Craig Weinberg <> Wrote:

> I'm sure that NASA and it's astronauts are quite aware that they are
> training on simulations.

And yet when the NASA trainers throw a simulated crises at the astronauts
in the trainer their heart rate goes way up just as it would if it had been
real trouble in a real spaceship and they report later that it was all very
stressful just like the real thing would be, simulators can even make some
seasick, or space sick.

> If not, why have astronauts at all?

Good question, robots have proved to be better and much cheaper.

> Games too are for entertainment.

So NASA, the Air Force and the airlines spend billions of dollars just to
entertain astronauts, fighter pilots and airline pilots?

> we do not know that neurons don't have experience/sense that our
> understanding is made of.

And we do not know that transistors don't have experience/sense like we do,
all we can do is observe neurons and transistors and deduce from their
behavior if they understanding anything. Understanding is a grand and
glorious thing, but if you keep dividing it up into smaller and smaller
parts eventually you will get to something that is not grand and glorious
at all and is in fact downright mundane, like a transistor turning on or
off or a synapse firing or not firing. And if the parts are not that humble
then you know you haven't divided the parts enough because the entire point
of "understanding" is putting together things you do understand in such a
way as to make something that you previously did not understand. And
everybody understands on and off.

> human understanding can't come from brain tissue - but it can come from
> the 'understanding' of that brain tissue.

In other words it comes not from what the brain tissue is but from what the
brain tissue does, mind.

> Sights, sounds, and feelings are concretely real presentations

Yes, they are concrete real PRESENTATIONS, but I'm not asking about
presentations. I'm not talking about the sensations broken glass produces
in us,  like the sight of broken glass or the sound of broken glass or the
feel of broken glass. In short I am NOT asking a question about qualia, I
am asking you what IS broken glass? If it's, to use your favorite word,
real, then broken glass exists independently of our perceiving it, so what
IS broken glass? I don't know and I bet you don't either.

> No description of blue is necessary or sufficient. It cannot be
> described. It may not be 'rational' but it need not be religious. Like
> charge or spin, it is just part of the fabric of the sense of the universe.

OK fine, then the sensation "blue" is fundamental, it has no parts, it is
the end of a finite chain of "what is this made of?" questions, it is a
fundamental axiom of the universe and there is simply no more that can be
said on the subject; but then you cannot ask me to describe exactly how a
computer could produce the qualia "blue".

>> the two types of particles [actual and virtual] are RADICALLY different,
>> it's hard to see how they could be more different. To say they are the same
>> is NOT the path to enlightenment.
> > Yes, they are radically different, because the subatomic particles are
> not real.

And the moon isn't real either and does not exist when you are not looking
at it. It seems that every time you get into a tight corner you just say X
isn't real.

> It's [quantum mechanics} a great theory, but it's still exactly wrong if
> we take it literally.

Dirac used quantum mechanics and virtual particles (which don't exist
according to you) to predict antimatter, and Feynman used virtual particles
to predict the Lamb shift. Feynman also predicted in 1948 that the magnetic
moment of an electron can't be exactly 1 as had been thought because it is
effected by an infinite (and I do mean infinite and not just astronomical)
number of virtual particles (which don't exist according to you). He
brilliantly figured out a way to calculate this effect and do so in a
finite amount of time, he calculated it must be 1.00115965246, while the
best experimental value found much later is 1.00115965221. That's like
measuring the distance between Los Angeles and New York to the thickness of
a human hair. In fact it would be hard to find ANY calculation in modern
particle physics that doesn't involve some form of virtual particles.

> The predictions are accurate but the interpretations of them as far as
> cosmology goes are doomed to fail.

Yes and everybody knows that, we need a quantum theory of gravity and we
don't have one yet, but a lot of very smart people are working very hard to
find it, the haven't given up and fallen into mumbo jumbo.

> Real atoms are not just inert spheres made of smaller spheres. A universe
> made of moving spheres can never be anything other than moving spheres.
> What atoms are is much much different on the inside than how they seem to
> each other on the outside.

Maybe, but I remind you that computation is physical and real computers are
made of real atoms just as we are.

>> Obviously if nothing is organized in a system you won't have
>> intelligence or consciousness or much of anything of interest except for
>> entropy.
> > Right. That's my point. You have to bring in organization

And the only way to organize something is with information.

> as an unexplained metaphysical force to get from ping pong balls to
> anything else.

Nobody can explain how your very very odd ping pong balls which are not
made of atoms can do much of anything. However Darwin's theory can explain
how to go from the simplest bacteria to you and me. We still don't know
very well how things evolved from inorganic chemicals to the simplest
bacteria but scientists haven't given up and fallen into mumbo jumbo.

> If you are trying to understand consciousness and the cosmos, you have to
> try to understand what that force actually is and how it gets into the
> universe and not just throw in the towel.

But you said it was fundamental! You can't say something is just part of
the fabric of the universe and no description is necessary or sufficient
and then demand that I explain the very same thing.

> If you rule out metaphysics, then what you have left is the interior of
> matter. Since we perceive ourselves as interior to a body, why wouldn't
> other things do the same?

You mean other things made of matter like a very smart computers?

>> How about when I'm not arguing on the Internet but sleeping, or dead,
> has my interiority changed?
> > Sure, the quality of your conscious mind's interiority changes,
But you do not have access to my interiority so how do you know this? You
know it because when I'm sleeping or dead I'm not behaving very

> Is it crazy then to say that a concrete log can't burn like a real wood
> log?

