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Re: FleshFactor: responding to Molyneaux

A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

Siegfried Pflegerl wrote:

>Returning to the man/machine relation: Is it possible that we can
>construct machines that are able to discuss the same contents and the
>same problems we are discussing here? Can machines be capable of thinking
>thoughts about their own thinking in the same way and on the same level? 

Brian Leigh Molyneaux wrote:

>To crudely (and badly) paraphrase Wittgenstein: if lions could speak, we
>wouldn't be able to understand them anyway. Different strokes for
>different folks. Context (environment) is everything. If it can't eat,
>shit, go on vacations, love, die, how can it 'be capable of thinking
>thoughts about [its] own thinking in the same way and on the same level' 
>as us? 

I do think that's just the point. This is actually the fleshfactor...
However, what seems even more interesting to me is:
Why do we want to create a machine that is able to think as we do?

I have the feeling, this is just a very elusive way to express spiritual
desires for immortality and transcendence. The sole idea of a human way of
thinking without a human body denies the "fleshfactor" and suggests at the
same time that there may be some kind of spirit/soul independent of its
hardware/body.  So my answer would be: No, we won't be able to construct
such a machine without simultaneously having to imitate the human body. 
Indeed, from a materialistic point of view there is no difference between
hardware and software regarding the human brain.  The only aspect of our
way of thinking that we could reproduce until now were rational
expressions that were easy to formulate in computational logic. But still
the essential moments of our lifes are caused and driven by emotions. To
create this e-motions there has to be motion, requiring the "fleshfactor"
to be integrated into the process of thinking. And if we would be able to
merge such a hybrid entity we would obtain at best an terrestrian alien,
more strange to us than any insect, but at worst the result would be a
demon, merciless demonstrating its makers whatever they are able to
create, their life is "Krankheit zum Tode". Nevertheless, I have to add,
these things were already outlined in the story collection
"Sterntagebuecher" (unfortunately I don't know the english title) of
Stanislav Lem. 

Guenther Lametschwandtner    <GL@abc.univie.ac.at>

Vienna Biocente

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