Re: Machine Capabilities

Hara Ra (
Sun, 25 Jan 1998 11:17:01 -0800

David A Musick wrote:

> I think the hostility towards the idea that we are machines comes from
> the low opinion people hold of machines, in general. People tend to form
> the category "machine" around the machines they have experienced, not
> around the abstract idea of "machine" that computer scientists and
> engineers use. The machines people use are fairly stupid and far from
> sentient. Calling us "machines" is insulting to those who only think of
> machines as they are today.

Actually, well crafted and evolved machines are perceived as living
things. For example racing cars, ferraris, quality boats, etc. So
there's something about ease of interfacing involved here. Computer
interfaces are very new and haven't had time to become comfortable to

There is also the legacy of the steam age. Steam engines were the first
self powered machines, and were highly repetitious, with a very fixed
suite of behaviour. This is similar to the actions of retarded and
autistic and mentally ill people, so we perceive this kind of behaviour
with dread and rejection, as broken people are not in general either
useful or a survival advantage. This dread may come from levels as deep
as our limbic system. Both machines and broken people can make
unpredictable inept decisions which are survival negative...

| Hara Ra <> |
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