Blog Comments

  1. Virgil's Avatar
    Hi Farnoosh. Nice to see you again. What a nice picture that is of you.
  2. farnoosh's Avatar
    Someone has their hands full this month. I've never actually read any horror novels or stories, but I do get pretty frightened reading history books.

    Anyway, enjoy your reading!
  3. YesNo's Avatar
    Any life form that can't engage in communication, whether this is because of a coma or not having a language, like slime mold, that we understand, would flunk the Turing test. That doesn't mean that life form is a machine.

    The problem with consciousness is that we can't look inside the other and tell if there is some first person experience occurring or tell if the other can exercise any intentionality. We have to infer this from behavior or through empathy.

    Some philosophers (I'm thinking of John Searles, "Mind") don't trust inferences of this sort unless they can open the box and verify that the inference is correct. But without those kinds of inferences how could we even know there is a Higgs particle?

    The behavior that I think characterizes consciousness of some sort is the ability to make a choice. If it looks like something made a choice, it has some consciousness about it, enough to make the choice. The problem with that is it would imply that even quantum reality is conscious in some way. The experimental results in their indeterministic nature could be replaced by inferred choices.

    Now a machine doesn't make choices as a machine. We know this. We may be fooled and infer that a machine speaking to us has made word choices in conversation, but we have more than the inference to go on. We can check how it was programmed. We can look inside. At that point we know it did not make a choice.
  4. PeterL's Avatar
    There are people with diminished mental capacity who would flunk the Turing test. But I agree better tests than what people have been discussing are needed. How would you design such a test?

    No one has come up with a really good definition of consciousness, and many anilals are quite aware of themselves and so on. This is something else that needs better definitions.

    I understand what that woman meant, and I hope she does better in the future.
  5. YesNo's Avatar
    If a human being can't pass the Turing test, then the Turing test is not able to distinguish very well between humans and machines. We need a better test.

    Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner in "Quantum Enigma" told a story about a female student who claimed she dated guys who couldn't pass the Turing test. What does that even mean? Did she date guys whom she could not tell if they were a human or a machine by engaging in conversation with them? Perhaps they weren't interested in talking to her. Can a machine choose not to participate in a Turing test when you turn it on?

    Forget about machines, does anyone really doubt that animals are conscious? Is a brain even necessary for consciousness? Slime mold and E. coli bacteria, neither having brains, appear to make choices and project intentionality in their efforts to survive. They seem more conscious than any machine I've used.
  6. PeterL's Avatar
    There were strings attached to the bailouts, but they weren't firm or well defined.

    Both panics were much more complicated that I wrote of. The contrast between the two deserves a fat book. It is my opinion that it would be better to have a smaller financial sector that could be bailed out by a handful of money center banks with the feds just depositing a wad here or there to provide liquidity. When it comes to banks, including investment banks, Greed Kills.
  7. AuntShecky's Avatar
    Well done!
    Yes, the effect of the 2007 crash or "near-crash" are still with us. It was originally caused at least in part by selling specious mortgages, including loans made to people rooked into believing they could re-pay them while actually they lacked the income to do so. These "bad" loans, rubberstamped with "AAA" ratings by raters who may or may not have been bribed, were then "bundled" and sold overseas to unsuspecting investors in Iceland and elsewhere. It was similiar to wrapping a hundred dollar bill around a stack of singles and claiming that it was a huge wad of cash.

    Another factor was the arrogance of stock brokers, not entirely like the degenerate character in "Wolf of Wall Street," but goaded by the same hubris. They were cut-throat, and so competitive that the men on Wall Street were often described as "swinging their (you-know-whats.)

    As described in the book by Andrew Ross Sorkin, the banks were considered "Too Big to Fail" and thus received massive bailouts from the government (i.e. taxpayers) merely by asking for them. The bailouts came in two separate stages under two different President administrations, so there's plenty of blame to go around. I've heard that some of the bailout money has been paid back, but maybe I've got it confused tiwht the auto company bail-outs (most of which have been repaid in full.)

    My personal objection to the bank bail outs is that there were literally no strings attached. There weren't any stipulations to benefit the American consumer or to change some of the questionable and greedy consumer banking practices. Elizabeth Warren ,among others, is still fighting for better financial disclosures etc. all these years later.

    Again, this was a thoughtful, intelligent blog post.
  8. PeterL's Avatar
    If that's the case, then you might want to search for information on "the Age of Reason", t"The ENlightenment" (two terms for the same philosophical movement), "Classical Liberalism", and for a variety of the major philosophers and writers of the Enlightenment. Many regard the Enlightenment as the the nearly final reaction to the Protestant Reformation and subsequent activities, and it ended with no religion in government, government by the will of the governed, freedom of speech, etc. Rather oddly Thomas Hobbes is regarded by some as the initiator of the philosophy especially in political philosophy, but John Locke, Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, and others who favored a freer society were are more typical. The time-frame is generally given as 1650 to 1800, but there wasn't anything that followed directly, so it continues among those who wouldn't prefer having the Pope rule over everything.
  9. prendrelemick's Avatar
    I don't . Totalitarianism is the very worst form of government. I am trying to get a handle on your opinions through questioning them. eg your answer above has clarified something I misunderstood. I am interested, I probably agree with 90% of what you say.

    I believe in Society. I am happy to take advantage of it's benefits and to contribute to it.
    Updated 10-02-2014 at 06:23 AM by prendrelemick
  10. PeterL's Avatar
    I am perfectly happy that you feel that way. My opinions are based on classical liberalism. The U.S. Constitution is simply the ogranization of one government that was based on the principals of the Enlightenment. If you don't share those values; that's fine with me, but you do not have the right to keep others from sharing those principals.

    If you favor totalitarianism. That's your business.
  11. prendrelemick's Avatar
    But you, and most Americans have a zeal for your constitution which I would call Religious and fanatical, and quite understandable too, it is your sacred document, it has shaped and guided your nation for two hundred years, and is set in stone. I believe Government should be able to change with the aspirations of the society it governs and to fit the times it governs in. For instance, if universal healthcare is deemed " a good thing" in the twenty first century, then it should be taken up, even if no provisions for it were set down 200 years ago.

    The relationship between Society and Government is at the crux, it must be a happy and workable one. And most importantly - but often ignored today - Society should mean everyone, the vulnerable and the powerful.

    That's all I can really say until I know more about Classical Enlightenment.
    Updated 09-30-2014 at 10:22 AM by prendrelemick
  12. PeterL's Avatar
    I thank you. I seldom reread posts until months later.
  13. qimissung's Avatar
    Look at your blog entry. Most of the first seven paragraphs are repeated in the second half of the entry.

    As to your second point-ah. One of life's big mysteries.
  14. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by qimissung
    Yikes, did you mean to post the blog entry twice?
    Should I have? Did I post this months ago?

    Anyway such things as you are talking of do happen. Perhaps we can attribute it to the collective unconscious.
    After it hits humanity collective unconsciousness may come into play, but there seems to be something that initially injects the feeling or idea, and I don't mean the sorts of things that the Moon's cycle influences.
  15. qimissung's Avatar
    Yikes, did you mean to post the blog entry twice?

    Anyway such things as you are talking of do happen. Perhaps we can attribute it to the collective unconscious.
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