Meatballs in motion...

Brains Against the Robots

Astonishing, when you set back a bit and examine it, how much of our
national resource of mind-power is currently being spent arguing with
idiots. Specifically, I mean the effort to coax dull-witted automatons
to do fancy things by adding layers and layers of dull witted automaton
instructions on top of one another.  Since an automaton, if well built,
will do exactly what it is told, the illusion is that if you get
extremely clever about telling it what to do, it will perform complex
and subtle tasks.

The idiocy of the Turing test and its descendants is that an infinite
amount of idiocy will add up to an average amount of intelligence.  The
idiocy which this has spawned is the notion that perception and
awareness can be achieved by multiplying non-perception and
unawareness.  This is an easy trick, and you can build a whole
philosophy on it and get a lot of arguments going. You can convince
people to spend thousands of hours on analyzing how this can be done. 
All you have to do is allow a single assumption that reacting, on a
stimulus response basis, is "the same as" being aware of.

IF this is true, then all else follows: minds are chemicals, thoughts
are electronic, awareness is a mechanism, knowing is an urban myth based
purely on robotic storage of traces, intuition is a bizarre artifact of
a mechanical process, and the human spirit is a subset of the human
body, probably an illusory electronic after-image "perceived" by the
same circuit that generated it, with perception itself being just
another loop in a series of numbers and pulses passing through the
network of "wires" and fields.

If awareness is merely a response to a stimulus, then the mind's
functions are accidental byproducts of electro-chemical accidents
multiplied several trillion-fold. You have to add in the very large
numbers to accomodate the quality of the thing, you see, because the
only explanation this model has for quality is complexity.

Thus if stimulus response is the same as perception, then quality (the
raw nature of experience) is just thinly disguised quantity writ

The beauty of this line of reasoning, if it can be graced with such a
dignified name, is that it leads to a clean cut-off of life, in which
all systems entropize to the maximum, and a cold silence follows the
burbling confusions of life.  What a relief. NOT.

The minds which puruse this country with the intention to demonstrate
this callow logic are minds already beaten, lost in the depths of their
own miseries to the point where the best they can do is get very, very
logical. These are the minds of the wounded, fit to be pitied, fit to be
helped, fit to be hospitalized by the able and cared for until well. 
But these are not minds fit to lead our greatest explorations or our
cultural development.