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August 06, 2003



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:

I will discuss and promote your views further in my blog, as well:

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

Tony's Brother, Jim


"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,


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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...


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