On Aug 23, 5:55 pm, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> On 8/23/2011 2:13 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
> > But the attempts at simulating birds failed completely. Airplanes
> > don't flap their wings. It took a much more basic understanding of
> > physics to grasp lift and drag, and it will take a much more elemental
> > understanding of sensory input and output to replicate human
> > consciousness. What you are saying about emulating consciousness by
> > computation is like saying 'if we record the wing flaps exactly, then
> > we should be able to make artificial birds out of concrete or glass'.
> Some airplanes flap their wings and they fly inspite of being made of
> wood and cloth and batteries and motors.  They could be made of concrete
> and glass if those materials were functiionally adequate.

Neurons could be made of concrete and glass too if those materials
were functionally adequate - but they aren't.

> I see nothing to your argument but unsupported assertion that feeling is
> inherent in biological materials.  Repeating it in different examples
> doesn't make it any more convincing.  If feeling is an inherent property
> of biological materials then there must be something special about the
> atoms in neurons such that they provide feeling that atoms in
> transistors don't.  Do you have a way to test this theory?

What I assert again and again is the possibility that feeling is a
qualitative continuum. Atoms aren't special in cells, but the
molecules feel a special way when they bind themselves together which
allows them to become a cell together. Maybe cells can sense where
molecules can only detect. Not all cells are neurons, so only certain
kinds of physiological contexts can maybe 'feel'. It seems pretty
compelling to me. The fact that we are even having this discussion
should remind us that we do think there is a difference in the first
place. If a transistor could feel like a neuron can feel, then our
computers would be building themselves a world of their own. They
would be pets and neighbors and not the automaton servants which we
have designed them to be.

The way to test the theory is to implant transistors in our brains and
see if we notice a difference.


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