The arguments are not so much arguments, but a collection of dubious
His first argument is that the brain is not computable, which requires
assuming the brain does not operate according to known physics, as all
known physics is computable.
The second and third objections are that we need to understand
consciousness and solve the hard problem before we can replicate a brain.
I don't see how this follows. Ted Berger offers a convincing argument
against the necessity of needing a theory of mind to do his work (which is
creating neural prosthesis): "I don't need a grand theory of the mind to
fix what is essentially a signal-processing problem. A repairman doesn't
need to understand music to fix your broken CD player."
The fourth argument is that special materials are needed for consciousness.
Where is the evidence?
The fifth argument is that a non-physical soul is required. If a
gelatinous blob of cells can have a soul, why can't any other machine?
The sixth, that it would be unethical is surprising. Is it unethical to
give people artificial hearts, or limbs? Why will it be unethical to give
them prosthetic brain regions or entire brains?
The seventh, again requires belief in some kind of non-physical soul that
can't be duplicated and is necessary for identity.
The eight, well who wouldn't take the risk of hacking over the certainty of
Despite the large number of "arguments", I find none of them convincing.
On Thu, May 2, 2013 at 11:45 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:
> Nice. It could be heavier on support on the points, but not bad for a
> superficial pop-sci treatment.
> My comments:
> It’s a mistake to think of this debate in terms of having insufficient
> understanding or technology to simulate consciousness. The point is that we
> already have sufficient understanding of the problem to suspect that in
> fact, the entire assumption that private experience can be assembled by
> public bodies is false. I see this not as a point of religious sentiment,
> but of physical ontology. To presume that we could ever make a program, for
> instance, which projects an image that we can see without any physical
> projection technology would be an error. No amount of logic can turn a
> simulation of water into actual water that we can drink. To quote
> Korzybski, “The map is not the territory”, or Magritte “Ceci n’est pas une
> It seems that we have become so enamored with computation that we have
> lost this sense of discernment between figures which we use to represent
> and the genuine presentations which are experienced first hand. Figures and
> symbols are only valid within a particular mode of interpretation. What is
> stored in a computer has no aesthetic content. If you tell the computer the
> data is a picture, it will barf out onto the screen whatever noise
> corresponds to that picture. If you tell the computer to use the sound card
> instead, then it will dump the noise as acoustic vibration. The computer
> doesn’t care, either way, data is just data. It is a-signifying and generic
> - the exact opposite of conscious experience which derives its significance
> from proprietary experience through time rather than mechanical function or
> forms. Consciousness is neither form nor function, it is the participatory
> aesthetic appreciation of form and function, and I am willing to bet that
> it is actually the fundamental principle of the cosmos, upon which all
> forms and functions, all matter and energy depend.
> As far as embodiment goes, the issue should be refocused so that human
> consciousness in particular is understood as a special case within the
> universal phenomenon of sensory-motor participation, which goes all the way
> down to the bottom. It’s not that mind needs a body, its that private
> awareness correlates to specific public presentations. These public
> presentations, while possible to imitate and substitute to the extent that
> the insensitivity of the perceiver permits, there is no way, from an
> absolute perspective to completely replace any experience with anything
> other than that particular experience. Unlike figures and symbols,
> experiences are rooted in the firmament of eternity. They make a certain
> kind of sense from every angle which is transparent - experiences allow us
> to triangulate meaning through them, and to elide or bridge gaps with leaps
> of understanding. (“A-ha!”).
> Experiences can misrepresent each other on different levels, conflicting
> expectations can produce ‘illusions’ but these all ultimately have the
> potential to be revealed through the fullness of time. Simulated reality
> offers no such universal grounding, and promises true prisons which are
> isolated from any possibility of escape. That could happen in theory as a
> consequence of Strong AI, but it won’t in reality, because Strong AI will,
> I think, evaporate in a cloud of hype eventually, and I think that this
> very conversation is a clue that it is happening already. This is not a bad
> thing, not a cause for mourning and disappointment, but an exciting time
> when we can set aside our toy model of physics which disqualifies its model
> maker for long enough to form a new, fully integrated model of the universe
> which sees perception not as a metaphysical ‘emergent property’ but as the
> private view of physics itself. Physics is perception and participation,
> i.e. consciousness.
> On Wednesday, May 1, 2013 9:41:36 PM UTC-4, Stephen Paul King wrote:
>> I apologize in advance for the gross errors that this post
>> and all of my posts will contain. ;-)
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