Friday, June 20, 2008

I had to laugh

I am currently going crazy learning about robotics in an attempt to finish off my masters degree. I have even started a [new blog] to store all the information I get.

But in my research I came across this pearler:

"Consciousness is part of the natural world. It depends, ... , only on mathematics and logic and on the imperfectly known laws of physics, chemistry, and biology; it does not arise from some magical or otherworldly quality. That's good news, because it means there's no reason why consciousness can't be reproduced in a machine..." [Christof Koch and Giulio Tononi]

And I wonder, on whose authority do they speak? In reality they actually have no authority, since they have not actually produced conciousness.

There is no 'good news' here. All they did was take their naturalistic world view and apply it to the field of cognitive robotics. Now I do not need to be an expert in conciousness to see that they are wrong until proven right.

As I noted the other day - conciousness (or self-awareness) in computers actually gets us nowhere in intelligence. Self awareness is the pinnacle of autonomy, but it doesn't make it clever or even able to learn.

But read through the quote, and this time I'll highlight what I left out:

"Consciousness is part of the natural world. It depends, we believe, only on mathematics and logic and on the imperfectly known laws of physics, chemistry, and biology; it does not arise from some magical or otherworldly quality. That's good news, because it means there's no reason why consciousness can't be reproduced in a machine—in theory, anyway." (Emphasis mine) [Christof Koch and Giulio Tononi]



Really? You don't say! Academically, this is their 'way out' of being wrong. They'll call it a theory and continue in business as usual. So often, people (Christians and non) will read the above statement and their brain 'leaves out' the emphasized text. One party will say it is a correct statement, the other will disagree. Then we start fighting and there really is no point. Sounds a lot like another debate...

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