Re: Protean Self-Transformation

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Mon, 31 Mar 1997 17:45:38 -0800 (PST)

> Artificial Emotion Program:
> IF x occurs THEN run fear subroutine
> fear subroutine:
> PLAY scream.wav audio file
> DISPLAY ominous.jpg image file
> Is that an emotion!?! When exactly did the computer feel an emotion? The
> computer is processing its data and x occurs. But it did not feel x, it
> merely recognizes x in a very detached manner.

If you recognize the flight reactions of, say, a lizard as "fear", then
I would have no hesitation to say that a robot programmed with certain
tropisms, sensory inputs, means of interacting with the environment,
memory to learn, and a program about as complex as whatever would be
a reasonable calculation for the MIPS of a lizard brain, then YES, its
invocation of that routine based on its inputs, and the reactions it
sends to its outputs are not a whit less categorizable as "fear" than
those of the lizard. I see no reason to assume otherwise.

> They won't feel it if you don't give them something to feel with. What
> part of your computer has the ability to feel? Exactly which part(s) can
> feel?

I might ask the same of you? What parts of you and me feel? The only
reasonable answer I can find is potentiation patterns in the brain, which
are precisely copiable onto silicon.

> Only one thing is required, humans and other mammals tend to have a
> great number of physical organs to feel with. Computers have zero.

Mine has a scanner, a tablet, a trackball, and two printers. It doesn't
have any locomotion or manipulation devices, but it certainly could.
It also doesn't have as complex a brain as we do, or even as complex as
a lizard, but probably more complex than, say, a cockroach. Does a
cockroach fear the light?

I guess it comes down to two things: (1) Which is the more conservative
assumption in light of our lack of evidence? I contend that it is more
reasonable to assume that we are not unique; you seem to assume that
there is something special about "living" things (whatever that means).
(2) Is there in fact something about the physical sensations associated
with certain emotional states, without which they would be qualitatitvely

Lee Daniel Crocker <>  <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC