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machine brains

ray scanlon rscanlon at wsg.net
Wed Nov 12 20:05:12 EST 1997

Oliver Sparrow <ohgs at chatham.demon.co.uk> wrote in article
<01bcef6c$2ed2bac0$e77a61ce at asdf>...
>  "ray scanlon" <rscanlon at wsg.net> wrote:
> >There is a fundamental split in the approaches to designing a
> >that can think, shall I take the mind or the brain as my model?
> Yes. Both.
> Complicated things are explored in bits. Explorers go up the great
> rivers. Administrators
> set up by the sea. Later, geologists and anthropologists dig for deep
> structure. The
> understanding of cognition is close to the European understanding of
> the geography of
> Africa, circa 1600. We sail round it. We have a few ports of call.
> Slaves, gold and ivory
> emerge mysteriously from it. Adventurous minds write fiction about
> adventurous souls
> make trips into its interior, sometimes understanding some of what
> see. But the
> makers of maps and the provisioners of ships lay the grounds for the
> future. 

Sorry Oliver, that was just a rhetorical question, I have already opted
for the brain. You do spin such lovely tales though.

Your having a second go at the Himalayas puts me in mind of a couple I
knew (both deceased). They did the Everest bit. I don't know how far up
they went but they were both climbers. The woman was bitching about
life on the mountain and her husband reminded her that it was a "once
in a lifetime experience". She replied, "It was damn well only going to
happen once in her lifetime".

Incidentally, I have a son who is attending Cornell. He is a climber.
There is a clock tower that is a landmark on the campus. It rises to a
point. This Halloween a pumpkin appeared impaled on the very tippy-top.
The administration took the attitude that it could stay there until it
rotted. My son says there are about twenty guys on campus who could do
it. Not him of course. I talked to several of the climbers and it
seemed to be common knowledge that the pumpkin weighed sixty pounds
before they hollowed it out. But, of course, nobody has the foggiest
idea of who did it.


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