X-Message-Number: 17967
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 07:50:01 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #17957 - #17966

Hi again!

To Bob Ettinger: I think our disagreement is purely about words. Yes,
I think that we could likely make conscious creatures, but clearly not
with present computer regardless of how powerful they may be. I would
even agree that living systems, because they have traits such as 
renewability/regrowth far more than any mechanical system, MAY turn
out to be the only possible for "computer" version of ourselves ...
though I may be somewhat less dubious about this than you.

To Mike Perry: I am not abandoning what I said. Yes, we've already
seen production and interest in toys that ACT as if they are conscious
and independent. That they are actually such looks quite improbable.
The problem with a precisely conscious robot is that it won't do 
what we want, and if we want a pet we don't want something which 
will wake up one morning and decide to go away. 

By now there are lots of algorithms which will make our robots
act superficially independent while actually lacking even consciousness.
That's fine, and even more complex such robots might be made for
special purposes. But making a robot which is entirely independent
won't do much for anyone (except possibly the robot). And don't
argue that partial independence is enough: I'm not talking about
abstract free will but about the ability of the robot to make 
decisions to suit its own values rather than our own.

As for whether or not a machine simply capable of intelligence (if
such devices can be made with computer plans which resemble our
brains at all) will somehow acquire all the other traits of feeling,
desires, and values, that is simply unlikely. And if it is not of
a similar plan, then it looks to me even less likely. We say our
machines are intelligent machines not because they act on their 
own but precisely because they are designed to accept OUR feelings,
OUR desires, and OUR values to solve problems which WE give them.

		Best wishes and long long life to all,

			Thomas Donaldson

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