Re: Marvin Minsky and Alan Watts

Anders Sandberg (
05 Sep 1997 13:19:38 +0200

cyberedward@ICDC.COM writes:

> Now if I am interpreting what I read of Minsky's view of an illusory
> protagonist that we call our self and Watts view that there is no sort
> of "proprietary" and individual soul, spook, or ghost, what would be the
> sense of thinking of uploading our wetware to have eternal existence? I
> mean, that which is in our brains, that we identify as our proprietary
> selves is illusory, consisting of data input over our lifetimes.
> According to Minsky and Watts there is no "you".

Minsky doesn't say there is no "you", just that this "you" is
a society of agents; after all, nobody would say Micro$oft doesn't
exist because it has no existence without a lot of its internal
agents, it is a very real force and can be treated as an "individual"
being. It is all a matter of on what level you want to discuss
things; from my vantage point it is practical to chunk all of
your agents into a single "you" since right now there is no need
to look closely at these agents (which consist of subagents, which
consists of neurons...)

> Perhaps Extropians should be thinking of Moravec's mind children and
> instead of seeking eternal individual existence, just merge into the
> Matrix what we can contribute.

That depends on what kind of organisations of information we like.
There are likely advantages both in being a "functional soup" or
a well delineated individual. I'm going to try both.

> Some form of
> written Chinese would also be a marvelous language for computers,
> because it can be read at high speed, and because each character, or
> ideogram, is a nonlinear Gestalt, or configuration."

Of course, that is the big problem with Chinese: the keyboard would
have to be extremely complex, or allow phonetic spelling like som
Japanese keyboards. Doable today, but might decrease the usefulness.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!    
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y