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Machines, minds and computers
Machines, minds and computers

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3.3.1 Weak artificial intelligence

Weak artificial intelligence is a research programme that attempts to throw some light on human mental processes and to build practical, working systems that will do clever things and will serve as useful tools. In Searle's words:

According to weak [artificial intelligence], the principal value of the computer in the study of the mind is that it gives us a very powerful tool. For example, it enables us to formulate and test hypotheses in a more rigorous and precise fashion.

Source: Searle (1980)

But let me stress again that weak artificial intelligence is an intensely practical, engineering discipline. The aim is to build computer systems with recognisable, if limited, intelligent behaviour.