Sunday, January 30, 2011

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Around Simulation II - Simulating Empathy and Subjective Experience

Quoting "Jennifer Kanary Nikolov\(a\)" <>:

Simon wrote:

> "To claim we do have the capacity to simulate things is to assume we have
> knowledge of them we most likely do not possess. This would seem 
> arrogant in the
> extreme. Further to this, a simulation is only a knowledge
> modelling  activity.
> Even where we do have enough information about something to build 
> what seems to
> be a useful and functional simulation it does not mean we have made 
> an accurate
> copy of something. It is only as accurate as we are able to test its accuracy
> and that testing is constrained by what we know. Even the best 
> simulations are
> likely to be incomplete or even erroneous in their conception. To assume
> otherwise is to consider oneself to have complete and irrefutable 
> knowledge of
> something. That does not seem like good (sceptical) science or philosophy. It
> starts to sound like arrogant dogma."

Jennifer replies:

> I do not think it is arrogant dogma, when it seems that the Universe might
> indeed be a quantum computer, it would mean, that we would need to 
> take our own
> first person experiences seriously. Something that Chalmers, Clark, 
> Varela, and
> all, are fighting for. It is problematic of science to not take first person
> methods seriously. Perhaps it is why artists are so often involved in these
> discussions.

It would be a difficult and a hard problem to accurate and reliably
simulate things
[senses, mind, etc.] at this point in time.  Progress in this area is
exponential and not
linear.  In this instance Simon more accurate than wrong.  However, I
was taken aback by
Simon's comment which suggests artists' works interested in mind
simulation is not
scientific. Contrarily it may indeed be stemming from critical
inquiry, based on the
exponentiality of technological futures.  It is vastly necessary and
important to
question our reference  material and to be skeptical of our research
as we explore
possibilities for artistic expression.  But suggesting is it arrogant
as a fait accompli
makes me wonder if it is an ideological interpretation of simulation,
presently and/or
its future potential.

Jennifer, Clark is a fine example of someone who ardently looks for scientific
credibility. I would also put Anders Sandberg, Ben Goertzel, Robert
Freitas, Randal
Koene, Suzanne Gildert and others in this category.  As for artists in
the area of mind
transfer and/or copying, I cannot speak for others, but my research is
deeply linked to
scientific realism and historical efforts by McCulloch, Von Foerster,
Minsky, etc. alert
us to continue exploring and investigation possibilities for
brain-computer interaction.
And this area continues to develop and the domain of simulation is an
integral aspect of
where mind may be headed when we consider computational simulations.

Again, we are not there yet, and to assume so would be arrogant. But
to limit ourselves
by today's technologies and scientific reasoning would be parochial.

All my best,

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