X-Message-Number: 12695
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #12685 - #12693
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 22:29:45 +1100 (EST)

Still more on emotions, computers, intelligence, etc

To Kennita: I myself do not believe in the notion that we'll find
ourselves obsolete due to computers. I hope that was clear from my
posting. However we still need answers to those who DO believe that.
And even if you agree with me here, you may be interested in what you
can say to someone who does.

To Daniel Crevier: I will emphasize again that I am NOT arguing for the
impossibility of a machine with emotions. I AM, however, pointing out that
they are separate from intelligence, and that we might indeed make a 
machine which is more intelligent than us but totally lacks any emotions.
Minsky's comment on these issues has little to do with what I was saying.
It is just a statement of how WE work (perhaps with the implication that
this is how we'd make a computer with feelings and goals).

Possibly we have a different definition of feelings here. You may note,
if you read what I've said on other matters, that I do not count the
ability of a computer to act out a program as any sign of feelings or
goals. It's just a more elaborate version of the ability of a car to
turn when you move the steering wheel and it is in motion. To be goals
or feelings OF THE MACHINE, they must come from the machine, not from
us or some separate entity.

As for constructing such a machine, I think that would be unwise, but
conceivably someone may someday try it. To explicate what I've just said,
I think it would be unwise because I see no reason why it would ever
be NECESSARY... no matter how powerful and percipient we made our

And finally, a bit about nanotechnology, for John Clark: Yes, I too have
noticed (and even discussed in PERIASTRON) such things as the invention 
of nanosized switches. I will also point out something uncomfortable: it's
fine that various people are now using these ideas to make better
computers. But they do nothing at all to solve our problems as
cryonicists, and show no desire to do so. The problem of reviving a badly
damaged brain, and the problem of making much better computers, both
depend on fundamental understanding of nanophenomena. But solution of one
such problem will do little to solve the other, even though both may
involve some form of nanotechnology.

I will add, as someone who has paid close attention to cryobiology for 
all the years I've been a member of a cryonics society (and then some)
that we have a good chance of finding out how to suspend brains which 
ARE NOT badly damaged, and if anything that deserves our first priority
until we've got it working. It won't solve our problems completely, far
from that, but it's a good start. Later on we ARE likely to need some
kind of nanotechnology (in the broad sense) for repair, given that repair
is possible at all. We're not going to easily escape the possibility that
some brains (OURS???) may end up badly damaged and need such technologies.

			Best and long long life for all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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