Re: Jaron Lanier Got Up My Shnoz on AI

From: Ken Clements (
Date: Sun Jan 13 2002 - 14:58:23 MST

"J. R. Molloy" wrote:

> So, I think you're right to suggest that robots will be
> designed to remain zombies... super-intelligent, but not self-aware, because
> there's no money in creating machines that enjoy life as much as
> contemplatives do.

Watch it there, J.R., or I am going to put on my Zombie Anti-Defamation League hat
and get up your shnoz. Although, you do point out the basic undesirability of
hiring human workers who waste all those neuro cycles by thinking on the job.

> From: "Jacques Du Pasquier" <>
> > (By the way, in that same answer, Dennett states that expecting to get
> > soon physical immortality through cell repair is a foolish
> > technocratic fantasy that bizarrely underestimate the complexities
> > of life.)
> Thank you for mentioning that.
> I didn't know Dennett was so very deserving of my respect and admiration.
> Sounds like a real extropic scientist.

Now *that* I can go with. If it were not for Dennett, I would still be under the
illusion that I am self-aware, as opposed to the simple realization that it just
seems that way.

As for the statement above, it depends on how you think about the words "soon" and
"immortality." Life extension through cell repair is happening now in those who
practice CR and/or are using nutritional means to support it. Living longer means
not dying before technology allows you to live yet longer. When the rate of
advance in biotechnology pushes life extension past one year per year, you could
argue for immortality. I think that tipping point is within the projected life of
most who are alive today, so I would call that "soon."

But is extension immortality? Well, "immortality" is problematic in the first
place. It implies a future time without bound, which requires you to first ask if
time is without bound, and then if so, what could go along with it? Although we
know from experiments that the proton can maintain its pattern for a very long
time, we do not know if a proton is immortal.

Another problem with claims to immortality is the death through change property.
I have a step-son who is a teenager now, but I well remember playing with him when
he was three years old. Although he is still alive, that three year old is gone.
I cannot play with him, and I cannot take his picture. We do not call it death,
but I have empirical data that that three year old was not immortal. If something
exists in a few hundred years that comes from who and what I am now, it will not
be like I am now. In that way I am no more immortal than was my three year old,
all of technology notwithstanding.


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