There’s the computer’s side… and then there’s the dog’s side. Listen to both:
O’Leary: Bear with me one more time as I work this out. I am trying to imagine it in real life, the way things happen:
You are a dog’s human friend and he is quite sick. You take him to the vet. The vet uses up-to-date monitoring systems and the assistant helpfully explains to you what all those machine signals mean. So you sit there watching the machine and your presence in the room reassures the dog.
You are having an experience reading the vital signs. The dog is having quite a different experience living them. You have all of his data and none of his experience. The dog has none of his data and all of his experience.
Suppose you took all that data and instantiated it into a robot. Is the robot having your experience or the dog’s? Or neither, actually?
Is it even possible to be the subject of experience without being alive? How could simulation amount to the same thing? That’s the part I don’t understand.
Holloway: Yes, it’s a weird phenomenon in computer science, but we like to call things by names that they are not. Like “artificial intelligence” We like to hide the artificiality of the computers with naming them after real things. Just like children pretend their dolls are real people, we pretend our circuits and signals are really alive, thinking and feeling, and replacements for the real world. I guess it is the grown up version of make believe.
O’Leary: As long as we remember it’s all make believe.News, “Can we teach a computer to feel things: A dialogue” at Mind Matters News
What do people mean when they say they can give computers or robots feelings? Is it possible to feel things without being alive?
Hey, this post is in honour of the Ottawa Humane Society and of all Humane Associations everywhere.