On Feb 12, 12:34 am, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 10, 2012  Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
>     > I think you are radically overestimating the size of the book and the
> > importance of the size to the experiment. ELIZA was about 20Kb.
> TO HELL WITH ELIZA!!!! That prehistoric program is NOT intelligent!

What makes you sure it isn't intelligent but that other programs are?

> What is
> the point of a though experiment that gives stupid useless answers to
> questions?

If you haven't read it already, this link from Stephen may do a better
job than I have of explaining my position:


>     >If it's a thousand times better than ELIZA, then you've got a 20 Mb
> rule book.
> For heavens sake, if a 20 Mb look-up table  was sufficient we would have
> had AI decades ago.

Sufficient for what? 20mb of conversational Chinese might be enough to
pass a Turing Test for a moderate amount of time. It's completely

> Since you can't do so let me make the best case for the Chinese Room from
> your point of view and the most difficult case to defend from mine. Let's
> say you're right and the size of the lookup table is not important so we
> won't worry that it's larger than the observable universe, and let's say
> time is not a issue either so we won't worry that it operates a billion
> trillion times slower than our mind, and let's say the Chinese Room doesn't
> do ELIZA style bullshit but can engage in a brilliant and interesting (if
> you are very very very patient) conversation with you in Chinese or any
> other language about anything. And lets have the little man not only be
> ignorant of Chinese but be retarded and thus not understand anything in any
> language, he can only look at input symbols and then look at the huge
> lookup table till he finds similar squiggles and the appropriate response
> to those squiggles which he then outputs. The man has no idea what's going
> on, he just looks at input squiggles and matches them up with output
> squiggles, but from outside the room it's very different.


> You ask the room to produce a quantum theory of gravity and it does so, you
> ask it to output a new poem that a considerable fraction of the human race
> would consider to be very beautiful and it does so, you ask it to output a
> original fantasy children's novel that will be more popular than Harry
> Potter and it does so.

No. The thought experiment is not about simulating omniscience. If you
ask the room to produce anything outside of casual conversation, it
would politely decline.

> The room certainly behaves intelligently but the man
> was not conscious of any of the answers produced, as I've said the man
> doesn't have a clue what's going on, so does this disprove my assertion
> that intelligent behavior implies consciousness?

Yes. Nothing in the room is conscious, nor is the room itself, or the
building, city or planet conscious of the conversation.

> No it does not, or at least it probably does not, this is why. That
> reference book that contains everything that can be said about anything
> that can be asked in a finite time would be large, "astronomical" would be
> far far too weak a word to describe it,

Where are you getting that from? I haven't read anything about the
Chinese Room being defined as having superhuman intelligence. All it
has to do is make convincing Chinese conversation for a while.

> but it would not be infinitely
> large so it remains a legitimate thought experiment. However that
> astounding lookup table came from somewhere, whoever or whatever made it
> had to be very intelligent indeed and also I believe conscious, and so the
> brilliance of the actions of the Chinese Room does indeed imply
> consciousness.

Of course. Programs indeed reflect the intelligence and consciousness
of their programmers to an intelligent and conscious audience, but not
to the program itself. If the programmer and audience is dead, there
is no intelligence or consciousness at all. I think you are trying to
sneak out of this now by strawmanning my position. You make it sound
as if I claimed that CDs could not be used to play music because CDs
are not musicians. My position has always been that people can use
inanimate media to access subjective content by sense, yours has been
that if inanimate machines behave intelligently then they themselves
must be conscious and intelligent. Now you are backing off of that and
saying that anything that ever had anything to do with consciousness
can be said to be conscious.

> You may say that even if I'm right about that then a computer doing smart
> things would just imply the consciousness of the people who made the
> computer. But here is where the analogy breaks down, real computers don't
> work like the Chinese Room does, they don't have anything remotely like
> that astounding lookup table; the godlike thing that made the Chinese Room
> knows exactly what that room will do in every circumstance, but computer
> scientists don't know what their creation will do, all they can do is watch
> it and see.

First you say 'let's say that the impossible Chinese Room was
possible'. Then you say 'it still doesn't work because the Chinese
Room isn't possible'.

The Chinese Room is just the same as a program. It doesn't know how
the conversation will go, it's just a decision tree book of
instructions, like one of those 'Make your own adventure' books.

> But you may also say, I don't care how the room got made, I was talking
> about inside the room and I insist there was no consciousness inside that
> room.

I don't have to insist, it's blindingly obvious.

> I would say assigning a position to consciousness is a little like
> assigning a position to "fast" or "red" or any other adjective, it doesn't
> make a lot of sense. If your conscious exists anywhere it's not inside a
> vat made of bone balancing on your shoulders, it's where you're thinking
> about.

'Where were you on the night of October 15, 2011'?
'Well, your honor, in theory I was in a lingerie model's bedroom, and
then on the moons of Jupiter. I wasn't inside the head which was on
top of the body knocking over that liquor store'.

> I am the way matter behaves when it is organized in a johnkclarkian
> way and other things are the way matter behaves when it is organized in a
> chineseroomian way.

