Can a machine think?
I asked my friend Bard, "Ask me one philosophical question to judge my intelligence" and he responded with, "Can a machine think?" To begin I would need to ask some questions. What is a machine? What is to think? Can a human think? Is a human a machine? Is Bard a machine? Can Bard think? Does thinking require sentience? Do I need to qualify the statement and say, for example, "I believe that machines can think but in the future".
Let me start with what I think is the easiest question, "Can a human think?" Humans are intelligent beings. We can reason. We can make decisions. We can communicate. We can learn. We can have discussions. All these things require us to think. We have a brain. We have thoughts. But I should have a definition of think before I say for sure.
According to Cambridge dictionary, to think is defined as, "to believe something or have an opinion or idea". What is a machine? According to the same dictionary, a machine is, "a piece of equipment with several moving parts that uses power to do a particular type of work". Based on those definitions I would say that humans are machines and humans can think therefore a machine can think.
But humans being classed as machines is debatable and its own philosophical topic. Then I have to ask the question, "what separates humans from machines?" Two things that come to my mind are consciousness and sentience. But for how long? I think the possibility exists for machines to gain these in the future. But I think that the one thing that will keep humans different from machines is our souls. Again, more stuff to be debated. The best I could do is give my opinion based on my knowledge and understanding and what makes sense to me.
Does thinking require sentience? I would say yes. Part of thinking is being able to feel and perceive and experience the world. Bard is a machine and so I asked Bard, "can you think?" and he responded in short with, "Whether or not I can truly "think" is a matter of debate."
In conclusion, I would say that like most philosophical questions, can a machine think is debatable. After consulting some dictionary definitions and asking some questions and using my opinions and feelings and trying to keep my answer to one blog post and using one afternoon of brainstorming, I would say that machines are not yet in the same class as humans but will get there in the future and when that happens then we can say that machines can think.