X-Message-Number: 11059
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 12:50:00 -0500 (EST)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Philosophical Issues

On Sat, 9 Jan 1999, Ettinger wrote:

> 3. The Turing-test arguments are total nonsense. It is easy to show that
> passing a "Turing Test" is neither necessary nor sufficient to prove
> humanity or awareness.  

So, now we can add Turing to the list of geniuses and visionaries whom 
Bob Ettinger has been able to dismiss or discredit in his spare time.

I hesitate to make a radical suggestion, but a lot of the issues
about soul, personality, computer intelligence, and on and on and on 
have already been addressed by people whose training, experience, and 
achievements suggest they may actually know what they're talking about.

For instance, I refer interested readers to THE AGE OF SPIRITUAL MACHINES
by Ray Kurzweil (recently published). Kurzweil is of course one of the
greatest innovators in computer science: a pioneer in character
recognition, sound synthesis, and speech recognition. In 1988 MIT named
him "inventor of the year." Since most cryonicists seem to view academic
credentials and real-world experience with a mixture of suspicion and
contempt, Kurzweil's achievements may not mean much here; but as far as
I'm concerned, his book renders many of the perennial
soul/humanity/identity debates a bit ... redundant. 

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