X-Message-Number: 12652
From: "John Clark" <>
References: <>
Subject: Once more, with feeling
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 12:00:03 -0400

In  #12647   on  Tue, 26 Oct 1999 Wrote:

    >>You said, without apparent embarrassment, that present day
    >>computers were intelligent, therefore I can say without embarrassment
    >>that present day computers are emotional, especially when there is
    >>not the slightest chance of my ever being proven wrong.

    >If there  is "not the slightest chance" of his being proven wrong, then
    > his assertion  is unfalsifiable and useless if not meaningless.

Bingo, give that man a cigar! Statements of that sort are foolish and
just as unfalsifiable and useless as your statement that computers
do not have emotions. The entire train of thought is a dead end and
that's why Kurzwell was wise in saying nothing about it in his book,
there is nothing to say.

    >We can learn about the internal working of other minds in the same way

    >we learn about  invisible subatomic particles--by experiment and inference.
Exactly, and the Scientific Method still works even if the other mind is not
made of meat.

    >It may also  become possible one day, e.g. by some kind of electronic
    >"telepathy" to  actually feel someone else's experiences at the same
    >time he does.

You know for certain you experience emotions when you hook up to the
telepathic machine, but the only reason you have for thinking that those
emotions have anything to do with what I'm feeling is that some theory tells
you it does, and that theory could only be produced by observing behavior.

    >Meanwhile--and what could be simpler, more obvious or more reasonable?--we
    >observe that other people behave much like us, and have anatomy/physiology
    >much like ours, hence they almost certainly have feelings similar to ours.

We? Ours? They? Us? You have one and only one example, yourself.
You can not form a coherent theory about anything, much less on how
anatomy/physiology produce feelings, from one example and that's all
you have.That's why behavior is so important in figuring out what's going
on, other people behave like me so they probably feel like me.

    >I say there is no reason whatsoever to impute feeling to the thing

If you can say a thermostat is intelligent I can say a thermostat is
emotional, not that either statement is terribly useful.

    John K Clark       

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