On Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 8:24 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:
> Apparently what's next is imagining that machines are people and people > are machines. I certainly hope so. In the last 3 or 4 centuries we have gradually (too gradually for my taste) gotten away from the idea that things happened because of the soul or gods or God or vague amorphous free floating glows that nobody can see, instead we have started to embrace the notion that everything happens because of natural law, including life. The discovery in the 1950's about how DNA can not only duplicates itself but contains the program that tells cellular machinery how to assemble enormously complex proteins confirms the idea that a living cell is a purely mechanical factory. And invoking God or stooping so low as to resort to vital life forces to explain its operation is no more necessary than saying you can't understand how a steel mill works unless there is a steel mill god or a mysterious steel mill force that nobody can see. > > We'll be imprisoning software soon I suppose. > It's already happened, web browsing software is banned in North Korea and until a few weeks ago it looked like certain types of file sharing programs were about to be banned in the USA. But long term the far more important scenario is AI software imprisoning us. > What a computer does is arithmetic to us, but [...] To hell with the "but", just answer the simple question "is computer math simulated arithmetic or real arithmetic to us?". For once give me a straight yes or no answer. And don't try to weasel out with its real to X but not to Y because then it would be subjective and "real" means objective. If your answer is "yes" then there is no reason the computer couldn't also do geometry that is real to us, or real algebra, or real logic, or real physics, or real poetry or do anything that seems intelligent to us. If your answer is "no" then there is no unique answer to the question "how much is 2+2?", the value of 2+2 varies from person to person and its true value can be anything you want it to be. I'll tell you one thing, I'd refuse to walk over a bridge designed by a engineer that had that philosophy because in the end nature always wins out over delusion. > The original email is my subjective experience of composing it, therefore > it cannot be sent. What can be sent is neither a simulation nor an > imitation but rather a completely separate semiotic text which can be used > by human beings to communicate > And that very semiotic stuff is how we tell the difference between stupid human beings and brilliant human beings; and if the semiotic stuff is really good we also judge that the thing that produced it was conscious. John K Clark -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.