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What Is It Like to Be a Bot?
January/February 2006 (vol. 8 no. 1)
pp. 96
Francis Sullivan, IDA Center for Computing Sciences
Our title is a take-off on Thomas Nagel's profound and famous piece, "What Is It Like to Be a Bat?," which first appeared in The Philosophical Review in 1974 and has been cited hundreds of times since. (Google finds 67,000 hits!) His point is that it's impossible to know what it's like to be a bat. Of course, we can imagine having leathery wings, navigating by sonar, eating bugs while flying, and hanging upside down to sleep, but that?s not the same as knowing what a bat experiences. In other words, we can't know what it's like for a bat to be a bat. Whether you agree with him or not, his view is even more relevant today than it was in 1974.
Index Terms:
scientific computing, artificial intelligence
Francis Sullivan, "What Is It Like to Be a Bot?," Computing in Science and Engineering, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 96, Jan.-Feb. 2006, doi:10.1109/MCSE.2006.19
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