Re: AI motivations & Self-rewiring

phil osborn (
Sat, 30 Oct 1999 21:36:09 PDT

>From: "Robert J. Bradbury" <>
>Subject: Re: AI motivations & Self-rewiring
>Date: Sun, 24 Oct 1999 20:10:27 -0700 (PDT)

>I think incrementally ala the Moravec suggestion of neuron by neuron
>functional replacement [inside-out replacement]. I do not see how this
>cannot work (given advanced technology) unless there is something very
>unusual (magical) about neurons we currently don't understand.

What noone here seems to understand is that the "mind" is much more than the wiring. I'm not being mystical in the least. There are entirely other processes at work in mental functioning besides neuron signal processing. The "meaning" of the signals itself is fed back into the net in a way virtually impossible to duplicate via any current computer technology. I'm talking about hormones, thousands of different neurotransmitter and modifier substances, all of which are released both generally and in specific areas of the brain and are essential to mental focus, motivation and action. The mind is not a logic engine; it is part of a living system. Life has particular characteristics which are carried over into the structure and function of the mind.
Here is a kind of nightmare scenario that could - at least physically - happen: The boomers keep replacing parts of the nervous system incrementally - optic processors with all sorts of neat new features like digital record/replay/edit/link - memory chips that can record synatic patterns in general and reinvoke or amplify weak ones via the neural interfaces like UCI is working on, etc. Eventually, the logic and action are being carried out with expert system assists - why spend years learning Kung Fu when for a few digicredits you can download it? As the wetware gets more and more decrepit and more and more functions are taken over by faster, smarter hardware, nobody notices that the PEOPLE are disappearing and what we're ending up with is more than perfect emulation Stepford Boomers. But these new "people" aren't people at all. They have no actual consciousness, just fast software Elizas all analyzing each other - i.e., Super-Yuppies (had to throw that in).

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