The New York TimesThe New York Times

Can intelligence be separated from the body?

By Oliver Whang

10 Apr 2023 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

A.I. researchers are divided over whether machines with minds can be truly intelligent without a body to experience the world. The NYT weighs in, arguing that the two are inextricably linked.

What is the relationship between mind and body?

Maybe the mind is like a video game controller, moving the body around the world, taking it on joyrides. Or maybe the body manipulates the mind with hunger, sleepiness and anxiety, something like a river steering a canoe. Is the mind like electromagnetic waves, flickering in and out of our lightbulb bodies? Or is the mind a car on the road? A ghost in the machine?

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