"Is the Body Obsolete?"

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"Is the Body Obsolete?"

Postby Anna » Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:57 am

I suppose that Jennifer had read these articles some times before
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m ... ai_7675133
Marvin Minsky - Is the Body Obsolete? A Forum
Marvin Minsky

Human beings are essentially machines. However, the word "machine" isn't very evocative because when you say "machine" people think of simple things like typewriters and cars. The word doesn't communicate the complexity of the thing. The word "machine" means "a physical system that you understand," and since people don't know how the brain works, the word has the wrong implication. Now if you tell somebody they're a machine you're saying, "You're so simple, I understand you." But that's not a problem of the machine, that's a bit of autobiography. Someday there'll be machines so smart they'll understand us and they'll say, "People are machines, but we aren't."

Consciousness is just having certain kinds of short-term memory registers that describe a little bit about what you were recently thinking. In fact, consciousness in humans is not very strong. We can't remember very much of our thoughts. When we can solve all the other technical problems, it will be easy to make machines that are much more conscious than we are. Increasing the availability of short-term memory would be a first step. No one knows why we have such limited short-term memory, but I suspect it's because our short-term memory systems are actually large, expensive pieces of brain and we only have about a dozen of them. When part of your brain operates, like the part that makes sentences, there isn't another part of the brain that remembers how it did it. That's why people can't explain their grammar. That part isn't conscious. You have to have scientists work for years and years to find out even a little bit about it. If we were truly conscious, we would know right off how we made sentences as we made them.

If it was possible, I would have myself downloaded. Why not? The idea of not dying just after you've learned almost enough to solve a problem is compelling. It doesn't have to be immortality, but it would be nice to live 500 years, wouldn't it? Right now, there's too much known for anyone to understand in a single lifetime. And there's no reason the systems should break down if you use modern reliability techniques because you could replace each of the parts. The trouble with biology is that it tries to fix things, but it isn't very good at it. If you look at the error checking in the cell-repair part of the genetic code, it's really contemptibly low-grade compared to what we could do now if we redesigned the whole thing. Of course, immortality has its own problems. Overpopulation and that sort of thing. I don't see any real problems except that one huge mind could use up the universe. And you could make two copies of yourself in case one didn't work. Perhaps send multiple copies of yourself out to lead different lives.

When it comes to downloading, you could make up ethical problems easily enough. There are always ethical problems with anything. Ethical problems depend on people's ethics. I don't believe in any absolute ethics anyway. Ethical problems are actually political and evolutionary problems. "Thou shalt not kill" is senseless if you think in terms of competition between species. I think the importance of downloading is just allowing evolution to proceed. And evolution seems to be leading us to a machine consciousness.

Marvin Minsky is a Donner Professor of Science at MIT and one of the original pioneers in Artificial Intelligence research. In his book, The Society of Mind (SIGNAL p. 202), Dr. Minsky explains his theory of bow a mind can be constructed by linking individual components, none of which are conscious on their own. This essay was excerpted from a phone interview.

Richard Kadrey

COPYRIGHT 1989 Point Foundation
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

And this here
http://gregegan.customer.netspace.net.a ... ation.html
Permutation City
If it's a page-turner you're looking for, Egan's Permutation City beats Connes' Noncommutative Geometry hands down.
— John Baez, sci.math

Synopsis
Paul uncovered his eyes, and looked around the room. Away from a few dazzling patches of direct sunshine, everything glowed softly in the diffuse light: the matte white brick walls, the imitation (imitation) mahogany furniture; even the posters — Bosch, Dali, Ernst, and Giger — looked harmless, domesticated. Wherever he turned his gaze (if nowhere else), the simulation was utterly convincing; the spotlight of his attention made it so. Hypothetical light rays were being traced backwards from individual rod and cone cells on his simulated retinas, and projected out into the virtual environment to determine exactly what needed to be computed: a lot of detail near the centre of his vision, much less towards the periphery. Objects out of sight didn't “vanish” entirely, if they influenced the ambient light, but Paul knew that the calculations would rarely be pursued beyond the crudest first-order approximations: Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights reduced to an average reflectance value, a single grey rectangle — because once his back was turned, any more detail would have been wasted. Everything in the room was as finely resolved, at any given moment, as it needed to be to fool him — no more, no less.


Paul Durham keeps making Copies of himself: software simulations of his own brain and body which can be run in virtual reality, albeit seventeen times more slowly than real time. He wants them to be his guinea pigs for a set of experiments about the nature of artificial intelligence, time, and causality, but they keep changing their mind and baling out on him, shutting themselves down.

