On Aug 23, 7:07 pm, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

> That it's possible?  Or it's true?

Possibly true.

> > 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.
>
> A non-sequitur.  Spiders don't build a world of their own and neither do
> we.  So why should robots - if we created intelligent/conscious robots.?

Funny that you picked spiders as an example of organisms that don't
build a world of their own. Spiders build webs. Beavers build dams.
Coral builds reefs. What do transistors build when left to their own
devices? It's not a non sequiur - that's a false accusation. Nothing
that a transistor does or any group of transistors regardless of how
many or in how sophisticated of an array has ever resulted in anything
like a transistor altering it's physical or logical environment for
it's own reasons. A transistor will not figure ever out anything new
about itself or it's universe. Neurons routinely do that.

> > They
> > would be pets and neighbors and not the automaton servants which we
> > have designed them to be.
>
> Exactly.  We don't try to create conscious robots.  John McCarthy
> pointed out many years ago that it would be ethically suspect to create
> conscious robots when we just want them to serve us.

So we agree that underneath it all, we know that electronics are not
conscious to the same extent that we are or other animals are.

> > The way to test the theory is to implant transistors in our brains and
> > see if we notice a difference.
>
> How will we know if the person with an implant notices a difference?  
> Ask them?  And how big a difference and what kind would be evidence?.  
> We already know that electrostimulation of spots in the brain can elicit
> memories and qualia.

Yes, ask them, monitor their neurophysiology, test it just like we
would an psychiatric drug (although that method may not be what it's
cracked up to be either it seems:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/13/101213fa_fact_lehrer?currentPage=all).
How big of a difference would depend on how big of a difference we
expect. If it's a lot different than we expect, then we can assume
that our approach is very wrong. Electrostimulation of the brain works
because there is an actual living brain there. Electrostimulating a
bag of styrofoam peanuts would not have the same effect. If you
pressed that styrofoam into the shape of a mechanical neuron,
electrostimulation would still not have the same effect - even if
there was a computer and a motor moving the styrofoam parts around and
acting like we think a neuron is supposed to act.

Craig

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