Re: Corner cases was Robert Aunger essay

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Tue 18 Apr 2006 - 18:27:43 GMT

  • Next message: Kenneth Van Oost: "Re: Robert Aunger essay"

    At 07:07 PM 4/17/2006 +0100, Robin wrote:
    >Monday, April 17, 2006, 5:51:10 PM, Keith wrote:


    > > I should have made note that this is based on the best extrapolations of
    > > where technology is going.
    >What exactly does "best" mean there?

    In my not-so-humble-opinion. :-)

    Seriously, looking at you tracks on the net, you have been exposed to at least part of this set of memes.

    What would you consider evidence that I know what I am talking about? Names? Articles?

    Didn't look hard enough to figure out your educational training. Mine is a BS in electrical engineering.

    I am the hardest of hard core materialists.

    > >>I don't believe it makes sense to consider minds as transferable
    > >>between substrates.
    > > Why not? Unless there is something supernatural about a mind, can you
    > > think of any reason your mind would not run on a good simulation of the
    > > underlying "hardware"?
    >Seems to me it would be MORE likely to haunt a machine if it was
    >supernatural. But back in this world, the problem is that the
    >hardware/software distinction does not apply to anything natural,
    >only to a certain type of machine (programmable computers).

    Researchers *have* simulated the nervous system in some very simple animals in computers already. It's just a scale up project to get to a human level.

    > >>As implied by your mention of "spirits", that's a
    > >>basically dualist view. And I know that language was intended for
    > >>those who could not appreciate the technology. But it also illustrates
    > >>where the concepts originated. You just took dualism full circle,
    > >>which is appropriate, because it takes us nowhere.
    > > I really don't see the concept of spirit as dualistic. If a chair has been
    > > painted red your eyes tell you it has the quality of "red." If you can
    > > interact with something, it has the quality of "spirit." Thus live cats
    > > and dogs have spirit. So do computers with operating systems. Dead
    > > humans, cats and dogs plus computers that have been turned off don't have
    > > spirit. Simple as that.
    >If you believe the human spirit can be separated from the body
    >you're a dualist.

    Since spirit is an active quality--you interact with one--the question would be if I thought I could interact with an OS with no underlying hardware. Obviously, no. I don't believe disembodied spirits are possible, information storage and processing requires matter. Now it is a different kind of question when you ask about information. The spirit of a cryonics patient stored in LN2 is as inactive-gone-as a computer with the power off. But if the patient were repaired and warmed up, we have good reason to believe their spirit would become active again.

    Same thing if an atom for atom copy was made.

    Same thing if the information from an atom for atom copy were saved and later made into a physical copy.

    Same thing if the information from an atom for atom copy was run on a simulaton.

    > >>What would make more sense, as well as being more relevant to this
    > >>forum, would be a story about copying the memes from a person into a
    > machine.
    > > That is the main topic for several forums, among them Shock Level Four,
    > > Extropians and Transthumanists. How do we imbue the god-like AIs that we
    > > are on the verge of creating with a set of memes that will permit continued
    > > existence for lesser creatures including us?
    >Isn't the human imagination wonderful!?

    If you can demonstrate a logical flaw in the singularity scenario, please do so.

    A lot of people would sleep better if there were a convincing argument why it won't happen.

    Keith Henson

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