In 1980 John Searle first
published a novel argument, which has become known as the
Chinese Room Argument (CRA), that purported to
demonstrate that "by itself, syntax is neither
constitutive of, nor sufficient for, semantic content."
If correct the CRA suggests that programs cannot produce
minds. Clearly, the suggestion that syntactic
manipulation alone is not sufficient for meaning or
thought is significant - not just in the context of
Artificial Intelligence (AI) but in the philosophy of
mind in general, as many prominent theories hold that the
essence of mind is computational. In the 31 years since
the CRA was first published the importance of the
argument has merited that it has been attacked (and
defended) in strong measure. In this presentation I will
suggest that the CRA remains the 'elephant in the room'
regarding AI and that even recent "cognitive" approaches
to building intelligent machines do not escape its grasp;
because the "trouble with computation" is that it doesn't
take embodiment seriously.