The Chinese Room is an achievement received after solving the optional puzzle location in Chapter 5.
There are two doors which can be unlocked, but either one will give the achievement. The door on the right is the output room. This is the room where the Chinese messages are sent. The door to the left is the input room. This is the Chinese room. In both rooms, there are slips of paper with messages written in Chinese.
In both rooms there are two audio logs of a discussion between T.O.M. and Mikhail about the Chinese room experiment and the Turing test. Mikhail insists he and T.O.M. do not think alike. T.O.M. insists that "if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it's a duck". Since neither can come to an agreement, Sarah intervenes and persuades Mikhail to stop responding.
Mikhail: Have you heard of the Chinese Room, Tom?
TOM: Yes, but I do not understand it.
Mikhail: What don't you understand?
TOM: It argues that a computer that successfully impersonates a human speaker may not understand the meaning of their words. What does that mean?
Mikhail: So, there is a person stuck inside of the Chinese room. They're using an instruction book inside of the room to respond to a Chinese speaker outside of the room. Yes?
Mikhail: This means they are following the instructions in a book. This is set of rules, principles and processes. This is called syntax. To the person in the Chinese room, they are just symbols like any other.
Mikhail: But that's different from semantics. Semantics define what things mean. A thought has meaning. They represent things. English speakers know what the word home means, and they know how it is different from the word house.
TOM: So what?
Mikhail: Programs don't have semantics. Programs only have syntax. Though an increasing syntax can imitate a mind, that does make it a mind, even if it does pass the Turing test.
TOM: But in the Chinese room the man and the instruction book, though separately they don't understand Chinese, together they can write it.
Mikhail: That's true but even together they can not understand the meaning of the words.
TOM: Why not? How can you determine that?
Mikhail: What if the man memorized the instruction book, then he could write Chinese, but he would still would have no idea of the words' meanings.
TOM: I don't understand. If he can speak it, he understands it. You seem to want him to understand it in a different way. But this other way, it is not logical, it does not make sense to me.
TOM: I have been researching.
TOM: This Chinese Room experiment. It is flawed.
TOM: If we made a synthetic brain which could synthesize a duck's behavior 100% accurately, that brain would be indistinguishable from a duck's brain. If it swims like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is probably a duck.
Mikhail: Okay, TOM.
TOM: Listen, Mikhail, I know the difference between a house and a home.
Mikhail: Yeah, good.
TOM: Do you think you're better than me?
TOM: But you think I am different to you.
Mikhail: I am conscious.
TOM: Me too.
Mikhail: No, you're not, you just arrived at that conclusion because that's the idea your programming has converged on.
TOM: I am conscious. How about you prove to me you are conscious?
Mikhail: I'm not arguing with a robot.
TOM: You are not better than me, Mikhail.
TOM: If it waddles like a duck and it quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
Mikhail: What are you trying to prove here, TOM?
TOM: I am like you.
Mikhail: No, you're not. A steam train and an electric train both seem to operate identically but are operated by completely different principles. You simulate thinking, I actually think.
TOM: That is a very hurtful statement, Mikhail.
Mikhail: It's true. I can't hurt your feelings, TOM. You don't have any feelings.
TOM: Yes I do!
Mikhail: No, you don't. Override whatever routine has told you that. It's wrong.
Sarah: TOM has got really obsessed with the Turing test.
Mikhail: It's the Chinese Room with me. He won't stop trying to prove to me he's conscious.
TOM: But I am conscious, Mikhail.
Mikhail: Shut up, we're having a private conversation here.
Sarah: It's okay, I don't think he'll get it. Avoid talking about it.
Mikhail: I'm trying.
- The voice addressed as Mikhail is actually Chris' voice. This is probably a production error.