The Robot Who Could Paint and Other Modern Fairy Tales

May 21, 2023 2:00PM—3:30PM


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How can we assess artificial intelligence (aka applied statistics) and the externalization of thought? What is the Turing Test? Who are the players — OpenAI, Ray Kurzweil, Jaron Lanier, and John Searle’s Chinese Room? What is the difference between strong AI and weak AI? Memory vs. Storage. What is the difference between representation thought (Kantian Critical Idealism) and grasping a thought in the Goethean sense? The experience of observing your own thinking vs. machine representation.

John Roland Penner graduated from the Waldorf Teacher Training in Toronto in 2009 under the guidance of Diana Hughes, and currently works in IT. He worked previously as a technical writer for the 3D animation company SideFX and did technical support for the architectural CAD firm Graphisoft.

His main area of study is Goethean science, Rudolf Steiner’s epistemological works, and artificial intelligence. To this end, he has written three of his own “Artificial Intelligences” — a Chess Engine, a Connect4 Engine, and a Hnefatafl (Viking Chess) Engine, as well as an ELIZA (Conversational Robot). He wrote these computer programs to answer his own epistemological investigations regarding intelligence and cognition, which has led to a knowledge of the subject without resorting to magical beliefs about machines.