On Tuesday, March 5, 2013 4:19:31 PM UTC-5, William R. Buckley wrote:
> The machine is informed.  

Trivially, yes, but information is all about multiple levels. My mailbox 
could be informed when it receives mail - but that's just a figure of 
speech. No machine is ever literally or richly informed - notified maybe. 
Signalled. Triggered. Sure. To be 'In' formed though suggests that 
something cares about receiving this experience and intends to make use of 
it out of a personal agenda. You don't have to want to be informed, but you 
have to be able to want to.

> Acceptance demonstrates the act of becoming 
> informed.  The yield of such acceptance is called meaning.
> Easily, trivially, this language can be applied to machine and organism 
> without 
> concomitant observation of the slightest distinction between them.

Only if you rule out subjectivity from the start. Sure, if you treat an 
organism like a body, then there is no meaningful distinction between that 
and a machine - but bodies aren't informed, they are form, perform, 
conform, etc but there is no place for an experience in a body.

> The definition of a being has nothing to do (imposes no causal 
> consequence) 
> with a sign.  Signs can be accepted by organisms and machines 
> (non-organisms?) 
> with equal dexterity to provide equal meaning.  A community of machines 
> (like 
> Robbie the Robot) can equally define meaning to things as can a community 
> of 
> beings.  That you claim need to impose human interpretation in order to 
> obtain 
> meaning is strictly the bailiwick of anthropomorphism.

Meaning may not work that way. If I'm right, meaning is anchored to a 
direct line of descent from the beginning of time. While Robbie the Robot 
can be programmed to act like we think we act, it has nothing to do with 
meaning, sign, or significance. The robotic process does not decode a sign, 
it simply encodes it into other signs which it has been instructed to. If 
there is a creature around to appreciate that conversion, it is because 
they decode it into a meaningful experience that informs them. Without the 
creature there - the natural decoder of those particular signs, there is no 
informing at all and Robbie the Robot will go on talking to himself forever 
on a barren planet, unaware of anything except for voltage and temperature.


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