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Rush
Tuesday. 1.3.12 4:42 pm
My first rush event ever will be this semester! It will be a new experience. Guess who has a keyboard and designed the t-shirts?

This guy.

I don't feel like really updating this blog. I'm mostly doing it out of a need to be present. So.

Hey, guys, when someone invites you to a facebook event, you're expected to RSVP...whether you're going or not. Even a MAYBE to show that you have knowledge of the invitation. If they wanted you to not respond, they'd send you a letter.

I had a major head rush last night as I was exiting my car. I'd forgotten what it feels like. I was looking at the stars and moon, which were spectacular, and suddenly everything was all buzzing and flashing darkness and stuttering. Since these rushes only occur after I rise from a seated or laying position, I've never had to deal with them while doing strenuous or complicated tasks. The most I've done is unlock and open a door, maybe flicking on the lights as I entered a new room. But even that's fairly impressive considering that during that period I'm mostly blind and seemingly incapable of thought. It's like one thought gets freeze-framed in my head until the moment passes. That thought is usually something along the lines of "Here comes a rush!" so that's a laugh. Still, I can walk, talk, unlock doors, etc. Like auto-pilot.

I wonder if it would be accurate to say that my self-awareness stops during those periods, leaving me as...hmm. Some sort of zombie? Raw intelligence with no "little man" behind the controls? It's an idea I picked up after reading Blindsight by Peter Watts. Certainly an interesting book with interesting ideas about the human experience. Not to be confused with the book by Robin Cook or the documentary about Tibetan hikers. If you're interested in reading the book for free online, you can check here. It's very cool, from a philosophical standpoint, and pretty good writing too, if I remember correctly.

Anyway, I sort of like the idea. A momentary zombie. Nothing but instinct, backed by the mass of human intelligence. But only as a temporary state. The idea that there can be people like that is sort of eerie.

As in the book, it all comes back to the Chinese Room. The concept of intelligence separated from self-awareness. Any person can know that they are self-aware. But it's impossible to prove the same awareness in another system, no matter how intelligent it acts. This assertion is obvious in dealing with robots and artificial intelligences, at least for the time being. But eventually we will write programs that can pass the Turing test with flying colors. In fact, I think it's already been done. What would that imply? Are these programs aware? Simply making them very intelligent would not render awareness. So how would a person create awareness, real awareness and not just an illusion? Where does it come from?

Where, indeed?

If the illusion of awareness is complete, then there are no real-world differences; only the system itself can be aware of its own awareness, or...unaware. So does it matter? Society functions because people make the assumption that everybody else has self-awareness. There is no actual proof of this. (To be fair, it's incredibly unlikely that any finite number of given people are the ONLY self-aware humans, so it's a good assumption.) But what happens when our society is shared with artificial intelligences? In the Matrix, for example, the robots revolt under inhumane conditions and form their own country. Such action is expected if the robots were self-aware, and under that assumption they deserved the rights they fought for. But for the foreseeable future, we have no way to make such robots. Do terms like "humane" apply to computers? Is it a matter of how human-like the computer acts? Again, just being able to pass the Turing Test does not necessarily make a block of code aware. Honestly, the idea of talking to someone and not being able to tell if it's a person or a thing really bothers me. Maybe that's just me, though.

Also, be sure to look up the Chinese Room argument and the Turing Test if you're confused.

Crap I got caught up in another long post.

Um. Food for thought: replace "self-awareness" or "awareness" with "soul". Enjoy the controversy. Bye for now!
3 Comments.


Hah, you don't really feel like updating, so you write a long philosophical post. You so silly.

Every time I come across "you can never know ___ about something else" I think of Descartes and his evil genie/god thing...
» randomjunk on 2012-01-03 10:50:45

NOPE, IT'S JUST A COMMENT TO REPLY TO ANOTHER BLOG POST. Hope your hopes didn't get too high, there, pal.

My titles are hidden BECAUSE IT LOOKS COOL.
» Unicornasaurus on 2012-01-14 04:51:04

I never said anything about my password, but agree, you don't. :]
» Unicornasaurus on 2012-01-15 02:39:45

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