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Gosh, two posts, two, as you say, "field days"
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Gosh, two posts, two, as you say, "field days"


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Posted by Bartholomew on December 14, 2000 at 12:41:43:

In Reply to: an artificial person posted by isaacthe54 on December 13, 2000 at 23:18:30:

: as in one that is made by humans. non-biological. an android.

I think it's possible.

: is it possible? ever? if not, what's so special about being biologically human it impossible to model in a machine? what's so special about 1st person experience? do you have to be biological to have it? is it even a thing we can talk about?

My belief is that consciousness = communication = a system of cause and effect. Everything already IS conscious. What's so special about 1st person experience is that without it, there can be no reality. Reality does not exist independent of 1st person experience. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, the tree never existed in the first place. (of course, the tree itself is conscious, so it's not a good example, because there is ALWAYS someone there) I also do not think that verbal thought is a prerequisite for consciousness. Something that lacks verbal thought is very different from us, but no less conscious.

: embodiment seems important. but what about if it lives in a dream world? i have the experience of embodiment in my dreams, and i could in a virtual/artificial reality which fed info to my brain. so is it really the "experience" of embodiment? the feeling of it? the belief in it?

You take the words right out of my mouth. Remember my endless rants about how action is only the perception of action, and how reality is only the information you receive?

: self-reflective action. this is also important. we act with a model of our self in mind. we are aware of our self in a process of interaction with a world. we have goals and plans of action. (embodiment is linked to this idea, too.) we are literally self-consious, and this seems to mean something like what self-reflective action/thinking seems to indicate. but we actually understand what's going on, too. (which seems important to personhood)

We don't always act with the consciousness of our self in mind. It is possible to lose this consciousness temporarily, though nearly impossible to do it while trying to. It's like the story about the king with the flying carpet that would only work when the king was not thinking about elephants. The more you try to ignore it, the more you are unable to.

Understanding of what is going on, I agree, is a major part of humanity. Something that does not understand, in at least some way, what is going on, would be incredibly alien to us.

: desires. we have desires about our desires. (that is, i want to be interested in chess, so i will think about it a lot in my spare time, go to chess clubs and play a lot and read about it, and so on. i want my desire to play chess to be my motivating desire.) how could desires be implimented? COULD they even? does it make sense, that is, to even represent such information in any concievable way? and, if not, then perhaps do we not have "desires", but rather just act in a knee-jerk reactionary way to input? perhaps in a way that is too complex for us to easily look at, and could desires maybe be just a way of describing states of this mechanistic process? what would that mean about what and who we really are?

We DO have desires, and whenever we make a choice about our lives, we refer back to these desires. This is, AT THE SAME TIME, a knee-jerk response to input. We make the choice, but we have no choice what choice we are going to make. This can simultaneously be viewed as a result of a complex mechanistic process. All descriptions are correct. Now, how can we construct a thing with a humanlike desire? For the desire to be really HUMANLIKE, we would have to mimic a human in our construction. We are apparently talking about something that doesn't just act like a human, but feels like a human; this can only be accomplished by copying a largely complete logistic map of a human brain into our artificial human.

: what IS first person experience?

I already told you what I think about that.

: what is "what it's like to be isaac"? is there such a thing? if isaac is a mechanistic machine, a *thing*, then what's so special about it? (and i assure you, something IS special about a human that isn't special about a thermostat or alarm clock.)

Humans are much more complex and have different kinds of processes within them than a thermostat or an alarm clock. It is a question of magnitude and flavor rather than a question of a fundamental difference.

: how can i say what it's like to be me to someone who has never been me? i can only assume that there is a "something it's like to be you", but only because you are a human and so am i, and i am aware of first person experience. you coudl call that self-based experience, experience that reflects a model of self. could it just be that thoughts and actions all reflect this model of self?

Very simply, you cannot say what it's like to be you to someone who has never been you. You can establish what you both think are common grounds, thus giving the other person a rough idea (assuming that what seem to be common grounds really are), but there is no way to, for example, let them know just how a bird sounds to you, or just what thoughts feel like to you, or just how you see the color green. As a matter of fact, we could all be automatons with no consciousness at all, and you could be the only real person anywhere.

: certainly, it won't come soon or easily. it won't likely come by accident. but, we need to be clear, personhood is important. we simply cannot afford the risks involved in depriving persons of rights.

Depriving people of their rights? Did I miss something? I thought that we were trying to figure out how to build an artificial human. What, exactly, are you talking about not coming soon or easily?

: i'd love to hear any opinions at all about this.

: isaac


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