Back in college, I had a Complexity Theory teacher who stated that artificial intelligence was a contradiction in terms. If it could be calculated mechanically, he argued, it wasn't intelligence, it was math.
This seems to be a variant of the Chinese Room argument. This argument is a metaphor, where a person is put in a room full of Chinese books. This person doesn't understand a word of Chinese but is slipped messages in Chinese under the door. The person has to use the books, which contain transformation rules, to answer these messages. The person can apply the transformation rules but does not understand what (s)he is communicating.
Does the Chinese room argument hold? Can we argue that artificial intelligence is merely clever algorithmics?