet look overseas
to the CHEAPER labour pools
to outsource
the imported chores
back to
LOO the Land Once of Opportunities !

Tags: , ,

About the Author

12 Responses to Are Artificial Intelligence (AI) Devices Really Intelligent?

  1. Vicky Sharma says:

    Prabhu ji srilla prabhupada says it is not possible to become pure devotee without dust of the lotus feet of the bonafide representative of lord.
    So my question is now do I have to find a person bhagwat?

  2. Linda Wardl says:

    God works in many strange and mysterious ways, his wonders to behold. I think Krsna had a hand in operating the computer that wrote these words. The words are like a prophecy which speak about the demise of the present materialistic; capitalistic and technological system that is `running’ this planet and getting worse every minute. The piece of robotic prose has the name Kerry in it which is my maiden name! ha. I have written and illustrated a book of prose about the modern world and how we are destroying it and the life upon it but at the end of the book there is a mention of hope through waking up spiritually from the material dream. I have called my book “A Silver Thread of Thought” So far it is one of three books I have written and illustrated, and one of my books is for children. Krsna has inspired me to produce these books and the words point in his direction like a compass that points east! Jai.

  3. divyat says:

    please acccept my scientific formula glorifying lord which i was thinking some day. it is based on calculas .

    i say to the best mathematician of the world -describe a function whose derivative and anti derivative are same or tell the function f(x) where f'(x)=F(X) . he says that there is no such function. but then i say

    assume f(x) to contain all the activities taking place in all universes of lord krishna then f'(x) or rate of change of all activities in universes is equal to lord krishna and F(X) or the function whose rate of change will determine rate of change of f(x) or that function whose rate of change affects changes in universe is also lord krishna as all universes are made from lord krishna and so due to his rate of change change occur in universes and since all universes are his expansions so rate of changes in these universes actually are equal to him . so the function of universal activities has derivative and anti derivative both equal to lord sri krishna . and then the mathematician gets puzzeled .

    nice one isn’t it?

  4. V.Balasubramanian says:

    Pranhuji: From all your mails, I sense that you are very much antagonised against the people doing charity in India. The immense work of charity carried on by temples and organisations relieve the sufferings of the poor though they are suffering the results of their karma. Take for instance yourself: if you see a human meeting with an accident, will you not take him to a hospital or leaving him saying that he suffers his karmic reactions, in which case you will be inviting a karmic reaction. According to Dharma if you turn a blind eye to the suffering of others, you are creating a sin. With anantakoti pranams. manian

    • I am not antagonistic against anyone. I am simply stating that you can not help people by simply performing mundane charity work. This can not change their karma, it can not help them actually. Of course this mundane welfare work is pious activity and you do generate good karma from helping others in this way. But devotees do not want good karma also. Good karma means those people you help owe you a debt and they will have to come back and take birth in the material world again to return that debt to you and you will also have to take birth in the material world and you have to receive that payment back from the people you helped.

      So good karma or bad karma, it really does not matter much, in both cases you are forced to take birth in the material world again and get old and sick and die again and this continues the cycle of samsara, the cycle of birth and death for you forever.

      I am trying to explain that devotees do not do this mundane welfare work. They have no interest in getting good karma. A devotee works in such a way that his activities do not generate any karma. That is possible if all our activities are performed in the service of Krishna. For when we serve Krishna there is no karmic reaction to such work. The result of serving Krishna is that our hearts become purified and the karma which is stored within our hearts is washed away. The example given to explain this is that of seeds. If you take a seed and plant it in the ground it will sprout and produce a plant. But if you first fry the seed in some hot oil then if you plant it nothing will grow. So this process of Krishna consciousness has the effect of frying the seeds of karma, both good and bad, that are stored in our hearts so we are no longer forced to experience the reactions that we would normally have to.

      So devotees have no interest in serving the poor or feeding the hungry. There interest is to help all living entities by awakening the dormant Krishna consciousness that is within them. That is the real welfare work and that will really help the people. On the other hand this mundane charity work can not help anyone in the long run. It does not help the people who receive the charity because it does not have the potency to change their karma so they will still suffer exactly the same amount as if they did not receive the charity. So it does not help them. It may appear to reduce one type of suffering but then another suffering will come to take its place. So there is no good effect from this mundane charity.

      As you say in India there is immense work of charity carried out by the temples for so many years yet nowadays there are even more suffering people than ever before. So they are spending so much money on this charity work but really it is not having any effect. It is not solving the problem.

      The problem can only be solved by Krishna consciousness. That is why Krishna consciousness is the best welfare activity.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • Linda Ward says:

        Charity work may temporarily relieve the suffering of people but it doesnt solve their long term problems which arise out of lack of knowledge and surrender to Krsna. There are always kind people who like to do charitable work for mankind and help others, but if their service is just about keeping people alive, clothed and comfortable then no one makes any spiritual progress and everyone stays in the big wheel of samsara. Iit is quite obvious that the world is lacking VERY greatly in Krsna consciousness, and devotees who are prepared to go out and teach Krsna consciousness are giving the highest service that can be given to mankind. If a devotee is running a project for homeless people and those people are given food, shelter, spiritual knowledge and prasadam then that goes beyond just charity work and everyone gets real benefit.Jai

  5. surya akella says:

    Mahn the poem’s AWESOME MAHN AWESOME.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Back to Top ↑