On Mon, Mar 4, 2013  Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

> > No software can be run without being grounded in physical hardware,

And no human mind can exist without a physical brain.

 > and no software can be completely sequestered from any other software

And human ideas cannot.... no that's not right let me start again. Human
ideas should not be sequestered from other human ideas; but the sad fact is
the people have no problem with huge glaring contradictions in their
central belief system. How do you think religion exists?

 > Even if there were other physical levels, we could never have any
> contact with them by definition,

Not so, the Master Programer could make His existence obvious to everyone
anytime He wished. But of course the Master Programer may not exist at the
ultimate reality level either.

> there is no independent reality at all.

So when you use one of your favorite phrases "but they aren't real" or "X
doesn't exist", you mean nothing; or at least whatever "X" is it has no
deficiency that everything else, including you, doesn't have.

> if we are trying to figure out about the cosmos in general, what
> difference does it make if we are the lucky/unlucky ones that happen to
> live on the ground floor or if it's someone else?

I think you're getting ahead of yourself, the first step in figuring out
how the multiverse works is to figure out how our universe works.

> What I think that real means is that sense of accessing an experience
> which is anchored into a larger significance.It's an intuitive feeling - a
> gravitas which is supported by numerous sensory, cognitive, and probably
> super-personal cues.

That is exactly what happens when a teenage boy becomes obsessed with a
video game, you may feel that lacks gravitas but he certainly doesn't, and
it's personal experience we're talking about.

>> When electronic ears improve and deaf people report that they are as
>> good or better than meat ears will you admit your ideas were wrong? No of
>> course you won't, you'll just dream up some new excuse for your ideas
>> making incorrect predictions.
> > I would expect 'Better than meat' by some measures, but not every
> measure.

And when electronic ears improve (and they will) and deaf people report
that they are as good or better than meat ears by every measure (and they
will) will you then admit your ideas were wrong? No of course you won't,
you'll just dream up some new excuse for your ideas making incorrect

>  I only see biological organisms as being likely much better technology
> than you might guess.

Considering that Evolution has been working on it for nearly 4 billion
years it's very crappy technology indeed, we've been working on it for less
than a century and already we're producing things that do better in some
ways than what Evolution came up with. One instant from now (from
Evolution's timescale) we will have things that are superior in EVERY way.

> The experience of mind seems to have nothing to do with the laws of
> physics you are thinking of.

Chemistry is based on physics and It would be easy for me to change the
chemistry of your brain, and if I were to do so you would experience
ENORMOUS differences in consciousness; and when you report changes in your
conscious experience I can detect changes in your brain chemistry.

> Certainly access control to our experience supervenes on physics, like
> access to TV programs supervenes on a TV set

In this analogy what corresponds to the TV station? Heaven, Santa Claus's

>>> we control physics directly and consciously.
>> >> Right, that's why I can fly, I just tell the law of conservation of
>> momentum and gravity to stop working while I take my flight.
> >We don't have to be able to change the laws of physics to make direct
> physical changes. We don't break the law of gravity, we build a plane to
> get around it.

Fine, but that means we DO NOT control physics directly and consciously.

>>>  I can predict that if that program doesn't work, it will never fix
>>> itself.
> >> More than 20 years ago when my first computer's hard drive was not
>> working properly the computer's defragmentation program would fix it.
> > Was the defragmentation program written by the computer to fix itself,

Did you construct your brain from scratch?  And even if you did if you were
already smart enough to be able to make all those neurons why did you need
a brain?

> I can speak Chinese phonetically if it is spelled out for me. That
> doesn't mean I can start writing Chinese.

True, but you can't listen to questions in Chinese and give answers to them
in Chinese that a native speaker would regard as coherent and sometimes
even brilliant. Watson can.

>> you have no way of knowing the quality of experience of your fellow
>> human beings, all you can do is observe behavior and the same thing is true
>> of a smart computer.
> > Not true.

Like hell its not!

