Re: [asa] Sense and nonsense

From: Dave Wallace <>
Date: Fri Jun 22 2007 - 15:41:34 EDT

Iain Strachan wrote:

> The "strong AI" adherents would argue that consciousness is an "emergent
> property" of a sufficiently large and sufficiently interconnected
> neurons. The human brain has 10^10 neurons, with 10^14 interconnections
> (synapses). If you are of the strong AI persuasion, then you will
> believe that when we can build a computer with sufficient memory to
> simulate such a large neural network (and that time can only be a couple
> of decades away at most), then you will have a sentient, conscious
> machine like Data in Star Trek. In other words you would have a
> conscious algorithm. A futurologist from British Telecom gave a talk
> which I attended when he suggested that a "Data" would be a possibility
> by 2015 - a timeline much shorter than that envisaged by Gene Roddenberry!
> Such theories reach their ultimate philosophical embodiment in so-called
> "Alorithmic Theories of Everything", which suggest that the universe is
> just a simulation on a gigantic computer. See
> for an introduction
> to this idea. It also led to a kind of religious idea, dubbed "The
> Great Programmer Religion" - the Great Programmer running all possible
> universes up to a similar complexity as ours, in parallel on a gigantic
> computer.

> I don't know which side I'd take in the debate - I think we simply don't
> know enough to be able to say.
> Iain

Iain put it very well.

Back in the 60s the original of the following program was created:

> Web-based version of this person-centered therapist emulator.

> ELIZA emulates a Rogerian psychotherapist.
> ELIZA has almost no intelligence whatsoever, only tricks like string

and canned responses based on keywords. Yet when the original ELIZA
first appeared

in the 60's, some people actually mistook her for human. The illusion of

works best, however, if you limit your conversation to talking about
yourself and

your life.

Google Eliza and run either version, it even works over slow speed dial
up. Eliza was written for slow machines (cycle time 10micro secs or
less) with very limited memory (32K words or less) and the techniques
used are not even up to primitive AI of the 60s.

So as not to offend anyone, how can any of you tell that I am not a much
advanced version of a complex AI linguistic machine of which Eliza was a
cave man like prototype? Some days when I do something especially
stupid, I even wonder if I would qualify as a regressed version. How
does my wife know that I am a person? The only real answer I have is
that accepting others self consciousness/personhood is a step of faith
not in conflict with reason. Would seeing me in person actually help
make such a decision? Probably it would, but I wonder if it really should.

Dave W

Dial up speed up to 36K again.

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Received on Fri Jun 22 15:42:06 2007

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