Re: Jaron Lanier Got Up My Shnoz on AI

From: Dossy (
Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 07:54:25 MST

On 2002.01.15, J. R. Molloy <> wrote:
> From: "Dossy" <>
> > how do you differentiate between creativity and sentience?
> The ability to create, or the action of creating (creativity) is obviously
> different from the capability to sense, or the action of sensing and directly
> experiencing (sentience). Consequently, the algorithms and principles involved
> in acts of creation do not require creative agents to be sentient.

Please define "creativity" in a non-circular fashion, if possible.
Otherwise, it seems that you define creativity merely as the ability
to create (as the dictionary does), in which case: are bacteria
"creative"? Is reproduction (sexual or asexual) considered a
"creative" ability? Would you consider offspring the product of
it's parent (or parents) creativity?

> One can be creative without being sentient, and conversely one can be
> sentient without being creative.

Can one have sight without being sentient? Does having senses
imply being sentient, or asked differently, do machines that
purport to have senses (vision, smell, hearing, etc.) that
are clearly not "senient" by common agreement, truly not have
the senses that they claim to have?

Isn't sensory perception composed of two things: sensory datum
placed in a frame of reference of one's self-awareness and awareness
of one's surrounding environment? Sensory data without the ability
to contemplate (at least at a sub-conscious level) what the data
implies is simply data. An algorithm which influences a machine's
behavior based on it's sensory data would appear to give the machine
some kind of awareness of the physical world in which it's
interacting -- isn't this a form of low-level sentience?

> Superlative sentience (total awareness) reveals that the highest use
> of thought is to allow us to stop thinking (while being wide awake),
> so that we can appreciate the epiphenomenon of self-awareness.

Don't all machines currently enjoy superlative intelligence, then?
Just because they don't express their appreciation for self-awareness
doesn't mean they aren't appreciating it. The problem is that we
try to anthropomorphise machines and try to insist that because
the sentience they enjoy isn't the same as the sentience we enjoy,
therefore it's not sentience. Just as for a long time, we couldn't
accept that animals could be just as sentient as humans are,
probably for the same reason (as well as the fact that they lacked
the proper language to convey their sentience to us humans).

-- Dossy

Dossy Shiobara                       mail: 
Panoptic Computer Network             web: 
  "He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
    folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)

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