Re: Protean Self-Transformation

Gregory Houston (
Mon, 31 Mar 1997 01:56:06 -0600

Anders Sandberg wrote:

> OK, what you seems to say is that if I put damage sensors in a robot, it
> would be able to feel pain. But this relates to the awfully tricky
> problem of qualia: does the robot *experience* pain, or doe it just think
> "pain"? How can we tell?

I don't know how we could be certain we were successful in giving the
computer emotions. I do know however that the computer will first need
the sensors to feel with in the first place. If that computer had
artificial cognitive intelligence, perhaps it would begin to show signs
of irrationality. If a person were uploaded into the computer, they
would know immiediately if that computer were experiencing emotions. If
the artificial intelligence were sufficiently intelligent, it could
probably tell us it was having a condition that it what was unfamiliar

> (My personal view is that the hardware doesn't matter; after all,
> stimulating a sensor or nerve produces the same sensation, so the qualia
> are likely happining in the brain, which I also think could be run on a
> different hardware)

I agree different hardware other than the brain could suffice, but not
just any hardware. The hardware does have to have the capacity to
experience sensation. It does not really matter where the qualia is
occuring, just as long as it is felt and not just thought. If it is
merely thought then there is not any affective emotion occuring.

> It would be quite possible to create programs that can watch their
> internal states and hence feel internal pleasure, no hardware needed.
Whoa, big jump there from analysing conditions to feeling pleasure. My
computer can determine how fast it is operating in many different ways,
but just because it is aware of these internal processes does not mean
it can "hence feel internal pleasure". An alarm clock is aware of when
it should go off, but it doesn't get emotionally excited about the fact.
It just responds to these things logically; not emotionally.

> fact, programs that watch or affect their own states have been written
> (but as far as I know nobody has done anything truly serious with it).

I would be extremely interested in a program which was claimed to
"affect" its own states, but the fact of the matter is, such programs
are "effecting" their own states, just as nearly every program does.


Gregory Houston                 Triberian Institute of Emotive Education  
phone:    816.561.1524
cellular: 816.807.6660          snail: PO Box 32046 Kansas City MO 64171

"Empowered, impassioned, we have a lust for life insatiable!"