[ExI] Wrestling with Embodiment

Ben Zaiboc bbenzai at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 27 13:38:40 UTC 2012

natasha at natasha.cc wrote:

>    Quoting Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se>:
> > On 25/01/2012 14:02, Natasha Vita-More wrote:
>    I was referring to chemical matter not
> computation vis a vis machines.
> > The fact that one could replace chemistry or tendon
> elasticity with an
> > equivalent digital circuit (at least in my
> functionalist philosophy...
> > that not every transhumanist buys!) doesn't mean they
> are irrelevant.
>    Of course, but this is not what I was
> referring to.? Why does it  
> have to be about the machine?? Is human-machine absolute??
> Is there  
> not another possible way in which the brain and its
> functioning could  
> be?expanded/extended that does not rely exculsive on
> computational  
> codes??

I don't understand this.  Life is computation.  Thought is computation.

Up to now, this has been done on machines made of protein, water, lipids, etc., but we are now contemplating making equivalent machines, able to do equivalent (at least) computations with other kinds of materials, and with greater understanding of the processes involved.

Everything that processes information is 'about the machine'.  Not only is there no getting away from that, the very idea of information processing without /some/ form of machinery is incoherent.

Stephano's remark about cognition not having to be embodied (at least I think that was what he was saying) is really the same issue.  All information-processing must be embodied, in some form.  There is no such thing as information on its own (except as a concept, which is a form of information-processing itself, and must be embodied).  Just /how/ it is embodied is one of the issues that we constantly discuss.  Some people think it doesn't really matter if the embodiment is in electronic circuits, optronics, beer cans and string, magnetic fields, etc., and some think it can only be in tiny bags of wet chemicals.  Some think it can be in any software system that's capable of building models of other physical systems, like a brain emulation.  But that software has to run on some kind of hardware, always.  Even if it's purely in the form of patterns of energy (if that's possible), it's still embodiment of information.

Machines, embodiment, without them there is nothing.

Ben Zaiboc

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