[ExI] "Animal-monitoring modules"?

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Fri Sep 28 15:23:00 UTC 2007

[Re-send with non-trivial correction.]

On 9/28/07, Josh Cowan <jcowan5 at sympatico.ca> wrote:
> The article pointed out that modern humans were better able to spot
> animals that had been moved than Minivans that had been moved. Jef,  do
> you think the test would come out equal for a human that had never seen
> a minivan (or modern technology) and therefore assumed the minivan had
> intention?

Yes, that was my point.  I included the example of "spirits" to
emphasize the strong human tendency to perceive intention, even where
it's not.

As an aside, it might be interesting to consider the
ramifications of intentional threats being of a higher order, "more
leveraged", than "natural" threats in the environment and what that
might imply in terms of cognitive priorities.  Are humans, in general,
more biased relative to the more fundamental threats of nature, or the
more leveraged threats of intentional agents?  It's a mix, but it
seems to me that at this stage of human development our **social**
instincts are tending toward increasing dominance of our attention and
resulting actions.

Now, can we reasonably extend this trend, such that with increasing
awareness (technologically amplified) of ourselves and our
interactions with increasingly intentional "other", attention and
choice become concerned predominately with the rewards of effective
positive-sum interaction and the risks of being left out?

- Jef

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