The Infinity of Facts and the Threat of Infinite Progression
The Indeterminacy of Needs and the Threat of Infinite Regress
The Reciprocy of Context and the Threat of Circularity
|Dreyfus, Hubert L. (1965). Alchemy and Artificial Intelligence. Manuskript. S.66f.|
Machines are perfect Cartesians. They are able to deal only with the determinate and discrete bits of information which Descartes called „clear and distinct ideas.“ Newell describes GPS as „a program for accepting a task environment defined in terms of discrete objects“; Feigenbaum and Feldman extend this basic requirement when they assert that the only constraint on the computer user „is that his statements be unambiguous and complete“. They, like Descartes, consider this „a blessing rather than a limitation, for it forces a refreshing rigor on builders of models of human thought processes.“ This may well be true for cognitive simulation considered as a branch of psychology, but it ignores the more general attempt to introduce mechanical information processing into all areas of intelligent activity which are now the exclusive province of human beings. Simon predicts that: There will be more and more applications of machines to take the place of humans in solving ill-structured problems; just as machines are now being more and more used to solve well-structured problems. If the machine is only able to handle unambiguous, completely structured informatioo, however, how can it deal with the ill-structured data of daily life? Indeed, here the project of using digital computers to simulate or even approximate human information processing seems eo reach its absolute limit; the computer cannot be given the information it is to process.
This limit is manifest in each of the areas in which a uniquely human form of information processing is necessary to avoid the difficulties faced by digital computers. In these areas, if we restrict ourselves to information which can be fed to digital computers and yet try to write a program which rivals everyday human information processing, a contradiction develops within the program itself.