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Emporor's New Mind - Journal of Omnifarious

Jan. 18th, 2005

04:01 pm - Emporor's New Mind

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So, I've been reading a Christmas present I got from my aunt Janet. A book called "The Emperor's New Mind".

It's an interesting read, and I've been reading it with a critical eye because the author is trying to prove a premise that I disagree with. The premise being that you can never create something like a mind using a digital computer.

I'll be posting various bits of criticism here, as I think of them.

Strong AI People Are Secretly Dualists Though They Would Hotly Deny It

One point he makes is that people who do think that digital computers can be made to have minds are actually believing in an odd sort of dualism.

One thought experiment used talks about having someone's brain represented by a book that has a very detailed and accurate description of each neuron in the brain and how it connects to all the others. It also has a set of rules for how to alter these descriptions in a way such that the state transititions of the descriptions exactly mirror the state changes that would occur in a real brain.

The argument then goes something like "So, how can you tell the difference (if time isn't a consideration) between the book and a real brain?". Basically, if you can run the book through the state changes a real brain would go through, and you wire up some input devices output devices that mimic the sensory data for the bookbrain and interpret the motor movements of the bookbrain, how could you tell if you were talking to the bookbrain or the real brain?

Of course, the strong AI people (me included) say that you couldn't tell. Penrose then argues that we then secretly believe in a sort of dualism, since we think that somehow the mind is independent of the medium in which its represented.

I have some answers to that, which I'll alter this post to contain later.

Mathematical Concepts Are Discovered, Not Created. They Have an Outside Existence

Well, this is certainly an interesting idea, and I disagree with it pretty strongly. Again, it'll have to wait.

Current Mood: [mood icon] contemplative


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Date:January 18th, 2005 10:58 pm (UTC)
Well, this is the Platonist approach to the philosophy of mathematics; someone once said something like "Mathematicians are Platonists during the week, and Formalists on the weekends". :-) There's actually a philsophy of mathematics Yahoo! group, which i'm a member of . . . . there's been a flurry of activity recently, much of it around Ayn Rand's 'objectivism'.

On a different note: Hello, long time no chat!
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