On Thursday, September 27, 2012 11:30:40 PM UTC-4, Stephen Paul King wrote:
>  On 9/27/2012 10:40 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
> On Thursday, September 27, 2012 8:40:14 PM UTC-4, stathisp wrote: 
>> On Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 12:55 AM, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com> 
>> wrote: 
>> > Say that you have been captured by the [totalitarian fiend of your 
>> choice], 
>> > and are tied up in a basement somewhere. The torture has begun, and is 
>> has 
>> > become clear that it will continue to get worse until you 'become one 
>> of 
>> > them'. 
>> > 
>> > Fortunately you have been supplied by your team with a 'Chalmers' 
>> device, 
>> > which allows you to know exactly what to say and do to convince your 
>> captors 
>> > that you have turned and become 'one of them' in earnest. Using 
>> real-time em 
>> > field sensitivity and quantum computing, the computational states are 
>> not 
>> > only analyzed, but predicted for everyone in the room so that you are 
>> > furnished with the best lines and gestures, sobbing, explaining, etc. 
>> > 
>> > The Chalmers device allows you to be a flawless actor. Is there any 
>> reason 
>> > that this wouldn't work in theory? What law says that acting can only 
>> be so 
>> > good, and beyond that you actually have to 'love Big Brother' in order 
>> to 
>> > seem like you do? If we had a device that would allow us to control our 
>> > bodies, emotions, and minds precisely and absolutely, why couldn't we 
>> use 
>> > that device as a mask? 
>> The perfect actor might believe it or he might just be acting. Acting 
>> is top-down replacement, not bottom-up replacement. Bottom-up 
>> replacement would involve replacing a part of your brain so that you 
>> didn't notice any difference and no-one else noticed any difference. 
> Acting is an augmentation, not a replacement. It's a skill set. It 
> involves a capacity to embody social expectations so that one's audience 
> doesn't notice any difference. It's the same exact result from the third 
> person view. An actor is a zombie being operated by a person.
>> > Part II 
>> > 
>> > Instead of replacing parts of the brain with perfect functional 
>> replicas, 
>> > what if we used a hot wire to ablate or burn parts of the brain. If I 
>> burn 
>> > one region, you lose the power of speech. If I burn another, you lose 
>> all 
>> > understanding of physics and math. If I burn another, you go into a 
>> coma. I 
>> > can do different combinations of ablation on different subjects, but 
>> would 
>> > there be any case in which someone who was dead could be induced to 
>> speak or 
>> > solve math problems? Why not? I could replace the motherboard of a 
>> burned 
>> > out computer with any other compatible motherboard and expect to pick 
>> up 
>> > right where I left off. If I toasted a critical part of any computer, 
>> there 
>> > is no loss of potential functionality to any of the other parts, 
>> whether 
>> > that part is implicated in the boot up process or not. Just because a 
>> > computer won't boot doesn't mean that it can't be easily repaired. Not 
>> so 
>> > with a living organism. If you blow out a simple power supply in a 
>> > biological system, it will never run again - not even a little bit. 
>> > 
>> > What say ye? 
>> Replacing body parts that break down with artificial ones is 
>> well-established in the medical industry, and will become increasingly 
>> so in future as the devices become more sophisticated. 
> Are you saying that you expect replacing someone's brain would be no more 
> problematic than replacing any other body part?
> Craig
> Hi Craig,
>     I kinda have to side with Stathis a bit here. The problem that you are 
> hinging an argument on it merely technical, it is not principled. My 
> opinion is that a neuron is vastly more complex in its structure than a 
> transistor, heck its got its own power supply and repair system and more 
> built in! Nature, if anything, is frugal, there would not be redundant 
> stuff in a neuron such that we only need to replace some aspect of it in 
> order to achieve functional equivalence. 
>     The point is that the brain is a specialized biological computer

Yes and no. It is biological and one of the things that it does is compute, 
but computation is not sufficient to describe the brain (or any organic 
cell, tissue, or system).

> that has achieved computational universality because it learned how to 
> process language.

The role of language is controversial. It's important, no doubt, but it 
isn't clear that human language is the killer app that enabled the rise of 
Homo sapiens. We don't really know which organisms have language, nor can 
we say for sure that any species has no language as far as I can tell. 
Quorum sensing is bacterial language. Prairie dogs have language, birds, 
crickets, trees. It depends how we define it.

It is because it can figure with symbols and representations that it can do 
> what it does. This does not make it "special" in any miraculous way, it 
> just shows us how Nature and its evolutionary ways is vastly more 
> "intelligent" than we can possibly imagine ourselves to be.

I agree it's not special in any miraculous way. I have never advocated 
human exceptionalism. What does that have to do with acting being a 
perfectly appropriate counterfactual for the zombie assumption?


> -- 
> Onward!
> Stephen
> http://webpages.charter.net/stephenk1/Outlaw/Outlaw.html

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