Re: Free Will not an illusion

From: Phillip Huggan (
Date: Wed Dec 21 2005 - 13:45:24 MST

I never said from the perspective of the multiverse, that a human decision is more significant than other quantum events (unless humans decide one day to spawn off their own "universes"). Bad news for you: some level of weird physics is responsible for consciousness. Our very perception of consciousness is proof that some form of
spooky physical effects are at play, though not necessarily the quantum-mechanical hypothesis I've advanced. To really believe the Strong-AI position that consciousness is nothing more than computation is absurd. It suggests an abacus is sentient to some degree and that I can make people from lego sets.
    The "ego" you are referring to is derived from brain matter. If this brain matter is referenced before a decision is to be made, free-will emerges to some degree. I don't think anyone on this list is presently advocating creating a conscious with "introspection" as you describe it. And if so, you'd need more than legos or circuit boards (as they are presently engineered) to build it; you'd have to invoke some of that weird physics we discovered 90 years ago. AGI is a non-sentient computer program. I'm not defending free-will because it is comforting. I'm defending it because if an AGI attempts to create a higher standard-of-living for us humans and the physics of free-will happens to be a cornerstone of what makes us happy/prosperous, the AGI better damn well understand how to preserve the spooky physics of neuronal firing patterns in our brains that reference our ego centers before synchronizing. I think *narcisism* defines the concept of unbounded potential for the ego.
  Free-will is choice. You don't have to choose to be a god and physics will stand in your way anyways.
Joseph Schilz <> wrote:
  You can think of free will in a couple of different ways. To me, the
words free will represent the concept of unbounded potential for the
ego. It's not merely the notion that you make decisions, it's the
concept that decisions are even possible, or that a human decision is
a more significant event than playing a game of Plinko(think Price is
Right). I think that this is generally what is meant by free will,
and I believe that it is the most significant interpretation.

Of course, few here would argue that such a notion should be upheld.
Unless you believe in weird physics, and furthermore that those weird
physics are /you/, it's absurd to argue that the ego--not the
faculties in the brain that produce it, but the ego itself, if you
catch my connotations--performs any decisions. Resolving to accept
this completely, however, is tantamount to insanity, not to mention a
bit ironic.

So, in order to preserve this comforting illusion of control, an
alternative definition of free will has been offered. This is the
notion that though our actions are ultimately out of our control, that
thing which we call ourselves is capable of a much finer presence and
thought due to its introspective nature.

Just as it is absurd to support the first notion of free will, it's
just as absurd to argue against the second.

In the context of this list, my questions become:
How might we create an intelligence endowed with the second property,
while we,
avoid a clouded pursuit of the first.

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