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FleshFactor: Spiritual machines



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A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"
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Valery Grancher Wrote:

>We can speak about human spirit, but I don't know robot spirit... 
>Between humans and new technologies, there is a fundamental difference
>based on language: all computers and robots are using language. We say
>that, it isn't true.  From a linguistic point of view, they are using
>meta-language and meta-code.  All these machines can't evolve their own
>languages themselves, they can't generate new codes or meta-signs about
>phenomena they don't know.  At this level, they don't have linguistic
>cognition, they can't elaborate phantasms, dreams, or hypothetical ideas,
>theories.

"Human spirit" is being suggested here and elsewhere as that line over
which the computer may not cross.  Secondarily, as summed up succinctly in
the above paragraph, language is the spokesperson for that spirit.  Now we
all agree that the computer in its present von Neumann form is a fancy
calculator.  No problem.

Fortunately or unfortunately, John Holland invented the genetic
algorithm.  These little beasts change the game.  The computer becomes
organic with these.  Now, I'm your basic Taoist and consider that human
flesh and the words we produce are like a barrel surrounding a center, the
void.  It is this void that is the source of what is called spirit.  It is
the interaction between this void and the flesh that makes us more than
calculators.  Is it impossible to consider that a similar "barrel" might
be made from metal, silicon and algorithms?  This barrel would find its
spirit from the same source we do.  If the terms Tao and void are too
obscure for you, then just insert the word evolution.  The Tao and
evolution are one and the same.  Genetic algorithms function with
evolution as their source.  So do we.


 Peter Charlot 

<bevens@hgea.org>

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