I love this SMBC on the Chinese room thought experiment.
Click through for full sized version and the red caption button.
My regular readers know I’m not a big fan of the Chinese room thought experiment. I think it only confirms whatever intuitions you already have. If you think intelligence can’t come from the processing of symbolic information, then it seems to self evidently confirm that intuition. If you think intelligence can come from that, then you intuitively conclude that the entire Chinese room is intelligent.
But my main beef with this thought experiment is that it’s ridiculous, and Weiner does a good job pointing that out. In the real world, a person in a Chinese room, as described, would need to be in a room the size of a warehouse and, depending on the question, might take days, months, or years to provide a response. It becomes more plausible if you actually put the person in there with a computer, but then the intuitive aspects start to disappear.