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August 06, 2003

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Paul Ford's Ftrain is in full effect and from it I ended up at Nova Spivack's Minding the Planet, wherein she asks the musical question Do You Like This Blog? Help Me Spread It Like a Virus!... If you like this blog - help me spread it like a virus to... [Read More]

Comments

omadeon

Mr. Spivack, I agree wholeheartedly; also agree with the "bet" you made about the future 50 years ahead, that no computer at that time will be conscious.

I make this comment rather... late, of course (more than 2 years later) but this issue is extremely important and completely beyond time. I happen to be an agnostic with strong Buddhist and pantheistic leanings, and also a professional in A.I. - so my agreement with your views is NOT a result of dogma or religious affiliations.

Reading what you think is delightful, since your views are exactly similar to my own... heretical views, expressed many years ago when I was a student of Computer Science and A.I.

There is other reasons I write this, however.

1) Firstly, to remind you of the "Laws of Form" philosophy (which you most probably already know), which is compatible with your views as well as useful in Math and Science.
2) Secondly, to propose that there is a very deep difference between intelligence and consciousness: Intelligence can be totally artificial and also very high, without any actual consciousness.

As regards the second issue, once upon a time I wrote a small essay, explaining it:
http://omadeon.com/writings/intelligence_and_consciousness.html

I will discuss and promote your views further in my blog, as well:
http://omadeon.wordpress.com

Wishing all the best for your innovative ventures, and a happy new year 2008,
George A. Stathis ("omadeon")

Tony's Brother, Jim

Indeed.

"Awareness itself
is primordial
pre-existing cognizance;
Self-existing wakefulness."

Thank you Lao Tzu for that concise summary.

Tony Eldon

The analogy of consciousness being like electricity is interesting. That would make it in some sense a byproduct of, or phenomena associated with, matter, in which case the entire universe could be conscious because some part of the universe is made of matter. 3% of it, at least, according to current understanding. The movements of the stars and galaxies would presumably then be correlated with, or would be the physical functions related to, the large scale conscious thought processes of the universe. So far so good. I'm not sure how we'd ever communicate with such a thing, but metaphysicians assure us that it's not difficult and I agree. The related issue concerns input/output functions that relate to consciousness. Our human consciousness by your definition seems to be linked directly to our sensory organs which collect radiation from outside and inside and shunt it into the brain. Optical, temperature, and sound pressure data from both the external surroundings and from the human container itself (eg, skin) all contribute to our conscious awareness of ourselves. That being the case, what would be the sensory organs of the universe? What would the IO function be? Could a consciousness exist without an IO function the way we understand ourselves?

More perplexing still, if matter such as our bodies really does comprise only 3% of the whole universe, then is it not possible that matter, human existence, and human consciousness are all merely frothy artifacts floating on the sea of ultimate reality, and are hence merely amusing mistakes? These questions bother me periodically. Today was one of those days, hence my comments.

Very best regards,

Tony

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Nova's Trip to Edge of Space

  • Stepsedgestratosphere
    In 1999 I flew to the edge of space with the Russian air force, with Space Adventures. I made it to an altitude of just under 100,000 feet and flew at Mach 3 in a Mig-25 piloted by one of Russia's best test-pilots. These pics were taken by Space Adventures from similar flights to mine. I didn't take digital stills -- I got the whole flight on digital video, which was featured on the Discovery Channel.

Nova & Friends, Training For Space...

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    In 1999 I was invited to Russia as a guest of the Russian Space Agency to participate in zero-gravity training on an Ilyushin-76 parabolic flight training aircraft. It was really fun!!!! Among other people on that adventure were Peter Diamandis (founder of the X-Prize and Zero-G Corporation), Bijal Trivedi (a good friend of mine, science journalist), and "Lord British" (creator of the Ultima games). Here are some pictures from that trip...

People I Like

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    Peter F. Drucker was my grandfather. He was one of my principal teachers and inspirations all my life. My many talks with him really got me interested in organizations and society. He had one of the most impressive minds I've ever encountered. He died in 2005 at age 95. Here is what I wrote about his death. His foundation is at http://www.pfdf.org/
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    Mayer Spivack is my father; he's a brilliant inventor, cognitive scientist, sculptor, designer and therapist. He also builds carbon fiber trimarans in his spare time, and studies animal intelligence. He is working on several theories related to the origins of violence and ways to prevent it, new treatments for learning disabilities, and new theories of cognition. He doesn't have a Web site yet, but I'm working on him...
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    Marin Spivack is my brother. He is the one of the only western 20th generation lineage holders of the original Chen Family Tai Chi tradition in China. He's been practicing Tai Chi for about 6 to 10 hours a day for the last 10 years and is now one of the best and most qualified Tai Chi teachers in America. He just returned from 3 years in China studying privately with a direct descendant of the original Chen family that created Tai Chi. The styles that he teaches are mainly secret and are not known or taught in the USA. One thing is for sure, this is not your grandmother's Tai Chi: This is serious combat Tai Chi -- the original, authentic Tai Chi, not the "new age" form that is taught in the USA -- it's intense, physically-demanding, fast, powerful and extremely deadly. If you are serious about Tai Chi and want to learn the authentic style and applications, the way it was meant to be, you should study with my brother. He's located in Boston these days but also travels when invited to teach master classes.
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    Kathleen Spivack is my mother. She's a poet, novelist and creative writing teacher. She was a personal student of Robert Lowell and was in the same group of poets with Silvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop and Anne Sexton. She coaches novelists, playwrites and poets in France and the USA. She teaches privately and her students, as well as being published, have won many of the top writing prizes.
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    Adam Cohen is a long-term friend; we were roommates in college. He is a really talented composer and film-scorer. He doesn't have a Web site but I like him anyway! He's in Hollywood living the dream.
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