Hi, I'm Tim Tyler - and today I will be discussing the term
"Strong AI" - and why you should probably avoid using it.
Origin of the term
"Strong AI" is terminology originally invented by the machine
intelligence sceptic John Searle.
He used "The weak AI hypothesis" to refer to the idea that machine
intelligences only act as though they think and have minds.
He used "The strong AI hypothesis" to refer to the idea that
machine intelligences actually think and have minds.
The rhetorical point was that the strong AI hypothesis was a
made claims that went beyond the weak AI hypothesis - and was
indistinguishable from it experimentally - therefore you should prefer
the weak AI hypothesis, because it is more conservative - and does not
make additional claims that are not justified by the experimental
Of course, this distinction is an idiotic one - but that's not the
point of this video.
What happened next is that people overheard experts
discussing the strong AI hypothesis. Naturally they were not
able to make much sense of what they heard: if it walks like a duck
and quacks like a duck then why not just call it a duck?
However, they could tell that the machine intelligence supporters were
saying that the machines were "strong" and that the sceptics were
saying that they were "weak". The natural conclusion was that the
terms "strong" and "weak" had something to do with the capabilities of
the machine intelligences - rather than refering to the strengths of
hypotheses, as originally intended.
Machine intelligences do not necessarily have muscles - so calling
them "strong" makes little sense - except that "strong" could be
regarded as being part of an analogy with the term "powerful".
However, this new usage made just enough sense to catch on -
and it eventually eclipsed John Searle's original intended
I think the terminology is as stupid as its origins suggest. Calling
an AI "intelligent", "smart" or "powerful" would make sense - but the
term "strong" is just silly.
The term "Strong AI" is practically useless in John Searle's original
sense - because the concept it refers to is a pointless one.
It is practically useless in the context of a powerful machine
intelligence, because of the ambiguity with John Searle's terminology -
and because "strong" is a dreadful synonym for "smart".
I think that the best thing to do is avoid the terminology altogether.
One of the main effects of using it is to give the impression to
people such as myself that you do not really know what you are talking