Right, but decoding is just the translation from one symbology into another, it doesn't create a semantic relationship
When I read a novel I don't hear the words in my head or even notice them on the paper. I see, hear, and feel the characters and what they do and say. The abstract symbols on the paper are decoded to concrete events and ideas.
only humans will be able to give the effect of the loop final meaning. All the program can do is keep juggling symbols back and forth according to what can be reduced to automatic production rules.
That's because humans can read and computers can't. Even a text to speech program can't read, it can only juggle the written symbols and the auditory symbols. A human can not only read the code, a human can understand out what that code does when it runs. A computer can't.
Kurzweil is a damned fine engineer, but he doesn't have a clue about the brain. He's obviously never heard of the Chinese Room (it appears you in fact have).
People like him who think computers will be sentient are dangerous.
It was a movie, written by two guys who learned everything they know about computers from AKIRA and 2001 A Space Odyssey
True, it was only an illustration. But think of an incredibly simple program, like an analog clock on your computer screen. Depending on the language and your expertise you could little more than glance at it and imagine the clock it would draw. When you write a program you certainly have to envision what the output will be.
And HAL is bothersome because HAL isn't, in fact, any more sentient than Watson. It's just a Chinese room that does a good job of fooling a sentient being that it is, when it isn't. People are going to push for equal rights for computers... Frank Herbert touched on this in Dune, when "intelligent machines" were used by unscrupulous men to enslave others (leading to the jihad and outlawing of intelligent machines).
They were calling computers "electronic brains" when a building-sized machine was less powerful than a musical Hallmark card. It worries me, because they're not brains. They're tools and toys.