On Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 1:04 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

> The ability to test depends entirely on my familiarity with the human and
> how good the technology is. Can I touch them, smell them? If so, then I
> would be surprised if I could be fooled by an inorganic body. Has there ever
> been one synthetic imitation of a natural biological product that can
> withstand even moderate examination?
> If you limit the channel of my interaction with the robot however, I stand
> much less of a chance of being able to tell the difference. A video
> conference with the robot only requires that they look convincing on camera.
> We can't tell the difference between a live performance and a taped
> performance unless there is some clue in the content. That is because we
> aren't literally present so we are only dealing with a narrow channel of
> sense experience to begin with.
> In any case, what does being able to tell from the outside have to do with
> whether or not the thing feels? If it is designed by experts to fool other
> people into thinking that it is alive, then so what if it succeeds at
> fooling everyone? Something can't fool itself into thinking that it is
> alive.

A film is nor a good example because you can't interact with it. The
point is that if it is possible to make a robot that fools everyone
then this is ipso facto a philosophical zombie. It doesn't feel but it
pretends to feel. A corollary of this is that a philosophical zombie
could display all the behaviour of a living being. So how can you be
sure that living beings other than you are not zombies? Also, what is
the evolutionary utility of consciousness if the same results could
have in principle been obtained without it?

Stathis Papaioannou

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