Monday, 24 April 2017

Programmed Personalities?

I reproduce this quotation from Poul Anderson again in order to discuss its content. Let's try to clarify some terms as applied in our experience:

organisms respond sensitively to their environments and some organismic sensitivity is also conscious sensation;

mechanisms, like clocks, have internal parts that move in ways predetermined by their manufacturers;

a machine is a mechanism, not an organism;

a program is a set of rules applied unconsciously (mechanically or electronically) by a machine;

a human being is an organism and a human personality is self-conscious.

So can a personality be downloaded into a program?

However: can electronic interactions within a sensitive artifact duplicate the functions of electrochemical interactions within an organic brain?

I don't know. I am just trying to clarify what we are talking about.

Fictions about AIs: it is difficult to follow a narrative when viewpoint characters voluntarily undergo temporary partial amnesia. In John C. Wright's The Golden Age, Helion says that he must reexperience being burned to death while forgetting that this is a simulation but will remember on waking what the pain was for. What was it for? I have lost the thread but am not engaged enough with the characters to want to reread and find out.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I am skeptical that it will ever be possible to somehow "scan" and download a human personality into a program. But, for all I know, it might be done someday.

Yes, I agree with what you said about the plot complexities of Wright's THE GOLDEN AGE. I suggest that was in part inevitable due to how "cutting edge" his technological speculations were and in part due to the book being only the first of three volumes.