Re: sentient, malevolent, whatever :-)

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From: Eirikur Hallgrimsson (
Date: Mon May 15 2000 - 14:38:05 PDT

Wow, the usual clear burst of light from Strata. I don't think I've
been burned, but something smells a bit charred.

I agree that the 'rights' of non-human entities have been overlooked.
Actually, that's how we go about depriving humans of
rights--classifying them as non-human. It strikes me that there's
probably hardware for the human/non-human distinction.

Intelligent aliens would be an interesting test. Of course, we had
that, when Europeans reached the new world, with less than salutory

Slavery. Yes. Of course. No kidding. I don't think people are
avoiding this issue, particularly, though. I don't think that very
many people AT ALL really conceive what success on the strong AI
front would mean. Ray Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines"
should be required reading for anyone planning to live more than a
couple of years further into the future. Makes those robot monks in
old Ron Goulart parodies look less funny. BTW, on the AI front, I
think we're going to do it, both ways (procedural programming and
training networks). I expect success for each approach and even more
for hybrids. But, and I want to be really clear about this: I don't
think there's any reason to believe that we can. We don't have an
ontology that says we can. I'd be happy to retrofit, though.

Over-cynical semi-related rant about not-fully-competant humans, and
other pets:

I've been filling out a bunch of forms for a couple of (more
interesting) dating services. Pets and children keep coming up. I
want to say that I have a (W.C) Fieldsian attitude without being
ruled out by some miracle whose children I'd want to have.

Anyway, my attitude toward children and pets is that homo sapiens is
the most dangerous species on the planet. Dangerous animals are
frowned-upon as pets and may be subject to regulation in your
locality. You have to prove that you can safely raise mountain
lions or manta rays, but for homo sapiens you get tax deductions and
public funding (public schools). It seems sort of out of whack. I
am not menaced on the corner by lions and tigers, though I know that
some are raised nearby. I can't say that about the hominids. And
the interesting thing is that their parents can escape responsibility
by claiming the hominids to be "uncontrollable." Just try that one
with elephants or rattlesnakes.


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