Re: Space/AI: Making the Case for Robo-Aliens

Date: Wed Aug 16 2000 - 20:36:58 MDT

Max pointed to:

The debate in this article, "Intelligence in the Cosmos: Flesh or
Machine?" seems misguided. The distinction between machine and biology
will not necessarily remain meaningful in the future. Biology can be
engineered and improved until it would be unrecognizable to a biologist

When we meet an alien which is a product of a mature technology, his
physical form will be entirely due to choice, to the constraints imposed
by natural law and by his own desires. Asking whether this form is
biological or mechanical is meaningless.

I was also disappointed, as I often am, by the primitive thinking
exhibited by people who are supposedly experts in the field. Benjamin
Zuckerman, a UCLA professor who edited a book on ETI, pronounces himself
surprised by the notion that aliens could be monitoring us invisibly
via nanotech. Come on, we've talked about that notion dozens of times
over the years. It's so obvious that anyone with a basic awareness of
the issues will think of it! And yet this Zuckerman sticks with his Star
Trek view of the universe. Our debates on these issues are apparently
far more advanced and sophisticated than what passes for discourse in
the old-style academic world.


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