Re: Jaron Lanier Got Up My Shnoz on AI

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Sat Jan 19 2002 - 09:35:40 MST

From: "John Clark" <>
> > There is no contradiction in confirming sentience via interacting with
> > The operative word is *interacting* -- the level of intelligence is
> Ok, intelligence is not important, you can interact with a rock, thus rocks
> sentient.

Now you're being obstinate. I didn't say intelligence is "not important." I
said it's secondary to sentience in the exercise of confirming one's own
sentience. To make the point more clear: Interactive sentience confirms one's
own sentience, so that one doesn't need to "guess" that one is sentient.

> I know for a fact that when I'm not conscious I'm not intelligent either

Yes, but you only "know" that when you're awake. Obviously, when you're not
awake, you can't know anything. "Consciousness" literally means "with
knowledge" and is a useless and redundant term that obscures the facts of
cognitive science.

> it seems reasonable that things that I can not interact INTELLIGENTLY with,
> like rocks, are not conscious,

Nothing needs to be thought of as "conscious." It's a useless hypothesis and
serves no valid scientific purpose whatever (except as an example that
parallels vitalism and phlogiston). Things such as rocks are not alive, and
not intelligent, so obviously you can't interact intelligently with them.

> so I ask again, what is it about this that made
> you "laugh out loud"?

It was the insistence that intelligence somehow proves the existence of the
useless hypothesis called "consciousness." But, it doesn't. Intelligence and
sentience are discrete, but closely allied processes.

> I can only figure you know I'm wrong because you're
> very intelligent when you're asleep or because you talk to conscious rocks.

Don't be silly. This is an example of absurdity unworthy of you, John.

> > That's easy: They both failed to claim that they are sentient.
> I never claimed to be sentient, do you think I am?

You think that calling yourself by a human name, viz., "John Clark" doesn't
imply that you are sentient? I think it does. If you were to call yourself
"John The Computational Automaton" then perhaps your denial that you claim to
be sentient could be taken seriously.

> As a matter of fact I am not.

You're stretching the argument to the point of ridiculousness, John.

--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment, malevolent AI,
non-sensory experience, SETI

We move into a better future in proportion as the scientific method
accurately identifies incorrect thinking.

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