Re: Protean Self-Transformation

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Sat, 29 Mar 1997 17:31:35 -0800 (PST)

> > > You cannot simply program emotions if the hardware cannot experience
> > > them. My body including my brain can experience emotions. Computers, as
> > > of yet, cannot experience emotions, and this is not so much a software
> > > problem as it is a hardware problem.
> Anders Sandberg responded:
> > What do you base this assertion on?
> Can you merely program a computer to see without creating optical
> hardware? No! You can program pattern recognizing neural nets day in and
> day out, but until you give the computer hardware [optics] to see with,
> it cannot see ... no matter how hard you try to program it to do so.
> ...
> Emotions are felt in a physical manner. I *feel* sexual pleasure via my
> organs. I *feel* hunger via my organs. I *feel* excitement via my
> organs. Without this specialized hardware I would *feel* nothing. As a
> computer I might be "aware" of conditions, but I would not *feel* those
> conditions unless someone created specialized hardware that would allow
> me to *feel*.

Like the man said, what evidence do you have of this? The fact that
you experience physical sensations at the same time as your cognitive
state of emotion provides no evidence of which is cause and which is
effect, nor does it prove that there is anything necessary about those
physical sensations to achieve the cognitive state.

What is the common cognitive process that occurs when a blind man
hears a beatiful piece of music, and a deaf man sees a beautiful
work of art? They share /something/ in common we call "beauty",
but it cannot be the mere sensations that evoked it; it must be some
mental state that we can recogize and express. Cameras and audio
recorders "see" and "hear" the same things, but they do not have
cognitive states. A computer does. To assume that a computer
can't recognize, experience, and express that same state from
whatever inputs it has is groundless anthropocentrism. If a computer
tells me that the bit-pattern I just entered into its front panel is
beautiful, who am I to tell him otherwise?