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Randolph student leads artificial intelligence discussion for philosophy group

What defines intelligence? Can a machine actually be considered smart?

Last week, a Randolph student led a discussion on these questions for a meeting of the Undergraduate Virginia Philosophical Association (UVPA), which included students from Randolph College and Hampden-Sydney College.

Phuong Tran ’15 gave last week’s UVPA presentation, which was titled “Artificial Intelligence: Are Smart Machines Alive? Or Are Alive Machines Smart?”

Tran, a philosophy and communications studies double major, based her presentation on her senior paper, for which worked closely with philosophy professor Kaija Mortensen to study about philosophy of the mind. She explored the definition of intelligence and whether machines can meet the requirements to be deemed intelligent beings. Her paper later was accepted to the Symposium of Artists and Scholars.

The UVPA dinner meetings between Randolph College and Hampden-Sydney College began in 1991, and they currently take place four times per year. This dinner marked the 89th meeting of UVPA. Eight students and a professor from each college meet for two hours for dinner, a presentation given by one of the students, and discussion between students on the chosen topic.

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