There is a difference between organized matter and matter that wants
to organize. There is no organization of ping pong balls that turns
into Shakespeare. The matter itself has to have these properties of
supporting sense and motive.

> And by the way, I don't intend to waste my time defending the assertion
> that intelligent behavior implies intelligence, that would be like debating
> if X implies X or not, I have better things to do with my time.

Strawmanning me again. Elmer Fudd exhibits angry behavior. Does that
imply that literally there is something that is Elmer Fudd and that he
is angry?

>   >The King James Bible can be downloaded here
> No thanks, I'll pass on that.
> >> Only?! Einstein only seemed intelligent to scientifically literate
> >> speakers in the outside world.
> >   > No, he was aware of his own intelligence too.
> How the hell do you know that? And you seem to be using the words
> "intelligent" and "conscious" interchangeably, they are not synonyms.

Why wouldn't he be aware of his own intelligence? I'm not dealing with
philosophical theories of epistemology, I'm working with reality. We
don't have to imagine solipsism just because subjectivity isn't

>   >If you start out defining intelligence as an abstract function and
> > category of behaviors
> Which is the only operational definition of intelligence.
>     > rather than quality of consciousness
> Which is a totally useless definition in investigating the intelligence of
> a computer or a person or a animal or of ANYTHING.

You admit then that you are not interested in defining it as it
actually is, but only what is convenient to investigate.

>     > I use ELIZA as an example because you can clearly see that it is not
> > intelligent
> So can I, so when you use that idiot program to try to advance your
> antediluvian ideas it proves nothing. If you want to make a point use
> Watson or Siri or some other program that produces useful information
> rather than silly evasions

Using Watson or Siri only adds irrelevant complication. At their core,
they are more sophisticated versions of the same kind of logic.

>     > Ok, make it a million times the size of ELIZA. A set of 1,000 books.
> That's not going to do it, make it a million million million million
> billion trillion times the size of Eliza and that still will not do it if
> it's just a lookup table, even scientific notation would not be sufficient
> to describe how large that lookup table would need to be.

Yet it fits in a human brain? Not even the entire brain, just parts of
the PFC.

> > If I'm a chef and I walk into a room, the room doesn't become a
> > restaurant. Why stop at the room, why not say the entire city speaks
> > Chinese? If consciousness worked this way then there could be no
> > localization at all - the universe would be one big intelligence that knows
> > everything about everything
> Consciousness has no unique localization, but it's important to remember
> that differences in position is not the only way to differentiate one thing
> from another; "slow" is clearly different from "fast" but not because they
> are in different places. The same thing could also be said about the number
> eleven and the number twelve, they are different but position has nothing
> to do with it.

So your position then is literally that the entire city speaks
Chinese. If I said that you would be outraged and demand that I say
yes or no to that absurd proposition.

> > > Are you saying that if Watson takes 2 seconds to answer a question it is
> > intelligent but if it takes 2 hours to answer the same question correctly
> > is it somehow less intelligent? Speed is meaningless for this thought
> > experiment.
> But it's supposed to prove something about consciousness not intelligence.
> and if your mind worked as slowly as the Chinese Room you might be
> conscious of the life and death of stars but not anything that happened
> faster than that.

It's a red herring. You are avoiding the meat and potatoes of the
thought experiment and scrutinizing the parsley with a microscope.

> > > We are alive because we are made of living organisms.
> And living organisms are made of atoms, just exactly like everything else
> including computers.

Not necessarily. Living organisms may have their lower limit at the
cellular level. As you said, location is not the only way of
establishing coherence.

> Life generally behaves in a more complex way than
> non-life but there is not a sharp line between life and non-life, and it's
> getting less sharp every day.

I agree. That's why I think that it may even be 100% relative. Life is
in the eye of the living.

> > You can't make a stem cell out of a semiconductor,
> Certainly you can. The difference between stem cells and semiconductors is
> exactly the same
> difference between my brain and last years mashed potatoes, the way the
> atoms are organized.

No, you can't. You can't water corn with sulfuric acid and you can't
make silicon and gemanium turn into DNA.

>   >I don't think the brain produces consciousness.
> Then some other organ must, your big toe perhaps?

No. Organs produce fluids and heat, not consciousness.

> > I think awareness produces consciousness.
> That's not very enlightening, awareness and consciousness are synonyms.

They can be synonyms, but they don't have to be. I define
consciousness specifically as meta-awareness; awareness of awareness.

> > Machines are automatic and pre-recorded, not live and aware.
> A computer recently figured out what the trillionth digit of PI was, do you
> really think that number was pre-recorded?

The process of calculating it was pre-recorded. There was no figuring
out of anything, just a running of a simple program for a long time.
We know what PI is, so it is significant to us, but the computer
doesn't know the difference between the trillionth digit of PI and a
recipe for chocolate cake.

> > > A bullet can do that because it's causing a physical catastrophe to the
> > brain as a whole, not because it is reprogramming the organization of the
> > mind.
> I don't know what your talking about, a bullet to the brain is a
> reprogramming, things behave very differently after that.

You are equating destruction with reprogramming. Reprogramming
requires a programmer to make changes to code. Shooting someone in the
head is not a software upgrade.


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