X-Message-Number: 12679
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999 23:35:53 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Feeling and Behavior

Thomas Donaldson (#12668) writes:

>Basically, executing a program doesn't count, even if the program and
>computer are advanced enough that the computer can seem to act like
>a person. It's at differences such as these that I agree with Bob:
>we cannot just use behavior, we need to know more about how it came
>about. (Yes, I'd hardly be surprised if some people on Cryonet disagree
>with me here). The thing to look at is the ORIGIN of the behavior.

I may be one of the "disagreers" here. Let's say we have 3 scenarios. In #1
a robot has an onboard computer, call it an ROC ("robot onboard computer").
It does various goal-oriented things, including looking for electrical
outlets when its batteries are low, and some of us (self included) conclude
it has feelings, at some low level. In scenario 2 the ROC sits stationary on
a desk and communicates by radio signals with the robot, which now no longer
has an onboard computer, but otherwise things are the same as before, i.e.
the same behavior and computation occur, with input to the ROC and output of
results, whatever it was. Here I would conclude that equal feelings were
produced in the system, since I identify the "brain" of the robot, where
feeling occurs, with the ROC. (The purist may complain here that the system
as a whole is different, thus it may be incorrect to say that "equal"
feeling occurs. But, while this point may have some marginal validity, at
minimum the far greater part of the feeling occurs in the "brain," the ROC,
so I think we are justified in focusing on that alone.) In scenario 3 I
imagine the ROC sits on the desk again, but this time there is no real
robot, just a carefully modeled virtual robot say, in some other, stationary
computer nearby, that sends its (virtual) sensory impressions into the ROC,
which then responds. But in this case the input, output, and computations of
the ROC are again, exactly the same as before. Again, I would say that an
equal and genuine feeling is being expressed in the ROC.

Mike Perry

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