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Old 12-10-2009, 07:46 AM   #21
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

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Originally Posted by DaibhidC View Post
What is the purpose of a discussion/argument?
Proliferation and rivalry of memes, isn't it?

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Originally Posted by DaibhidC View Post
I'd say it's to try and persuade another person your ideas are valid. If there's no-one at the other end, no viewpoint that you want to change, then there's no purpose to the discussion.
But you are changing the opinion of the brain/mind, not of the viewpoint.

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I wouldn't get into an argument with ELIZA. What would be the point?
Same as getting into an argument with any other system capable of presenting arguments.
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:08 AM   #22
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Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

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That's strange. You speak as if it is not the posts and opinions themselves that matter, but who (if any) expresses them. Oh well, it had to end somehow, some-when, I suppose.
What I was doing was making a joke, in the form of a reductio ad absurdum. I can spell it out if you like, though I tend to feel that explaining a joke never conveys the joke part of it.

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Old 12-10-2009, 09:17 AM   #23
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Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

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What I was doing was making a joke, in the form of a reductio ad absurdum. I can spell it out if you like, though I tend to feel that explaining a joke never conveys the joke part of it.

Bill Stoddard
I was hoping it's a joke, but I was 90% sure you were getting tired of the topic.
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:23 AM   #24
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Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

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Originally Posted by DaibhidC View Post
What is the purpose of a discussion/argument?

I'd say it's to try and persuade another person your ideas are valid. If there's no-one at the other end, no viewpoint that you want to change, then there's no purpose to the discussion.

I wouldn't get into an argument with ELIZA. What would be the point?
Yes, that's exactly it.

In THS terms, I might be willing to argue with an SAI, because an SAI is programmed to form and maintain a comprehensive internal model of the world. My arguments might cause it to revise that model in a substantial way, and as a result of doing so, to change the actions it chose to perform, or the content of the statements it made to me, and to perform new actions and make new statements that were not in its previous repertoire. And in doing so, it would have a chance of coming up with a statement that would be new to me as well as to it, and would give me occasion to examine my own internal model of the world from a different angle, and perhaps revise it.

With an LAI, I would not have that as an option. An LAI has the ability to model limited aspects of the world . . . for example, to model its regular user. But it does not have a comprehensive model of the world, and thus cannot change its model of the world. Its actions and statements are based on a limited class of options programmed into it, and while they may be large enough to create a feeling of "talking to someone," there's really nobody home: the LAI can't add new options to the set based on its understanding of the world to which those options apply. The LAI just is its options. So arguing with an LAI will not induce it to change in any substantive way, or to come up with novel statements, or to engage with my actual positions and suggest different ways of looking at them. Ultimately I would exhaust its stored information and have nothing more to learn from it.

To have an internal model of the world is part of what I mean by having a viewpoint. It's not the whole of it, but it's an important aspect of it.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:34 AM   #25
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Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

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The problem with Identity is that there aren't really any good, universally recognized definitions of what an "Identity" actually is. I mean, everybody has a vague idea of what it is supposed to be, and there are some "Common Sense" definitions which most people use - but these work only because today each mind is linked to one and only one specific body. Once this is no longer the case - as in the future of Transhuman Space - the "Common Sense" definitions no longer work and start to contradict each other.
But your use of "each mind" already begs the question: It equivocates between the qualitative identity of mind and the numerical identity of mind. Two minds can be qualitatively identical if they contain the same information at some point. But that's not sufficient for numerical identity. It is not clear that the mind in an organic body is or can be numerically identical to the digital ghost based on that mind residing in a cybershell or bioshell, given the specific technological assumptions of THS about the uploading process.

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Old 12-10-2009, 09:52 AM   #26
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Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

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But your use of "each mind" already begs the question: It equivocates between the qualitative identity of mind and the numerical identity of mind. Two minds can be qualitatively identical if they contain the same information at some point. But that's not sufficient for numerical identity. It is not clear that the mind in an organic body is or can be numerically identical to the digital ghost based on that mind residing in a cybershell or bioshell, given the specific technological assumptions of THS about the uploading process.

