Hard AI is one of the perennial problems of philosophy, but it immediately becomes mired down in notions like consciousness, qualia, etc. and whether a machine can have those. This usually skips right over whether animals have those qualities and whether animals are some variety of intelligence.
We talk a lot about mental content and its human dimensions, but if we are going to bother to ask about machines, there is no point unless we can come up with some functional limit on what biological processes constitute thinking.
From a rather direct Nietzschean point of view, power is the cutting point between what matters and what does not. From that POV a logical definition of thinking is very Freudian: 'The use of data to advance power.' (We do need to account for reserved power, so "advancing power" needs to involve developing the ability to do so if the power is never expressed, or doing things that attempt to make advances, but fail. And merely surviving also needs to be seen as a kind of power.)
The problem is that this pushes thought way down the scale to bacteria, who pursue chemical traces, and even genes. But it does seem to rule out mere chemistry or other active processes that are not goal-directed by nature. The chemical encoding in a gene clearly encodes data, and the phylogenetic fund of genetic variation seems to collect data in a way that seeks domination of an environmental niche, and increases the power of various genes to further shape the environment. The variations in a crystal or the specific shape of an oceanic bed may be data, but they are never collected up into anything that looks like information or decision making.
I am all for simply accepting that breadth, and coming up with some meaningful way to address a continuum of intelligence that extends that far down.
Are there reasoned positions (involving non-circular, non-arbitrary definitions of thinking) that have been offered against so wide a notion of intelligence? (Before I get a dozen older philosophers: we live in a world with lying, cheating chimpanzees, and dolphins and dogs that are capable of reasoning by the process of elimination, so language and logic won't cut it anymore.)
How much traction do we lose on other important philosophical considerations if we adopt that wide a definition?
Has anyone yet bothered to think through AI or other questions by looking that far down? (I find traces of that in Dennett, but he is mostly in the debunking business when he goes there.)