Re: Big Mistake Robin?

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Fri Jul 14 2000 - 08:19:01 MDT

Brent Allsop wrote:
> Robin Hanson <> responded:
> > What about the apparent majority today who can't accept a machine
> > being "conscious"?
> So many people like Kurzweil, Dennitt... make this same
> assumption that this will be a problem. I think this is a gross,
> obvious, and stupid mistake, especially for such intelligent people to
> make. It seems so obvious to me that when we discover what and how
> consciousness really is and start effing quale and stuff (as when the
> artificial entity finally honestly says: "Oh !THATS! what salt tastes
> like"...), it will be as hard to deny what is and is not conscious as
> it is to today say the world is flat. Those willing to travel to
> space to see the round earth or those willing to augment their brain
> so they can eff, share, and increase their consciousness, will know
> for sure what and how something is or is not conscious.

Unfortunately, Brent, I disagree. While many people anthropomorphize their
computers, many slave owners in the 18th and 19th century, totally beleiving
that their slaves were not fully human, also anthropomorphized their slaves
(Thomas Jefferson, etc..) but still beleived wholeheartedly in their inherent
inferiority to white people.

I've been having a discussion with a group of people who previously claimed to
be extremely open minded, multi-cultural, diverse and accepting people, only to
find that their definition of 'human' begins and ends with the species of 'homo
sapiens' (despite the fact that other extinct members of the homo group are
considered by anthropologists to be 'human' species), and a stubborn insistence
that conciousness requires a soul...

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