Journal 09-12-03

Reflections of text quotes from Are We Spiritual Machines?

Most of the complexity of a human neuron is devoted to maintaining its life support functions, not its information processing capabilities.  Ultimately, we will need to port our mental processes to a more suitable computational substrate.” (pp.29)

In this paragraph, Kurzweil becomes quite confusing.  I can’t readily tell who the “we” is that he’s talking about.  I would argue that humans do not need to port our mental processes to a more computational substrate.  But, my guess is, he is now talking about the superhuman.  Or is he?  This is what frightens me about his ideas and also how connected they are to his evolutionary philosophy, alluding to the idea that his is where we are headed as a species?  he goes on to talk about its place within the evolutionary construct (refuting the relationship to destiny of course) when he says:

We will reverse engineer the human brain, not because it is our destiny.  But there is valuable information to be found there that will provide insights in building more intelligent (more valuable) machines.  We would have to repeal capitalism and every visage of economic competition to stop this progression.” (pp.53)

I agree with this [last sentence] entirely, but then again think it probably not the best things that capitalism has or will lead to this state.  I think it is one of the dangers of a purely capitalistic system that is born out of and interwoven with a scientific materialist system.  The problem is that there are other systems.  Thought, as Denton points out, the traditional vitalistic alternative has virtually no support.  Not that I even know fully what THAT is!  I’m not a philosopher, so this  all becomes difficult for me to comment on.  Add to that Kurzweil’s own invented theories.  [For example], he admits,  “we assume that other humans are conscious” and his emphasis in this statement is the assumption.  But, yet, never does he admit that his own theories are assumptions, that the science and philosophy themselves are assumptions.

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