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machine brains

William Thomas wthomas at mint.net
Tue Feb 9 07:34:12 EST 1999

I agree with Michael, however in my original message I was just laying out
some rhetorical questions to point out that brains, organisms, and quasi
organisms all function quite comfortably without any need for consciousness.
The thing I really wanted to stress was not to get hung up on what is or is
not conscious when thinking about designing a brain because:

A.   The soul, or consciousness, if real, is separate from the brain. This
is obvious, because there is no structural difference between our brains and
the brains of major primates that would account for the function of a soul.
Now, if the soul crowd was interested in dishing out consciousness and souls
to all the primates, it would be a different story, however I don't think
they are ready to do that.

B.   The more likely reality is that the soul is an illusion created by the
brain. In this case it could be assumed that if you design a clever enough
machine brain, the brain would fool itself into thinking it had
consciousness. In this event we would be hard pressed to argue, seeing as we
can not agree what, if anything, consciousness is.

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