Re: ROBOT: Your Flexible Friend

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Fri Mar 16 2001 - 20:56:08 MST

J. R. Molloy wrote:

> Ross Andrew Finlayson writes,
> > About the simulation concept, if we're in a simulation, we're all in it,
> as
> > were the dinosaurs millions of years ago, the simulation has been
> running
> > since the start of time, and it's better known as reality.
> We're not in a simulation. I know... how boring.
> Notice, however, the last sentence in The Economist article:
> "Let us hope it does not develop any personality disorders."
> Do you think considering itself to be in a simulation might qualify as a
> personality disorder?

I don't understand, becuse I haven't read that article to which you refer.
Basically, if people see movies about it or have already considered it, then
actually thinking that the world is a simulation and not reality is probably a
delusion. Yet, moreso what it is is a search for explanations, where the
explanations of the metaphysics behind reality have largely in history been a
discussion of religion.

I think that there's some higher power, but it might not be directed. What
this implies is that everyone and everything, including the dinosaur fossils
and all our memories, could have been created about two seconds ago. Yet, it
is likely that this is not the case, for we have all of those things, and the
physical laws of the universe as we know it would not allow it.

Thus, it would be magic.

> The convergence of info-technology, bio-technology, and nano-technology
> (referenced in the article pointed to in Max's recent post), promises to
> make friendly robots a reality before SI, by all reasonable guesses. Ergo,
> evolutionary phase transition will make Darwin more comfortable among the
> machines than among the humans.

Not necessarily. The humans can wear exosuits, get implants, or drive tanks
to negate any robot advantage. Also, we made the robots, and humans are very
good at breaking things.

> By that I mean machines will evolve more
> quickly than humans.

The art and science of machining has certainly gained great ground in the last
hundreds of years.

Basically, as long as no robots bent on humanity's destruction get made or are
made, and as long as no evil robots get missile command, then we have nothing
to fear.

> So, expecting to take part in the phase transition
> may constitute a personality disorder as far as autonomous robots are
> concerned. I'm not trying to be negative here, just pointing out this
> distinct possibility.
> Stay hungry,
> --J. R.
> Useless hypotheses: consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind,
> free will

Basically, we can't outcompute a computer, yet, that's all it is, computation,
based upon rules either directly or indirectly written by people. Any
consciousness that it could have would be human.

So, I think Luddites are like "Chicken Little", the barnyard chicken that
proclaimed the fall of the sky, it never happened.

Also, actual investment in research and development is the only way for
humanity to escape Malthusian pressures, as well as to increase economic
productivity of fixed capital. In terms of Darwin, we're all competing, with
each other and against the insects, except to the extent where it is rational
to cooperate. Thus, a thousand years has brought us from feudalism to the
global village.


Ross Andrew Finlayson
Finlayson Consulting
Ross at Tiki-Lounge:
"It's always one more."  - Internet multi-player computer game player

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