[ExI] The symbol grounding problem in strong AI

Gordon Swobe gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 4 21:41:53 UTC 2010

--- On Mon, 1/4/10, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:

> Moreover, you seem to be saying that there is only one type of c-neuron
> that could fill the shoes of the original b-neuron, although
> presumably there are different m-neurons that could give rise to this 
> c-neuron. Is that right?

1. I think b-neurons work as c-neurons in the relevant parts of the brain. 

2. I think all p-neurons work as ~c-neurons in the relevant parts of the brain.

3. I annoy Searle, but do not I think fully disclaim his philosophy, by hypothesizing that some possible m-neurons work like c-neurons. 

Does that answer your question?

> Suppose the m-neuron (which is a c-neuron) contains a
> mechanism to open and close sodium channels depending on the
> transmembrane potential difference. Would changing from an analogue
> circuit to a digital circuit for just this mechanism change the neuron
> from a c-neuron to a ~c-neuron? 

Philosophically, yes. In practical sense? Probably not in any detectable way. But you've headed down a slippery slope that ends with describing real natural brains as digital computers. I think you want to go there, (and speaking as an extropian I certainly don't blame you for wanting to) and if so then perhaps we should just cut to the chase and go there to see if the idea actually works.

>> No, he does not "actually" believe anything. He merely
> reports that he feels normal and reports that he
> understands. His surgeon programmed all p-neurons such that
> he would pass the TT and report healthy intentionality,
> including but not limited to p-neurons in Wernicke's area.
> This is why the experiment considers *partial* replacement.
> Even before the operation Cram is not a zombie: despite not
> understanding language he can see, hear, feel, recognise people and
> objects, understand that he is sick in hospital with a stroke, and
> he certainly knows that he is conscious. After the operation he has the
> same feelings, but in addition he is pleased to find that he
> now understands what people say to him, just as he remembers
> before the stroke. 

I think that after the initial operation he becomes a complete basket-case requiring remedial surgery, and that in the end he becomes a philosophical zombie or something very close to one. If his surgeon has experience then he becomes a zombie or near zombie on day one. 



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