The Yuan requests your support! Our content will now be available free of charge for all registered subscribers, consistent with our mission to make AI a human commons accessible to all. We are therefore requesting donations from our readers so we may continue bringing you insightful reportage of this awesome technology that is sweeping the world. Donate now
Imaginary Friends 6: The circles of an imaginary mind
By Nigel Morris-Cotterill  |  Mar 02, 2023
Imaginary Friends 6: The circles of an imaginary mind
Image courtesy of and under license from
As our four imaginary friends feted the New Year, they end this series by spreading cheer with examples of AI’s failures that may have ruined or caused lives to be lost. Their moral is blunt: Never unloose AI unless it is under adult supervision and subject to actual intelligence.

Location: A fireside.

We’ll raise a cup of kindness yet, for the sake of…

A: Well, here we are, sitting before our fire, toasting bread in the flames, and supping our celebratory cups. This is a time for reminiscing and looking to the future. Let’s reminisce about our discussions and conclusions over the past five chats. We began, if you remember, with a look at algorithms.

C: Yes, and at fuzzy logic. That’s why we started with ‘Yes, No, Maybe’ and we concluded that fuzzy logic is actually nested yes/no selections, not a third state.

D: Ah yes, the burned/not burned toast decision - like you are making now, but not very well judging from the smell.

C: Oh, oops. We said a human needs to decide how dry the bread should be and how thick the toast so as to give proper instructions to the machine. Clearly, that’s not something I should be trusted to do!

A: We concluded that even when a machine is using fuzzy logic, it is not actually thinking. Instead, it is relying on data it is given or collects via sensors, and it then acts on that data without further human interaction on that occasion.

We also concluded that ‘machine learning’ is not autonomous. It acts in accordance with its instructions within parameters, and we know what happens if parameters are not set: It continues to do what it has been told until someone unplugs it.

We then concluded that machines do not think like humans because they have no intellectual capacity. They cannot feel because they have no emotional capacity. However, they can be programmed to fake it. In this, they are in some ways similar to a psychopath.

The importance of sensory perception

C: I repeat my favorite - or, in British

The content herein is subject to copyright by The Yuan. All rights reserved. The content of the services is owned or licensed to The Yuan. Such content from The Yuan may be shared and reprinted but must clearly identify The Yuan as its original source. Content from a third-party copyright holder identified in the copyright notice contained in such third party’s content appearing in The Yuan must likewise be clearly labeled as such.
Continue reading
Sign up now to read this story for free.
- or -
Continue with Linkedin Continue with Google
Share your thoughts.
The Yuan wants to hear your voice. We welcome your on-topic commentary, critique, and expertise. All comments are moderated for civility.