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 >modeling 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.

I 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

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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