X-Message-Number: 9286
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #9283
Date: Sun, 15 Mar 1998 15:26:53 -0800 (PST)

Hi again!

I may come back later if I have time, but after logging off I decided a bit
more needed to be said about "superiority", even if it's trivial. 

In my last posting, I pointed out that computers could calculate faster than
us, and were "superior" in that regard, and then said that a steel beam
was stronger and thus again "superior". I will here be much more direct. 
Yes, we do want to improve ourselves, but the critical issue is that of 
working out just in what way. "Superior" means nothing at all unless it is
tied into superiority in one or another way: nothing is superior (or
inferior) to anything else unless we bring in some value to judge that
superiority. Those who want to be computers have a set of values I find
hard to understand; more than that, it's not clear to me that they have
thought out those values at all. And to make any convincing case, they 
must do so: not just talk about the superiority of computers (say, in 
speed) but explain just what such increased speed would do for us (as 
distinct from simply assuming such a change is worthwhile).

Yes, those who think of ultimate computers (not present ones!) as some kind
of model are hardly alone. Moravec provides an excellent example and one
who probably isn't present on Cryonet. But those who do NOT discuss how
worthwhile such a change might be are no more than little boys who seeing
their first train engine, and running around making whistling noises to
imitate its strength.

			Best and long long life,

				Thomas Donaldson

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