Re: MEDIA: Forbes ASAP

John Clark (
Mon, 1 Mar 1999 02:11:00 -0500

Hash: SHA1

Brent Allsop <>

>I don't understand why it seems that no one can recognize the
>plain obvious most important of all facts that a glorious red spiritual
>qualia is in our mind or brain and only represents and is very different
>from the 700 nm light beyond our eyes?

Everybody recognizes that as true but not everybody recognizes it as profound, or a property meat has a monopoly on either.

>Why is it so hard for people to admit that such a red sensation
>is so much more than a mere abstract representation by a set
>of switches in an information processing system?

Because it doesn't appear to be true. If I change some of those switches in your head the glorious red spiritual qualia you experience also changes. For example, the drug Viagra will often make things look bluer for a few hours after you take it. I understand it will do other things too.

>Why can't people realize that an abstract machine, while
>trying to pass a Turing Test and trying to answer the question: "What
>is red or salty like?" is obviously lying and not really experiencing
>anything like red, love, warmth, salty, pain

Perhaps the machine is lying, but I must insist that it is very far from obvious.

>And why is it so difficult to realize that once we understand this most
>important of all things to understand about reality, and once we know
>what qualia are, that we will be able to engineer ways to eff and share such
>glorious feelings?

It's not difficult it's impossible, because you'll never know for certain if your "understanding" of how subjectivity works is correct.

>Why is it so hard to realize the simple fact that effing techniques
>will let us know if the machine is lying or not and finally solve the
>problems like Jaron is talking about

It won't work, I could know for certain what I feel like when I'm connected to one of Jaron's effing machines that is also connected to you, but what you are feeling would remain conjecture, just like it is today.

John K Clark

Version: PGP for Personal Privacy 5.5.5

iQA/AwUBNto9hN+WG5eri0QzEQKzeQCfQpD89qaUidLrQVveP8CO28KIauUAoKMI cKt4wkwRYJ3pjCGHWLdF5fzS