Why AI does not require Reductionism

From: Paul Hughes (psiphius@yahoo.com)
Date: Mon Jan 21 2002 - 03:36:10 MST

Dear Sl4,

Penrose's argument rest on the assumption that we
cannot reduce the 'source' of conciousness to physcial
matter. Even if he is right what difference would it
make? Lets assume that he is right. Lets assume that
the source of consciousness resides somewhere outside
of all currently known physical laws. This still would
not make a difference. In fact it would only
strengthen the possibility of creating an AI. How?

We are ultimately all made out of the *same stuff*.
At the core, regardless of any other details, we are
all made of matter, which is itself governed by
Quantum Mechanics and potential 'hidden variables'.
But this would apply to all physical matter here right
now on this planet. Penrose presupposes that somehow
we humans are made out of different 'stuff' than
something we could artificially generate. But how?
If the source of consciousness resides 'outside'
somewhere why would it decide to emerge in a human
being and not a sufficiently and equally complex
artificially generated substrate? This just doesn't
make any sense regarldess of where you fall on the
'hard problem' of consciousness.

In the scheme of things each time we give birth to a
baby we have just created a NEW intelligence on the
planet. We could take this a step further and
artificially inseminate a women with slightly changed
DNA and we still get a altered-human that is capable
of intelligent thought. Take this a step further we
utilize nanobots to molecular tweak the embryo during
development and we get an even more suped up infant.
Further, we auto-catalyze the various chemicals from
raw matter and make a baby. Now at this point we have
created out of raw matter a semi-biological human
capable of intelligence. Taken another step forward
and we can 'play' with the nano enabled embryogenesis
and make new babies quicker faster and more
intelligent. We can continue to tweak this process
until eventually we create a 'being' with a highly
engineered brain - totally artificial by any
definition. Therefore we will have created an
'Artificial Intelligence'.

So if if Penrose is right, at what point in this
continuing progression does the baby cease to have any
intelligence or consciousness? If he is saying that
at some point the baby does cease to have any
consciousness then he is now contradicting himself and
falling on the other side of the 'hard problem' of
consciousness. Becuase if at some point a human has
consciousness and an AI does not then he is
presupposing that there is some physical complexity
threshold that plays a role. Either way, Penrose
arguments just don't make any sense to me. His entire
argument seems obviously flimsy and filled with
logical holes that any freshment philosophy student
would catch. Somebody please fill me in here on what
I am missing.

Paul Hughes

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