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machine brains

William Thomas wthomas at mint.net
Sun Feb 7 07:58:13 EST 1999

All of the soul, no soul philosophical debate is interesting, however I
think both camps are missing a more basic and important question.

Why do things fight to survive? This is the one trait that the big meat
brained (an potentially 'souled')animals and the little (and I think most
would agree, 'unsouled') viruses share. The virus does not have a brain, so
it could be argued that the survival instinct is not a brain function, but
something else - but what? And while you are at it, if the purpose is merely
to survive, and pass down DNA, then it could be argued that the virus
functions at a much higher level that the human.

Until we understand the survival function, and the questions that go with
it, wouldn't any machine that we DESIGN shut itself off if it had the
chance? After all, why expend energy if not to survive and pass on DNA?

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