Re: Corner cases was Robert Aunger essay

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Wed 19 Apr 2006 - 09:08:49 GMT

  • Next message: Robin Faichney: "Re: RS"

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006, 7:27:43 PM, Keith wrote:

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

    > snip

    >> > 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?

    You'd be citing people who I don't respect in this context (though I do in others).

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

    BA (Hons) philosophy and psychology, MSc information technology. My p***k's bigger than your's, too. :-)

    > I am the hardest of hard core materialists.

    Perhaps you're not quite as hard as you think.

    >> >>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.

    That's like saying we can fairly reliably predict the weather 24 hours ahead, it's just a scale up project to get to 10 year predictions. AND, it doesn't address the hardware/software issue: simulation is not the real thing.

    >> >>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.

    Your use of the term "spirit" is covering some sloppy thinking. Without a clear definition your assertions both on the immediate effects of cryonic suspension and on the possibilities of revival are effectively meaningless.

    > Same thing if an atom for atom copy was made.

    I don't believe that a sufficiently low-level scan is or ever will be possible without damaging the subject.

    > 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.

    I could spend the time to research it properly, but I'm afraid I'm just not that interested in it. At present, anyway. Sorry.

    Best regards,
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