On 2/20/2013 9:20 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 12:31 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

Just the opposite. I have in mind that no test is necessary for
consciousness. Just being conscious ourselves may allow us to infer some
things about consciousness. Tests can just as easily be used to exaggerate
our bias. There were tests for witches, tests for eugenics. It's very
compelling to have some justification to quiet those noisy doubts of
But you do have some test of consciousness in mind since you admit
that a machine might fool you into thinking it's conscious. Your
intuition is therefore not foolproof here. What means do you use to
decide if your intuition is correct?

In saying that machines aren't conscious, I have no qualms, no axe to grind.
I love technology, I have no agenda against machines, I simply observe that
there is no possibility that they have awareness on the machine level,

How could "no possibility of awareness" be observed?? I could understand that no evidence of awareness was observed. But I can't understand the observance of the absence of possibility.

and I
think that I understand why that is. If anyone really did have any intuition
at all of machine intelligence that was independent of wishful thinking, I
think that you would see computer scientists quitting AI sometimes because
of the ethics of operating on the machines themselves.

No, they just wouldn't program the machines to be conscious - and John McCarthy, inventor of LISP and "The Father of AI" did exactly that; and he cautioned AI researchers against creating conscious robots precisely because of the ethical problem.

Why don't we see

Because you don't look for anything that might contradict your prejudices?

Why isn't there an abolitionist movement for machines? These are not
proof, they are clues. You have to reason for yourself about consciousness.
There will never be a meaningful test.
There are several points here. Firstly, people kill animals and
enslave other humans, so if they do believe they are conscious they
don't think their consciousness matters.

Or they think it is advantageous to have smart slaves.

Secondly, if machines have
the potential to be conscious that does not mean that all machines in
fact are conscious.

Right. A computer can be programmed to implement any computable function, but we know that most of those programs do not result in intelligent behavior - and as John C. Clark points out, intelligent behavior is the best measure we have of consciousness.


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