RE: Diaspora, the future of AI & value systems, etc.

From: Patrick McCuller (
Date: Mon Dec 11 2000 - 19:47:52 MST

> > > Did you ever read "Bartlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials"?
> >
> Sorry! Nothing transhuman about Bartlowe's Guide; it's just a fun book
> for people who are interested in aliens. They have a picture of a Soft
> One, and also a picture of what a Guild Steersman *really* looks like.

        Oh, yes. I was also fond of the overlords from Childhood's End. I got the
book years ago and the beautiful depictions brought me to many SF books I
might not have stumbled on otherwise.

> > The basic problem here is that psychology is a dying
> field. It is being
> > replaced by cognitive science. Ultimately, by a physical
> understanding of the
> > nature of the human brain and its functions and dysfunctions.
> I disagree; functional understanding is physical understanding only
> insofar as pieces of mindware happen to correspond to particular chunks of
> brainware. It may be fun to know what the amygdala does, but it's also
> important to realize that it would be just as much fun if the amygdala
> were shaped like a dodecahedron and located in the occipital lobe. Again,
> there are exceptions; as you move closer to the computational level,
> topological properties of neuroanatomy can become important. Still, I
> think that calling this a "physical" understanding of the brain is
> overstating the case.

        This is what I wanted to say.

        I should perhaps have said cognitive neuroscience. People are finally
beginning to realize that the mind is a function of the brain. They can work
backward from the brain's structure to reveal truths about the mind. By
working in both directions, knowing that mindful structures must be
represented and supported by brainful structures, we can see the creation of
an overlap field. A field of study that has more to reveal about human nature
than either neuroscience or psychology could accomplish alone.


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