X-Message-Number: 14578
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 13:37:35 +0200
From: Henri Kluytmans <>
Subject: Lanier views on was "the singularity"

"Joseph Kehoe" wrote :

>An interesting article with replies from some luminaries...

Regarding Lanier's article "The Third Culture", where he 
introduces the term "cybernetic totalism", this article 
is full of misconceptions!

This Lanier seems to assume that there only exist computing systems  
functioning like Turing machines i.e. having a serial 
architecture. (Maybe, because almost all contemporary computing 
systems function like that.) And indeed computer systems like 
these are prone to malfunctions because of programming faults.

However the artificial brains that many transhumanists envision 
for the future will probably be more like an electronic neural 
network system. An architecture similar to the human brain. He 
doesnt seem to be aware of this.

On page 4 he also assumes that we will have to write the software 
for an artificial intelligence. But it's fairly likely that 
this is not the way an AI will be created. Neural networks 
are trained and not written. It's likely that AIs will be 
evolved using genetic algorithms.

Then he continues with examples about the unreliability and 
poor intelligence of current PC software. However this is not 
relevant because future AIs will be based on a very different 

On page 6 he compares the quest for proving computer sentience 
to the proof of God's existence !!!
(I wouldnt use the term "computer" sentience.)

However we dont have to prove that artificial sentience is 
possible. It is only a question of technology, not science. 

According to physics there are no special qualities to 
organic matter that should make it the only possible 
substrate for sentience.

(And on page 7 I can recognize that typical trait, one that many 
philosophers share, to reason in circles. Never mind.)

The other pages, I only skimmed...


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