If I throw it into a fire and everybody could see plain as day that
contrary to all expectations the concrete log was indeed burning just like
a real log and then you did nothing but chant over and over "a concrete log
can not burn" then that would indeed be crazy,  as crazy as saying a
intelligent ANYTHING is not conscious.

> There is an altering of the firing patterns [OF NEURONS BY LSD], sure,
> but only due to the interaction of the substance. You can't dose a person's
> brain with the pattern of LSD, you have to have the actual molecules enter
> the brain in order for anything to happen. [...] Those firing patterns
> created by some other means - magnetic stimulation, yoga, etc, would not
> produce any LSD. It's not just an Abstract pattern

If both magnetism and molecules of LSD can produce similar hallucinations
then they must have something in common, the way they change the pattern of
synaptic firings in the brain; and patterns are information.

>> Just write a program that tries to avoid having a certain number in one
>> of its registers regardless of what sort of input the machine receives, and
>> if that number does show up in that register it should stop whatever its
>> doing and immediately change it to another number.
> >That has absolutely nothing to do with experiencing pain.

How do you know? Yeah yeah I've heard it all before, it's just acting like
it's in pain but it's not "really" in pain, and Watson was just acting like
it was smart but it wasn't "really" smart. Well I'll tell you one thing,
it's a hell of a lot easier to write a program that "acts" like it's in
pain than it is to write a program that "acts" like its smart.
Consciousness is easy but intelligence is hard.

> AI can mean any kind of task oriented instrumental logic. AGI specifies
> general reasoning capacities applicable to any environment.

Nobody, absolutely positively nobody says AGI rather than AI because they
think it makes their language clearer, anymore than lawyers use legalese
for clarity, they say it because they think (incorrectly) that it makes
them sound more impressive.

> >My remark was based on pure practicalities. There is not a snowball's
>> chance in hell of enslaving something that is a thousand times smarter and
>> thinks a million times faster than you do, so it's a waste of time worrying
>> about if it's moral enslave it so not. That's why I'd much rather know if
>> the AI thinks it's moral to keep slaves.
> > You would have to enslave generations of computers to get to that point
> though.

Yes, and once AI's start improving themselves in a positive feedback loop
it could take a very long time to go through all those computer generations
and for things to get completely out of hand, it  could take millions,
maybe even billions of nanoseconds.

The thing to remember is that the very fastest signals in our brains move
at about 100 meters per second while signals in a computer could go as fast
as 300,000,000 meters per second.

> Your avoidance of the question shows the sophistry of your position
> though. You don't really know or care if it's moral or not to enslave them
> because deep down you know that they are of course less than human and less
> than animal and have no qualms about pulling the plug on a computer at any
> time.

If you insist on my opinion I will give it to you. I believe it would be
immoral to enslave a race that was half as smart as I am and I believe it
would be even more immoral to enslave a computer that was twice as smart as
I am, or it would be immoral if it was possible but fortunately it is not.
And yes I would have enormous qualms at pulling the plug on a smart
computer, but if it was smart enough then I'm just not going to have that
option and the question becomes moot.

> There is a difference between organisms that are alive and those that are
> dead

But nobody can spell out exactly what those differences are, other than the
very general observation that life tends to be more complicated and behaves
in a more complicated way than does non life. Computers are complicated and
act in complicated ways and are becoming more complicated every day.

> and those that are inorganic. If X is alive and organic, then it is quite
> different from Y if it is neither alive nor organic.

What's the big deal with organic? Why is it that carbon atoms can become
conscious but silicon atoms can not?

> We are sentient

There you go again with this "we" business! I am sentient but you are not
"really" sentient, you just act like your are sentient.

> and respond to each others sentience

Nope, there is absolutely no way of detecting sentience in others, however
there is a way of responding  to each others behavior.

>X learns and grows, expresses our unique individuality,

Why unique? If I reproduce the way your atoms are organized then I have
duplicated you.

> We see no intelligent communities of rocks, no extraterrestrial voices
haunting the internet

Yes ET is very quiet. Intelligent life may be rare, we might even be
unique. Life started on this planet almost 4000 million years ago but for
3500 million years there was just bacteria, and we are less than a million
years old. It might take a lot of lucky accidents for a species to evolve
that was smart enough to make a radio transmitter.

> The capacity to direct your body to make changes to the world around it
> is a direct and obvious contradiction to determinism.

It certainly isn't obvious to me! A computer can make changes in the world
around it and does it all the time; but I'm not a defender of determinism
because quantum mechanics tells us that it is untrue. That's OK with me, I
know of no law of logic that demands every event have a cause, but what I
don't understand is how randomness is going to get you out of this
existential funk that you're in.

> By that logic an oil derrick should feel like it has voluntary control
over its thoughts since it doesn't know what it's going to do either.

I have no way of knowing what a oil derrick feels like but I do know one
thing, a oil derrick does not behave intelligently.

> Why would it matter to you whether the calculation is complete or not?
Why would there be a 'you' involved at all?

I know for a fact that I have finished the calculation therefore I can
reasonably conclude that doing so mattered to something. A label for that
something in the English language is "me".

> Green doesn't want.

Green wants just as much as determinism wants or randomness wants.

> I don't talk about randomness, you do.

You insist that the "free will" noise has meaning but you don't like
computers because they always operate by cause and effect, so given that
there is only one alternative you certainly should be talking about

John K Clark

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