Re: AI motivations & Self-rewiring

Robert Owen (
Sun, 31 Oct 1999 03:20:57 -0500

phil osborn wrote:

> >From: "Robert J. Bradbury" <>
> >Subject: Re: AI motivations & Self-rewiring
> >Date: Sun, 24 Oct 1999 20:10:27 -0700 (PDT)
> >I think incrementally ala the Moravec suggestion of neuron by neuron
> >functional replacement [inside-out replacement]. I do not see how this
> >cannot work (given advanced technology) unless there is something very
> >unusual (magical) about neurons we currently don't understand.
> What no one here seems to understand is that the "mind" is much more
> than the wiring. I'm talking about hormones, thousands of different
> neurotransmitter and modifier substances, all of which are released both
> generally and in specific areas of the brain and are essential to mental
> focus, motivation and action. The mind is not a logic engine; it is part
> of a living system.

You might be interested, Phil, in "The Neurobiology of Morals" by Charles Jennings to provide a test case for the application of your judgments and assess whether you still conclude that Robert's (i.e. Moravec's) proposal is conceptually inadequate. The online paper features the research of Anderson, S.W., Bechara, A., Damasio, H., Tranel, D. & Damasio, A.R. "Impairment of social and moral behavior related to early damage in human prefrontal cortex", Nature Neuroscience 2, 1032-1037 (1999).

I agree that neuron replacement as an exclusive strategy for the construction of synthetic intelligence ("human mentality" including both cognition and conation) is probably insufficient. But Robert's claim that neuron replacement is feasible I find reasonable. So do you regard the synthesis of neurotransmitter chemistry impossible? The cybernetic aspect of e.g. signal control requires the operation of antagonistic agents -- is it possible to simulate the control mechanisms which regulate the release and re-uptake of, say, serotonin by monoamine oxidase chemistry? Or do you think these feedback processes are so complex that we simply cannot artificially replicate them?

There is also in this paper a brief discussion of the relationship of prefrontal cortical damage to the etiology of sociopathy.

At any rate, here is the the URL:

Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA