Re: Short story

From: turin (
Date: Thu Jan 12 2006 - 09:48:31 MST


--- Russell Wallace <> wrote:

From: Russell Wallace <>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 05:17:36 +0000
Subject: Re: Short story
On 1/12/06, turin <> wrote:

  This story is I believe in Andy Clarke's Mindware

Like a lot of stories that are written with no other goal than
to shock, this one just isn't very good. (Why would a machine
race even have the word "meat"? It doesn't make sense.) There's
a good story to be written about a sentient machine race that's
forgotten its origins studying our form of life and trying to
figure out what's going on with it ("they have self-replicating
nanotechnology! but it doesn't make sense... why is it done
this way?...") but this isn't it, alas.
- Russell


The story could be shocking yes, obviously, but another interpretation is that to many meat persons on earth, the idea of a person who thinks with electronic circuits is absurd. It is a horatian satire about substrate prejudice, and as we know there is no universal substrate, though it could be possible I suppose for there to be optimal substrates for various applications. Even very religious people believe that the brain not the soul does the thinking even if the mind is an intermediary between the soul and body or is effected by the soul/mind or however one constructs their personal of metaphysics mind in relationship to incarnation, or being in the meat.

The aliens' prejudice against meat is just as absurd and foolish as our prejudice against silicon or nanotubes or whatever the first AI we consider a "person" uses as a substrate. And I mean "person" in the sense of an autonmous agent even if if the AI does not have subjective states, though I maintain it would have to have subjective states to be a person by my concept of personhood.

The aliens believe people can't be meat in the same way religious or even nonreligious people believe silicon can't be meat.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:55 MDT