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
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
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
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.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email
To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.