On 3/7/2013 4:57 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:



On Thursday, March 7, 2013 7:33:46 PM UTC-5, Brent wrote:

    On 3/7/2013 3:01 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:


    On Thursday, March 7, 2013 5:45:14 PM UTC-5, Brent wrote:

        On 3/7/2013 2:21 PM, Stephen P. King wrote:
        On 3/7/2013 12:04 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
        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.

--
        Hi Craig,

            Excellent post! You have nailed computational immaterialism where it
        really hurts. Computations cannot see, per the Turing neo-Platonists, 
any
        hardward at all. This is their view of computational universality. But 
here in
        the thing, it is the reason why they have a 'body problem'. For a 
Platonistic
        Machine, there is no hardware or physical world at all. So, why do I 
have the
        persistent illusion that I am in a body and interacting with another
        computation via its body?

            The physical delusion is the thin client, to use your words and 
discussion.


        I'm fairly sure Bruno will point out that a delusion is a thought and 
so is
        immaterial.  You have an immaterial experience fo being in a body.

        But the analogy of the thin client is thin indeed.  In the example of 
the Mars
        rover it corresponds to looking a computer bus and saying, "See there 
are just
        bits being transmitted over this wire, therefore this Mars rover can't 
have
        qualia."  It's nothing-buttery spread thin.


    Why? What's your argument other than you don't like it? Of course the Mars 
rover
    has no qualia.

    That's your careful reasoning?


My reasoning is that in constructing thin client architectures we find that we save processing overhead by treating the i/o as a simple bitstream applied to extend just the keyboard, mouse, and video data. We understand that there is a great deal less processing than if we actually tried to network a computer at the application level, or use the resources of the server as a mapped remote drive. What accounts for this lower overhead is that the simulation of a GUI is only a thin shadow of what is required to actually share resources. If qualia were inherent, then the thin client would save us nothing, since the keystrokes and screenshots would have to contain all of the same processing 'qualia'.

I can't even make sense of that assertion. "If qualia were inherent" in what? If they were inherent in the keystrokes and screenshots then they would take no more processing than screenshots and keystrokes.

The view from the thin client, resembling the server OS that we expect, would be all the evidence that you would need to announce that I can't prove that there is a thin client.

What does "the view from the thin client" mean?

What is your counter argument though? Why do you keep putting my view on the offensive with no substantial criticism?

If qualia are generated by information processing then they exist where information is processed. In your example, there is little processing by the keyboard and the monitor. But in any case "qualia" are no more localized in hardware than is computation.



    The thin client metaphor is exactly why. All that are being transmitted are 
the
    sets of data that the software is trained to recognize. The rover could 
spit out a
    thin client mini-rover that is just a camera on wheels and the rover could 
steer it
    remotely. Would the mini-rover have qualia now too, as an eyeball on a 
wheel?

    No, it's the autonomous system rover+minirover that would have qualia.


Why does the system include just those and not the programming, programmers, and the whole history of computing that has the qualia?

Because those are far away and long ago. Whatever effects they have are via the local hardware - which is why we call a Mars rover autonomous.




        Meantime the Mars rover and Watson continue to exhibit intelligence of 
the same
        kind you would associate with qualia if exhibted by a human being, or 
even by a
        dog.


    That shouldn't be surprising. Mannequins resemble human bodies standing 
still
    remarkably well.

    More reasoning?


More unsupported criticism?



          You have no argument, just wetware racism.


    I'm the one laying out a carefully reasoned example. You are the one 
responding
    with empty accusations. It doesn't seem like my position is the one closer 
to racism.

    No you're the one with the double standard.  If it acts intelligent and it's
    wetware, it is intelligent.

    If it acts intelligent and its hardware it can't be intelligent.


So if a broken piece of tape that you put on a door tells you that there's been an intruder, is it intelligent tape? Or an intelligent tear in the tape?

No, I use intelligent to mean capable of processing information and learning so as to act toward goals. You could define it just as information processing, in which case the tape processes one bit and halts. So equating the two is just a kind of word play of your part to obfuscate the point.

    If you have any other critereon, any conceivable empirical evidence, that 
would
    convince you that an intelligent acting entity made of hardware in 
intelligent I'd
    like to hear it.  It there is none, then it's mere prejudice.


I have already addressed this. The empirical evidence is simple. Create an artificial brain. Walk someone off of their natural brain onto the artificial brain one hemisphere at a time. Let them live in the artificial brain for a few months, then walk them back over. If they say that they were indeed awake and felt normally conscious while in the digital brain, then I would take their word for it, for sure.

Why would that make any difference to you.  Maybe they just had false memories 
implanted.


What is your empirical evidence that will convince you that my view is right?

While watching brain with whatever instrumentation is necessary, observe a physical change not consistent with known physics. And even more convincing if the change is repeatable and correlates with a reported or acted choice.

Brent


Craig


    Brent

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