On Feb 4, 2:23 am, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 3, 2012  Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Huge abacuses are a really good way to look at this, although it's pretty
> > much the same as the China Brain.
> I hope you're not talking about Searle's Chinese room, the stupidest
> thought experiment in history.

I don't see what is stupid about that thought experiment. Please
explain exactly what you mean.

> > > Your position is [...] The abacus could literally be made to think
> Yes.
> > Do you see why I am incredulous about this?
> No.
> >  > I am crystal clear in my own understanding that no matter how good the
> > program seems, Siri 5000 will feel exactly the same thing as Siri. Nothing.
> I accept that you are absolutely positively 100% certain of the above, but
> I do NOT accept that you are correct. I'm not a religious man so I don't
> believe in divine revelation and that's the only way you could know what it
> feels like to be Siri, hell you don't even know what it feels like to be me
> and we are of the same species (I presume); all you can do is observe how
> Siri and I behave and try to make conclusions about our inner life or like
> of same from that.

That isn't 'all I can do'. I don't need to do anything special to
understand exactly what Siri is and exactly why it feels nothing any
more than I understand why an audioanimatronic pirate at Disneyland
feels nothing.

> > As I continue to try to explain, awareness is not a function of objects,
> > it is the symmetrically anomalous counterpart of objects.
> Bafflegab.

Translation: "I don't understand and I don't care, but it makes me
feel superior to dismiss your position arbitrarily'.

> > Experiences accumulate semantic charge
> Semantic charge? Poetic crapola of that sort may impress some but not me.
> If you can't express your ideas clearer than that they are not worth
> expressing at all.

See above.

> > > The beads will never learn anything. They are only beads.
> Computers can and do learn things

No. Computers have never learned anything. We learn things using
computers. Computers store, retrieve, and process data. Nothing more.
The human mind does much more. It feels, sees, knows, believes,
understands, wants, tries, opposes, speculates, creates, imagines,

> and a Turing Machine can simulate any
> computer and you can make a Turing Machine from beads. I won't insult your
> intelligence by spelling out the obvious conclusion from that fact.

Why not? You insult my intelligence in most of your other replies to

> > Machines are made of unconsciousness.
>  Machines are made of atoms just like you and me.

And atoms are unconscious, are they not?

> > All machines are unconscious. That is how we can control them.
> A argument that is already very weak and will become DRAMATICALLY weaker in
> the future.

Promissory mechanism is religious faith to me.

> In the long run there is no way we can control computers, they
> are our slave right now but that circumstance will not continue.

So you say. I say we are already the slaves of computers now. It's
called economics.

> > That would not be necessary if the machine had any capacity to learn.
> I don't know what you're talking about, machines have been able to learn
> for decades.

If I fill a file cabinet with files, do you say that the cabinet has
learned something?

> >> at a fundamental level no human being could write a computer program
> >> like Siri and nobody knows how it works.
> I wouldn't say we don't know how it works. Binary logic is pretty
> > straightforward.
> One binary logic operation is pretty straightforward but *20,000 trillion
> of them every second is not, *and that's what today's supercomputers can
> do, and they are doubling in power every 18 months.

It's more numerous but no less straightforward. You could stop the
program at any given point and understand every thread of every
process. It's big and it's fast, sure, but it's still not mysterious.

> > That's the theory. Meanwhile, in reality, we are using the same basic
> > interface for computers since 1995.
> What are you talking about? Siri is a computer interface as is Google and
> even supercomputers didn't have them or anything close to it in 1995.

There were web search engines before Google. They weren't quite as
good but there has been no improvement in searches since then. Siri is
a new branding and improved implementation of voice recognition that
we have had in other devices for a while. It's progress, but hardly
Einstein, Edison, Tesla, or Wright brothers progress.

> >>>  people in a vegetative state do sometimes have an inner life despite
> >> their behavior.
> >> In the course of our conversations you have made declarative statements
> > like the above dozens if not hundreds of times but you never seriously ask
> > yourself "HOW DO I KNOW THIS?".
>  >There is a lot of anecdotal evidence. People come out of comas.
> So people come out of comas and you observe that they make certain sounds
> with their mouth then you make guesses about their inner life based on
> those sounds. Siri can make sounds too.

They come out of comas and communicate with other human beings -
verbally, visually, tangibly, etc. This notion of reducing
understanding to nothing but transfers of physical data is a
fallacious reduction. If someone came out of a coma talking like Siri
for the rest of their life, we would say that the person was
critically disabled and they would be institutionalized.

> > Recently a study proved it with MRI scans where the comatose patient was
> > able to stimulate areas of their brain associated with coordinated physical
> > activity in response to the scientists request for them to imagine playing
> > tennis.
> And how do you know that stimulated brain areas have anything to do with
> consciousness? By observing behavior when that happens and making guesses
> that seem reasonable to you.

No, by correlating first hand accounts of the people who have their
brains studied. You need to establish this with someone who is not in
a coma first. It's not a matter of guessing.

> > Why doesn't it [ a trash can] behave intelligently though?
> We don't know exactly why people behave intelligently so we can't give a
> definitive answer why a trash can doesn't, at least not yet, but in general
> I can say that unlike a computer or a brain a trash can is not organized as
> a Turing Machine.

How do you know? Every time you open the lid, it stops saying THANK
YOU so by the logic that zombies cannot exist, you must presume that
some kind of computation is going on behind this intelligent behavior.

> > >> Just exactly like human beings that are manufactured out of stable,
> > uniform, inanimate materials like amino acids.
> > > I disagree. Organic chemistry is volatile. It reeks.
> Oh for God's sake, now consciousness must stink! Well when selenium
> rectifiers fail they reek to high heaven!

I didn't say it's the only thing that stinks. I'm not making this up:

"Aromatic compounds play key roles in the biochemistry of all living
things. The four aromatic amino acids histidine, phenylalanine,
tryptophan, and tyrosine each serve as one of the 20 basic building-
blocks of proteins. Further, all 5 nucleotides (adenine, thymine,
cytosine, guanine, and uracil) that make up the sequence of the
genetic code in DNA and RNA are aromatic purines or pyrimidines. The
molecule heme contains an aromatic system with 22 π electrons.
Chlorophyll also has a similar aromatic system."

> > Molecules may be too primitive to be described as part of us.
> Primitive or not you are made of molecules and molecules are made of atoms
> and if you've seen one atom you've seen them all.

Not necessarily. Maybe I'm made of living tissues and tissues are made
of living cells and cells are made of molecules, but I am no more made
of molecules then molecules are made of me. Cells however could be
said to be made of me if they contain my DNA. Maybe.

> > I like how you start out grandstanding against prejudice and superficial
> > assumptions and end with completely blowing off Mr. Joe Blow.
> Thank you, I thought it was rather good myself.

My pleasure.


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