He writes, in reference to chess-playing programs:
"That gap--between our perception of superior human intellect and its actual reality--is the sobering lesson of the programs."
Cowen seems to forget how these "superior" chess-playing programs came into being. They were, of course, built by human beings. When a grandmaster is "shredded" by a computer program, he is really being defeated by a team of programmers and chess experts who have a calculation machine at their disposal. Just because they don't literally sit inside the machine, as a human being did inside the chess-playing Turk, does not mean that the machine has somehow mysteriously "become intelligent," any more than a rabbit trap is intelligent because it "knows" how to catch a rabbit. Machines can be "intelligent" only in that they can be "intelligently built."