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Yes, Alex, But I Missed It. Sorry.

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Posted by Paul R. Martin on December 17, 2001 06:59:32 UTC

Hi Alex,

I thought we were talking about robots. In order to be identical to a human, the "robot" would have to be constructed of organic molecules of exactly the same type, number, and configuration of the person with whom the "robot" is identical. I think the question of whether such a "robot" would be alive is still debatable. I think it probably would be, and I would then agree with you that it would be conscious and indistinguishable from a human.

But I didn't think that is what we were talking about. I thought we were talking about a mechanical/electrical/electronic machine that was able to pass the Turing test. I.e., a machine that could convince reasonable humans that it was a conscious human. The key idea is that the machine could convince humans that it is conscious. In my simple thought experiment, I supposed that the speech on the tape recorder was convincing.

My point was that the fact that the behavior was convincing, was not sufficient to imply that the machine was actually conscious.

By sneaking in the requirement that the robot be identical to a human changes the picture. If the robot is identical to a human, then it is a human by definition, and it wouldn't help us with the question of consciousness.

Warm regards,


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