If you have ever worked with Terminal Servers, RDP, Citrix Metaframe, or 
the like (and that's what I have been doing professionally every day for 
the last 14 years), you will understand the idea of a Thin Client 
architecture. Thin clients are as old as computing, and some of you 
remember as I do, devices like acoustic couplers where you can attach a 
telephone handset to a telephone cradle, so that the mouth ends of the 
handset and the earpiece ends could squeal to each other. In this way, you 
could, with nothing but a keyboard and a printer, use your telephone to 
allow you access to a mainframe computer at some university.

The relevance here is that the client end is thin computationally. It 
passes nothing but keystrokes and printer instructions back and forth as 
acoustic codes. 

This is what an mp3 file does as well. It passes nothing but binary 
instructions that can be used by an audio device to vibrate. Without a 
person's ear there to be vibrated, this entire event is described by linear 
processes where one physical record is converted into another physical 
record. Nothing is encoded or decoded, experienced or appreciated. There is 
no sound. 

Think about those old plastic headphones in elementary school that just had 
hollow plastic tubes as connectors - a system like that generates sound 
from the start, and the headphones are simply funnels for our ears. That's 
a different thing from an electronic device which produces sound only in 
the earbuds. 

All of these discussions about semiotics, free will, consciousness, 
AI...all come down to understanding the Thin Client. The Thin Client is 
Searle's Chinese Room in actual fact. You can log into a massive server 
from some mobile device and use it like a glove, but that doesn't mean that 
the glove is intelligent. We know that we can transmit only mouseclicks and 
keystrokes across the pipe and that it works without having to have some 
sophisticated computing environment (i.e. qualia) get communicated. The 
Thin Client exposes Comp as misguided because it shows that instructions 
can indeed exist as purely instrumental forms and require none of the 
semantic experiences which we enjoy. No matter how much you use the thin 
client, it never needs to get any thicker. It's just a glove and a window.

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