RE: The Ultimate Connection Machine.

From: ben goertzel (
Date: Thu May 02 2002 - 12:25:59 MDT

I guess my intuition is that Gaia is more like a "lower animal" than it is
like a human. I agree that it has the analogues of biological homeostatis,
but I'm dubious that it has the analogues of focused attention, logical &
linguistic thought, etc.

The question I have is, how would you propose to empirically determine
whether Gaia in some sense has these advanced cognitive aspects?

And if Gaia did have them, and wanted to push toward a Singularity, what do
you think it would be doing in this direction? It doesn't seem to me like
the rise of technology has a lot to do with the general biological surround
of humanity. William Calvin has argued that the alternation of ice ages
with non ice ages was critical for the rise of human intelligence, so
perhaps this sort of long term intelligence-supportive climate change could
be viewed as "the Gaia-mind acting to push toward the Singularity" in some

But still, if there is a Gaia-mind, I doubt it has concepts like "Singul
arity" or "technology" at all... changes on our level would likely be the
manifestation of TOTALLY DIFFERENTLY CONCEIVED changes on its level...


-----Original Message-----
From: Mike & Donna Deering []
Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 11:48 AM
Subject: Re: The Ultimate Connection Machine.

Ben says:
>To say "the Gaia conscious being is purposefully working toward the
>Singularity" may be to export a lot of the human concept of
>"purposefulness" to a radically non-human domain in a not very appropriate

It isn't much of a stretch to attribute "purposefulness" to an intelligent
conscious being. The question is whether it is conscious and intelligent.

Ben mentions his intuition that it is slow and concerned with only
environmental maintenance. My intuition is that environmental concerns are
analogous to maintaining homeostasis of blood pressure and temperature in
our bodies. And if you were the size of a bacterium this is what you would
see as our behavior, missing the fact that we are piloting a plane from
Boise to Denver. We have a conception problem because of scale and as Ben
says, the fact that it is so different. To assume a low slow level of
intelligence because we can't see purposeful behavior while discounting
possible evidence (drive to Singularity) could be one conclusion jumped too

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