Machines, as the world is currently undergoing modernization, are becoming more advanced and can be looked upon as a substitute for manpower. Is a machine capable of knowing? This question has arisen an important topic in modern epistemology. Machines, in general, are commonly defined as a device that performs a certain work or task. But most commonly in the case of machines, the understanding of the process of correctly executing the task being performed can also serve as a criterion for knowledge. Based on the reasoning obtained from these definitions, it is possible to say that machines do have the skills and ability to know.

While performing a task, a machine transforms energy into useful work or vice versa. Every single machine has this principle applied to them. An argument can always arise from the fact that due to the design or the machine, where the components of it work together to transform energy into work, it simply must have the required skills to carry out the given task. The knowledge may be situational; a knife cannot be used to pound nails into the wall, due to its design which was meant for a different task. But no matter what the task is, a machine must have certain knowledge. To show an example from that point, Ahmad is a native Malay speaker and can translate a malay text to English easily whereas Muthu, who only speaks Tamil, cannot simply because Ahmad possess the knowledge of translating between the languages as he knows them both, but Muthu does not.

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The main point to the argument is that a machine possesses knowledge to carry out its intended task is the assumption that the machine components when working together in synchronize mode, somehow transforms into the knowledge of the machine, as they together makes the machine work. It may be a bit difficult for one to understand how simple machine components that cannot perform any task on their own, and are unable to think can somehow make a machine know anything when arranged in a certain way. It is important to put aside close-mindedness and start to understand that knowledge does not necessarily imply intelligence. A machine simply does not need to have some sort of intelligence in order to know or understand something; it just somehow knows what it was supposed to do.

A certain number of critics argue that when a machine does its work, it’s merely obeying natural laws. For example, utilizing gravity to lift a load as a pulley does. It now seems that nature, not the machine itself, is providing all the important knowledge that enables a machine to carry out its duties. However, let’s not forget the fact us humans too are actually obeying the laws of nature. Moreover, humans are generally classified as biological machines and if humans can know everything, the argument that a machine cannot know, is invalid. Many people conclude that the only aspect that makes humans and other higher organic creatures radically distinct from the commonly defined machine is our ability to express emotions and intuitions. Let’s not forget the fact that it was us humans who build most of the machines.

We need to understand how emotion and intuition works in order to create it. How emotions and intuition work is still an area of hot research and it is likely it will be hard to understand and replicate, as it is likely to be based on a subconscious mix of memory, experience, environmental factors and perception of the individual. Machines do understand the human minds. They may be logically superior to humans in ares where there is a limited set or instructions for example, the simple yet mind-challenging game of chess.

IBM Deep Blue, one of the supercomputers designed to play the game of chess, managed to beat the world master in chess, Garry Kasparov in 1997. Kasparov accused IBM of cheating and demanded a rematch. Even humans themselves couldn’t accept the fact that a machine can surpass their ability to think. But processing and expressing emotions can be seen as an area where there are either no fixed rules or too many rules to be contained in a closed system, requiring way more powerful machines to replicate if it is even possible.

Much debate has centred on whether the human mind is a formal machine, since if it were then machines would be able to express emotions like humans. A machine simply operates with the aid of its components, and these in turn help to store and use the knowledge for the machine to perform a task, which applies for most of the machines. The argument that compares a human’s brain and a machine will only lead to more controversies. There is strong evidence in favour for the case that a machine is indeed able to know.