Re: Protean Self-Transformation

Eugene Leitl (
Mon, 31 Mar 1997 23:49:07 +0200 (MET DST)

On Mon, 31 Mar 1997, Gregory Houston wrote:

> Eugene Leitl wrote:
> > [ ALife is life in a different package ]
> Eugene, I found your dialogue informative, but we have a major
> discrepancy in our judgement of what is real. Alife is as real to me as
> is someone being killed in a television show. It is *artificial*. Thats

The distinction between natural and artifical is artificial. Man is
product of evolution, a natural process. Our technological designs shows
darwinian signatures, we ourselves are subject to darwinian selection,
though the fitness function shows alarming dynamics, even our thinking
process might be based on mutation and darwinian selection on cortex module
level. We might stand onto our heads, we still would be natural.

I'd say ALife rendition vs. life is a snuff movie, not a fake.

> why they call it *artificial* life. It is not real. If I am to be

In my interpretation, I do not care about the origin of the process, solely
about its properties. If the life nucleation event on Earth was caused by a
cruising alien probe, are we then artificial? And if we are, has this
any impacts on our daily life? This discussion reminds me of medival
scholastics, on the properties of souls, by definition nonimmanent,
undetectable entities.

> uploaded into a computer I don't want *artificial* emotions. I want

If I would perform the cruel trick of anaesthesizing you during your
sleep, vitrifying you, then uploading (Omega Uploads Ultd.) you and your
entire room, there would be no perceivable discontinuity. You would need
start doing physical experiments to find inconsistancies.

(This is assuming perfect uploads, with nonperceivable neural damage, and
fakespace renderer artfacts also distinctly perception-subthreshold. The
first uploads will sure be different, Frankensteinian, crude. It will be
riddled with artefacts, most of them not very pleasant).

> emotions that I can really feel and experience. I would not accept a
> conceptual abstraction of emotions that merely effected and did not
> affect me.

You've run into that most cruel trap, fencing with words in a room full of
smoke and mirrors. I've seen many who never made to escape from there.

Concepts are our tools, choose only the suitable, and use them wisely.
I wish you luck. En garde.

> In your dialogue you refer to "Alife" rather than "Artificial life". I
> know this is common practice, but there might be another level of denial
> involved.

ALife is shorter.

Don't get me wrong, current critters are way below the nematode level. The
particular physics of the ALife implementation are highly simplified. It
is a caricature, yet current models do not aspire to mirror reality.
There are just experiments to elucidate certain aspects of artificial
ecologies, cooperation strategies, neodarwinian nonlinearities.

An upload otoh is a very accurate copy, though certainly not
at individual ion channel activity level. Nobody in the ALife community
is talking about uploads yet. Most neurosci, and computational neurosci
guys merely snicker if you utter "upload" in their presence. Those who
don't, have never heard that term. We'll live and see, who is right.


> Cheers!
> --
> 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!"

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