Re: virus: kurzweil cuts the mustard

Robin Faichney (
Fri, 1 Jan 1999 19:34:21 +0000

In message <001801be35b2$bc6c0840$e2194018@CS1000568-A.cgno1.ab.wave.hom>, David McFadzean <> writes
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Robin Faichney <>
>To: <>
>Date: Friday, January 01, 1999 3:05 AM
>Subject: Re: virus: kurzweil cuts the mustard
>>information currently arriving via my modem. A machine
>>could do *anything* without any consciousness whatsoever.
>A machine could not truthfully announce "I am conscious"
>without being conscious. Or is that cheating? :-)

Well, it is, actually, because it boils down to saying the machine couldn't be conscious without being conscious. :-)

>Let's say the machine in question could successfully keep
>up its end of the conversation about what it is like to
>have consciousness, i.e., it passes the Turing test. Sure,
>it is possible that it has a number of preprogrammed
>answers to all my questions, but given the number of
>possible questions it would seem astronomically unlikely
>that it lucked out and passed the test by cheating.

Nope. There's no reason it has to be a lookup table. Any kind of symbolic reasoning and/or neural nets is allowed. Passing the Turing Test does *not* imply consciousness. All it means is, it would be natural for us to think of it as conscious -- which tells us something about us, but as for the machine -- it has to be intelligent, yes, but conscious, no.

>So saying that a machine could do *anything* without
>consciousness it rather like making the claim that it
>is possible for a human to walk through a solid wall
>(you just have to luck out and line up your atoms

I should have said "anything within reason". Obviously, logical and physical impossibilities are ruled out.