Bill Stoddard
We still haven't seen the physical meaning of numerical identity. We can't define it for an entity in any meaningful way. The only way to find out what is the numerical identity of an entity is to ask 'What do we think was the numeric identity of the entity when we [arbitrarily] assigned it?'. So basically it's a case of 'I know it when I see it'.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:10 AM   #27
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Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

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We still haven't seen the physical meaning of numerical identity. We can't define it for an entity in any meaningful way. The only way to find out what is the numerical identity of an entity is to ask 'What do we think was the numeric identity of the entity when we [arbitrarily] assigned it?'. So basically it's a case of 'I know it when I see it'.
So you're a Platonist?

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Old 12-10-2009, 10:23 AM   #28
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Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

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So you're a Platonist?

Bill Stoddard
I don't know. I'm not a philosophy expert. What does that word mean in the current context?
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:39 AM   #29
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Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

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With an LAI, I would not have that as an option. An LAI has the ability to model limited aspects of the world . . . for example, to model its regular user. But it does not have a comprehensive model of the world, and thus cannot change its model of the world. Its actions and statements are based on a limited class of options programmed into it, and while they may be large enough to create a feeling of "talking to someone," there's really nobody home:
I think you might be selling LAIs short. IMHO, an LAI may not have as deep a worldview (world-simulation?) as an SAI, but it's a qualitative difference more than a quantitative one. An LAI is the equivalent of a human being with a sheltered upbringing, and possibly a moderate learning disability.

Remember, unlike an NAI, an LAI can buy off most of its disadvantages. That tells me they can change their worldview.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:26 PM   #30
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Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

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I don't know. I'm not a philosophy expert. What does that word mean in the current context?
Classical philosophy distinguishes between universals and particulars. The universal is the category to which we assign an existent; the particular is the specific existent we perceive or otherwise detect at a particular time in a particular place. For example, the two cats in my home are particular cats (in fact, they're extremely particular!), and so are the various cats that other people reading this comment may own, and the cats that I may meet or see on an evening walk, and so on . . . but "cat," the universal, is the category that includes all those cats and only those cats.

Aristotle said that an individual cat is an entity: a concrete entity perceivable by the senses. (In his time, known concrete entities were nearly all perceivable by the senses; in our time, the category has to also include concrete entities detectable through scientific instrumentation, such as distant planets, protein molecules, or subatomic particles.) He did not consider the abstraction "cat" to be an entity. Rather, "cat" was the form of the concrete entities that are cats. In Aristotle's view, only concretes exist in their own right; forms or abstractions exist only as attributes or aspects of concretes.

Plato disagreed with this; he regarded forms or abstractions as entities in their own right. He thought that the human mind had a higher intellectual intuition that could access the realm of forms, and could compare the particular moving, breathing, vocalizing entity in front of a person with that form and say, for example, "Oh, that's a cat; it matches the form of Cat." In fact, Plato thought that abstractions had a truer reality than concretes; the concrete could come to be or cease to be, it could fall short of perfectly embodying the abstraction, it could be flawed or mutilated, whereas the abstraction was eternal, unchanging, and flawless. And thus he thought that there was an eternal Form of Man that could not perish, and that the more fully we embodied the Form of Man, the more we perfected ourselves, the more we participated in that eternity.

Now, in the terms we've been using here, qualitative identity is basically a relation between a concrete entity and the abstraction that identifies it; two cats both have the qualitative identity of cat. So two different concrete entities can have the same abstract qualitative identity. But numerical identity is not a relation at all. An entity has numerical identity only with and as itself. If we extend matters over time, a cat now is numerically identical with that same cat tomorrow or last week; numerical identity is the property of being capable of being tracked through time.

It makes it easier to track two entities through time in a distinguishable way if they have some distinctive qualities that are not included in the qualitative identity they share. For example, I can tell my two cats apart because one is black with a little white on the belly, and one is gray and cream tortoiseshell; because one's fur is fine and the other's is coarser; because one speaks in a variety of soft chirps and the other in a couple of loud cries. If they were identical twins, telling them apart would be much harder. But they would not be numerically identical; if I watched closely all the time, I could track each cat along its separate timelike line through the space of my apartment.

I suggest that you're a Platonist because you seem to define yourself as an abstract pattern that could have different concrete embodiments; you think that you could be transferred from an organic body to a digital simulation, or that as a digital simulation you could be xoxed repeated, and all of those would be equally "you." Conversely, I define myself as a concrete individual; that is, I'm an Aristotelian. I care about my numerical identity, and not just about my qualitative identity.

Bill Stoddard
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