Re: computers have no souls!

From: Ziana Astralos (
Date: Thu Jan 27 2000 - 20:02:05 MST

> All nonsense, she cried, you just want a world of
> soulless cyborgs. A computer can't do anything of
> its own accord, a computer can't have consciousness.
> Oh? Why not? *It's not alive! It can only do what
> it's programmed to do. I'm a sociologist! I'm a
> utilitarian! I'm a sociologist and I'm here to tell
> you that computers can't do anything unless they are
> programmed to do it.* And so on.

Far too many people tend to assume that just because
they're a student/grad/teacher/worker in such-and-such
a field, they know everything - for some, just
'everything in that field', but for the even more
frighteningly close-minded, it's 'everything, period'.

> I mentioned that she was also programmed, by genes
> and culture, and she got highly indignant. I was
> trying to pretend she was a machine! She did things
> *just because she wanted to*! She'd broken away from
> the restrictions of her social upbringing etc etc.

"Aaack! A new idea! Get rid of it, quick, before it
disrupts my karma any further!" (Just joking here... I
hope) :)

> By this point I suppose I was patently a tool of
> hell, except that presumably she didn't actually
> believe in hell or souls, just in `life'. long as that 'life' doesn't try to improve
itself ;)

> I went sideways. Suppose we insert a very thin tube
> into a person's head and replace a single neuron
> with a-- Ah, yes, you'd like to do that, wouldn't
> you, your type! Chop people's brains up, turn them
> into machines without souls. No, hang on, let's say
> you just did this with a mouse-- I could see
> her delighted confirmation as my gleeful robotic
> cruelty to our dumb animal brethren was shamelessly
> revealed. And so on.

Oh, so now we're a 'type', hmmm? :) "Aaah! Swat that
idea! Back, back, I say! Down! Bad idea! No biscuit!"

> Altogether frustrating, because presumably she
> wasn't stupid or unimaginative (she read some sort
> of sf, after all).

Ah. Not stupid or unimaginative, just... what's a good
word for people like this? Stuck in their own concepts
of things, and anything that encroaches on one of
their reality-bubbles gets a resounding cry of "Back,
vile thing!" :)

> It was a salutary experience, giving me some sense
> what the *real* opposition might be like, out there
> in the world in its teeming blithering bigoted
> billions. Urp.

'Teeming blithering bigoted billions'. Quite a
(far-too-much, I fear) apt description! :)

| Ziana Astralos |
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