Mark Crosby (
Mon, 2 Mar 1998 10:02:05 -0800 (PST)

It sounds like Marvin Minsky has a new book called
THE EMOTIONAL MACHINE coming out soon. There's a
recent interview with Minsky called "Consciousness Is
A Big Suitcase" at

I was reminded of this when reading Max More's two
recent essays: "Beyond the Machine: Technology and
Posthuman Freedom" and "Virtue and Virtuality: From
Enhanced Reality to Experience Machines" (see ) this
morning, as well as by some of the debates over the

Here's a brief intriguing portion of Minsky's
conversation with John Brockman:
< In another 20 or 50 years, you'll be able to put on
your head a cap that will show what every neuron is
doing. (This is Dan Dennett's 'autocerebroscope.') Of
course, if this were presented in too much detail, we
won't be able to make sense of it. Such an instrument
won't be of much use until we can also equip it with
a Semantic Personalizer for translating its output
into forms that are suited to your very own
individual internal representations. Then, for the
first time, we'll become capable of some 'genuine
introspection.' >

Mark Crosby

P.S. For those interested in philosophy, Minsky
spends much of the interview critiquing persistent
vitalistic notions of consciousness in favor of an
eliminativist approach. This is after Brockman
begins by asking about whether cybernetics had much
impact on AI, to which Minsky responds, "Yes,
indeed", but then adds:
< Unfortunately, that new domain was mainly dominated
by continuous mathematics and feedback theory. This
made cybernetics slow to evolve more symbolic
computational viewpoints, and the new field of
Artificial Intelligence headed off to develop
distinctly different kinds of psychological models. >

He then moves quickly on to other matters ;-)

Anyway, my point is that Minsky seems to be
suggesting that dualism is primarily a result of
vitalistic or holistic approaches when, as the title
of a Hans Moravec essay once suggested, there can
also be "Dualism Through Reductionism".

An excellent recent paper on this subject is
"Explaining Emergence: towards an ontology of levels"

Get your free address at