top of page

The Thinking and Reasoning Machine

Thinking is the process of using your mind to consider something carefully. This could involve making decisions, solving problems, or coming up with new ideas. Reasoning is a method of thinking that involves reaching a conclusion based on evidence and logic. It’s important to note that not all thinking requires reasoning – sometimes we just need to make a quick decision without giving it too much thought. However, when we want to make sure our decision is sound and well-reasoned, that’s when we need to engage in some serious thinking and reasoning.



Can machines reason like humans?

The short answer is no, machines cannot reason like humans. The long answer is a little more complicated.Reasoning is a complex cognitive process that involves making deductions based on premises and evidence. It requires both logical and creative thinking, as well as the ability to see relationships between disparate ideas. Humans are able to reason because we have evolved specialised brain regions that allow us to do so; machines do not have these same brain regions, and so they cannot reasoning in the same way that we can.That said, there are some artificial intelligence algorithms that can simulate aspects of human reasoning. For example, machine learning algorithms can be trained to recognise patterns in data – just like humans can – which allows them to make predictions about new data points (this forms the basis of many predictive analytics applications). However, these predictions are always probabilistic in nature (i.e., they come with an associated degree of uncertainty), whereas human reasoning often leads us to firm conclusions about things even when there’s only limited evidence available



The quest to create thinking/reasoning machines

The quest to create reasoning or thinking machines has been an ongoing endeavour for centuries. Early attempts focused on creating mechanical devices that could perform simple tasks such as adding numbers or playing chess. However, the true challenge lies in creating a machine that can think and reason like a human being.


One of the earliest attempts at building a reasoning machine was made by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in the 17th century. He proposed using what he called the "calculus ratiocinator" which would be able to solve complex problems through a process of logical deduction. However, this idea was never fully developed and it wasn't until nearly 200 years later that significant progress was made towards artificial intelligence (AI).


In 1950, Alan Turing published a paper titled "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" which proposed a test for determining if a machine could be said to be intelligent. The test, now known as the Turing Test, is still used today as one of the main benchmarks for AI research. If a machine can fool humans into thinking it is also human then it is considered intelligent according to this definition.


Since Turing's paper was published there have been many advances in AI technology including expert systems, neural networks, and natural language processing (NLP). Currently, there are two main approaches to AI: symbolic/logical reasoning and connectionist/sub-symbolic reasoning. The former relies on formal rules of logic while the latter relies on pattern recognition across many examples (i.e., learning from data). Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses but researchers are continue working towards developing more powerful AI systems that combine both methods.


One of the key issues in AI is how to get computers to reason about the world in a way that is similar to human reasoning. This has been a difficult problem for researchers because it requires building machines that can understand complex concepts and relationships. One approach to this problem is known as symbolic reasoning, which relies on formal rules of logic. This approach has been successful in creating programs that can solve problems like chess and Go, but it has limitations when applied to more complex tasks such as natural language understanding or planning.


An alternative approach is known as statistical learning, which relies on learning from data rather than using formal rules of logic. This approach has been successful in tasks such as image recognition and machine translation, but it struggles with tasks that require more general understanding or common sense knowledge.


Researchers are continue working towards developing more powerful AI systems that combine both symbolic reasoning and statistical learning methods



How machine reasoning is being used today

Machine thinking or reasoning is the process of using computers to simulate human thought. It is being used today in a variety of ways, including:


  1. Automated decision making: Machine thinking can be used to make decisions automatically, without human intervention. This is often done using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that learn from data and make predictions or recommendations based on what they have learned. For example, machine thinking may be used to decide which products to recommend to a customer on an e-commerce website, or which ads to show them on a search engine results page. Another example includes a loan application might be automatically approved or rejected by a machine learning algorithm that has been trained on historical data

  2. Predictive analytics: Machine thinking can be used for predictive analytics, which is the practice of using data analysis techniques (including machine learning) to make predictions about future events. Predictive analytics can be used for things like identifying customers who are at risk of churning (cancelling their subscription), or predicting demand for a product in order to optimize stock levels accordingly. For example, Netflix uses a recommendation system to suggest movies and TV shows that you might like based on what you’ve watched in the past. Amazon also uses a recommendation system to suggest products that you might be interested in buying

  3. Fraud detection: Machine thinking can also be used for fraud detection. This is where algorithms are used to identify patterns in data that may indicate fraudulent activity (e.g., unusually high spending patterns).

  4. Recommendation systems: Finally, machine thinking is also used in recommendation systems (also known as collaborative filtering). This is where algorithms analyze past user behavior in order to make recommendations about what they might want to buy or watch next


Why thinking/reasoning machines are limited today


There are a number of reasons why thinking/reasoning machines are limited today. Firstly, the technology is still in its infancy and there is much room for improvement. Secondly, current thinking/reasoning machines do not have access to all the information that humans do, so they cannot make as informed decisions as humans can. Thirdly, thinking/reasoning machines tend to focus on logic and facts rather than emotions and intuition, which can sometimes lead to sub-optimal decisions. Finally, even the best thinking/reasoning machine is only as good as its programmers; if the programmer does not understand how humans think and reason then the machine will also be limited in its ability to think and reason effectively.


The ability to think and reason is one of the most fundamental aspects of being human. It allows us to make sense of the world around us, solve problems, and communicate with others. However, artificial intelligence (AI) technology has not yet advanced to the point where machines can replicate these cognitive abilities. There are a number of reasons why thinking/reasoning machines are limited today:


  • Thinking requires complex pattern recognition and interpretation skills that current AI technology cannot replicate.

  • Reasoning involves making deductions based on limited information, something that current AI systems struggle with.

  • To be effective thinkers, humans rely on their vast experience and knowledge base – something that machine learning algorithms have not yet been able to mimic.


The future of machine thinking/reasoning

The future of machine thinking/reasoning is immensely exciting and full of potential. Machines are becoming increasingly capable of handling more complex tasks, and as they continue to advance, it is reasonable to expect that their capabilities will continue to increase. This could lead to a future in which machines are able to handle many or most intellectual tasks currently performed by humans.


There are a number of factors that could contribute to this increased capability. First, machines are rapidly increasing in processing power and memory capacity. Second, machine learning algorithms are becoming more sophisticated and effective (for example, deep learning networks have shown great promise in recent years). Third, new architectures for artificial intelligence (AI) systems are being developed that allow for more flexible and efficient use of resources. Finally, there is an increasing amount of data available for training AI systems – thanks largely to the rise of big data – which gives them more opportunities to learn from experience.


All these trends point towards a future in which machine thinking/reasoning will become increasingly powerful and ubiquitous. It is important to note that this does not necessarily mean that human beings will become redundant; rather, it seems likely that we will increasingly rely on machines for certain types of tasks while continuing to perform others ourselves


Current research in machine thinking/reasoning is exploring ways to enable machines to perform more complex tasks that require higher-level thinking skills. One goal of this research is to develop systems that can better understand and respond to the complexities of the real world. Another goal is to build machines that are more capable of learning from experience and improving their performance over time.


Some recent approaches to machine thinking/reasoning include deep learning, which enables machines to learn from data using a layered approach similar to how humans learn; reinforcement learning, which allows machines to progressively improve their performance by trial and error; and probabilistic programming, which helps Machines make decisions in uncertain situations by representing knowledge as probabilities.


bottom of page