Maria Deluca is an Autoverse addict; she's unemployed and running out of money, but she can't stop wasting her time playing around with the cellular automaton known as the Autoverse, a virtual world that follows a simple set of mathematical rules as its “laws of physics”.

Paul makes Maria a very strange offer: he asks her to design a seed for an entire virtual biosphere able to exist inside the Autoverse, modelled right down to the molecular level. The job will pay well, and will allow her to indulge her obsession. There has to be a catch, though, because such a seed would be useless without a simulation of the Autoverse large enough to allow the resulting biosphere to grow and flourish — a feat far beyond the capacity of all the computers in the world.


Jennifer has told us earlier that she would like to have an exictence as an uploaded "software" or similar.
As I had found these webpages I thought it should be mentioned here.
(I'd read a german webpage and it had the links to the both pages.)
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Re: "Is the Body Obsolete?"

Postby Quaeras » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:21 pm

I hereby certify that there is no human life here.

<stamp>.

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Re: "Is the Body Obsolete?"

Postby draque » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:07 am

I just now ordered a copy of The Society of Mind. If the book is anything that it promises to be, I'll probably post some sort of review here...
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Re: "Is the Body Obsolete?"

Postby Quaeras » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:37 pm

"I intend to live forever, or die trying."
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Re: "Is the Body Obsolete?"

Postby OtakuMan » Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:59 pm

You know there was one person who wanted to find a new upgrade for human bodies. Something that would remove human frailty. Unfortunately, what he came up with was this:

Image

So my answer is NO! A THOUSAND times no! The human body is NOT obsolete!

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Re: "Is the Body Obsolete?"

Postby Mitsukara » Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:07 am

The body isn't obsolete, by definition, without a viable replacement that is wholly superior. I'm not seein' that on the market.

Cybermen are rather clunky-moving and seem to have some issues regarding mental and emotional supression that are rather detractive to their possible superiority as replacements, as well. They're also decidedly lacking in the facial/emotional representation and individuality departments, though I'm not sure how customizeable such features may be.

I would certainly not mind a legitimate way to either heavily improve my existing body, or perhaps replace it with something that's actually better, if my mind could be preserved and physically transfered in a way and not just "copied". Brain in a jar works if it's a sexy jar, or at worst the Curfuschia method seems like a reasonable shot (I might want to wait until I'm a bit older to try such a thing though, lest I still technically kill myself- very effectively to my personal perspective- in the doing).

And then if I could be a super anime girl robot of my liking, well. That could work out very nicely. I would have a great deal of fun customizing my appearance to be wholly the way I want it to be. Feeling good, having no sinus problems or bacterial worries, and so on would be nice also, assuming that I didn't acquire a new set of problems that was just as bad (rusting, flimsy parts, major dust buildup issues that couldn't be fixed, etc). I could totally work with this.

Now, assuming that outright dying could be postponed indefinitely in such a method, we get into a whole different can of worms. If no one I loved were dead, or at least the certain people/person so far, I would try to live as long as I could indefinitely, but the way it is now, I'd have a great deal of trouble choosing how or indeed if I were to let myself die. As it is now, it's an inevitability so I'll go about my merry way and I'll see when it happens; I have no freedom of choice, only freedom from choice.

And indeed, that sentiment covers the whole situation since such swell technology doesn't exist as of yet. I'd approve, though.
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Re: "Is the Body Obsolete?"

Postby arex » Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:34 am

Try as I might, I can't get a picture in my mind of a "sexy jar". All I can come up with is a quart mason jar with some dimestore bling stuck on it.



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Re: "Is the Body Obsolete?"

Postby Zygote Jr. » Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:44 am

...poor naked Zygote would do well with a giant killer robot body. Warmer, certainly, and the police would give him less crap.
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Re: "Is the Body Obsolete?"

Postby Mitsukara » Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:53 pm

Image
Oh yeahhh.
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Re: "Is the Body Obsolete?"

Postby Tychomonger » Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:36 am

VERY YES.

This excites me so very much. This brings us that much closer to computer augmented minds.
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Re: "Is the Body Obsolete?"

Postby strange_person » Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:50 am

IMES seems the most interesting. It works best when there's some muscle left... what about if all the muscle is left, that is to say, if the subject's limbs are still fully functional? One-time, minimally-invasive surgery, some signal-encryption system with a unique key for each pilot, and you've got an ideal neural interface for mecha.

I mean, the engineering problems with prosthetics have always been with miniaturization. It's hard to fit all those motors, and an adequate power supply, into a package small enough to pass for a natural arm. If you're willing to build the arm as part of an industrial-strength chassis the size of a pickup truck, all the tolerances get proportionally wider, and 'packing' problems become simple enough to be solved adequately with off-the-shelf parts.
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