Re: How would a computer know if it were conscious?

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2007 19:19:55 +1000

On 07/06/07, <> wrote:

Evolution doesn't care about the survival of individual organisms
> directly, the actual goal of evolution is only to maximize
> reproductive fitness.
> If you want to eat a peice of chocolate cake, evolution explains why
> you like the taste, but your goals are not evolutions goals. You
> (Stathis) want to the cake because it tastes nice - *your* goal is to
> experience the nice taste. Evolution's goal (maximize reproductive
> fitness) is quite different. Our (human) goals are not evolution's
> goals.

That's right, but we can see through evolution's tricks with the chocolate
cake and perhaps agree that it would be best not to eat it. This involves
reasoning about subgoals in view of the top level goal, something that
probably only humans among the animals are capable of doing. However, the
top level goal is not something that we generally want to change, no matter
how insightful and intelligent we are. And I do think that this top level
goal must have been programmed into us directly as fear of death, because it
does not arise logically from the desire to avoid painful and
anxiety-provoking situations, which is how fear of death is indirectly coded
in animals.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Thu Jun 07 2007 - 05:20:10 PDT

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