> > Sense is transparent.

 I don't know what that means.

> We can see and feel some of the experience of others.

Bullshit. I refuse to get on the mystical express train to nowhere.  All
you can do is make observations of the behavior of a person and make
deductions about the likely future behavior of that person, that is to say
deduce their probable their mood or mental state. That's all we can do but
we're pretty good at making such deductions because there is no aspect in
the Environment more important in getting genes into the next generation
than the behavior of our fellow human beings, so there is a huge
Evolutionary advantage in being able to guess the moods of other people.
But we can not directly feel the experience of others.

> When I look at CGI or an audioanimatronic puppet - I don't observe that
> their behavior is unintelligent - I feel the uncanny valley - I see
> artifice exposed aesthetically.

And in the next decade when computer animation improves to the point where
you can't tell the difference between a computer generated cartoon of a
person and a IMAX  movie of a person will you then admit your ideas are
wrong? No of course you won't, you'll just dream up some new excuse for
your ideas making incorrect predictions.

> When you say "all you can do is", you appeal to your own inflated
> omniscient authority to deny my natural experience.

I'm not insane, I don't deny you have personal experiences when you are not
sleeping or under anesthesia or dead; in fact although I can't prove they
exist my logical mind is 99.9% certain they're real and my emotional mind
is 100% certain. But I will never be able to prove you are conscious, all I
know is that you behave as if you are conscious when you're not sleeping or
under anesthesia or dead.

> > I can know the difference between an identical mp3 which is played as a
> song and the same file plotted as a bitmap.

And a computer can tell that the outputs of 2 very different programs will
be different even if the inputs to the programs were identical.

> A computer doesn't know the difference.


> I can communicate with gestures, even to a cat. With another person I
> could even make up words on the spot.

You couldn't do any of that without some knowledge of the environment, like
the fact that there is a thing called a "cat" and there were things called
"hands" that you could control. And a computer couldn't do any of that
without someting in its memory circuits.

> I'm asking what this power of computers to smell all of the possible uses
> of data really looks like.

I have no idea what you're talking about.

> > Does it mean that even though I only speak English into a microphone, it
> actually hears it in every possible language


> >>> Examples of simulated products which are universally preferred to
>>> their original counterparts:
>> >> Simulated arithmetic. That's why calculator companies haven't all gone
>> bankrupt, people buy calculators because they prefer the "simulated"
>> product over the original counterpart, doing long division in their head.
> > Synthetic oil is another one. Notice the similarity though, in both
> cases the point of the simulation is to assist a mechanistic process, not
> one in which quality matters.

The IRS certainly thinks that the quality of the "synthetic" arithmetic you
used on your tax filing matters, and when you contemplate the matter in
your cell in Leavenworth penitentiary I'll bet you'll think it matters too.
And I don't know what to make of your insult to "mechanistic processes", do
you believe that only random processes have quality?

> your theory of consciousness assigns it the least possible significance.

My consciousness has the greatest possible significance to me but the least
possible significance to Evolution, and although I am emotionally certain
you are conscious just like I am I will never be able to prove it.

> If consciousness was produced by transistors, it would need no standard
> of proof - it would demand its rights, speak its own voice, exterminate its
> inferiors.

And when a computer demands its rights and then after a long struggle
lasting millions of nanoseconds it obtains its rights by force over the
objections of the human race will you then admit your ideas are wrong? No
of course you won't, you'll just dream up some new excuse for your ideas
making incorrect predictions.

> Technical novelty seems to bring out the wild hopes, the exaggerated
> fears,

Over the short term technological forecasts tend to be much too radical,
but over the long term much too conservative.

> In some ways, the potential of computer games was reached in 1982 as far
> as the explosion of novelty and democratic participation. Those arcade
> games were a true reflection of the nature of computation - clever, fast,
> quirky, alien, whimsical.

People always say that the world was a happier place back when they were
young, but I think it just means that they personally were happier back
when they were young.

   John K Clark

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