Re: Mindless Thought Experiments

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Tue Mar 04 2008 - 22:00:56 MST

Matt writes

> Lee Corbin wrote:
>> What I was saying is that *your* own morality, e.g. the answers you would
>> provide to morally challenging questions, depends utterly on the experiences
>> you expect others to have.
>> This is obvious. For example, if you could prevent extreme pain from
>> afflicting one of two creatures of your acquaintance, and you are having
>> a hard time deciding, the question is immediately resolved were you
>> to learn the truth that one was a robot incapable of sensation.
>> > There is no test to tell whether something has experiences or just
>> > expresses belief in experience.
>> Yes. But there will still be a fact of the matter, whether or not we are
>> able to learn it.
> The fact is that experience doesn't exist. Of course you will disagree. So
> will the robot.

"Experience doesn't exist"? You mean to say that you don't have an
experience right now of sitting in front of a monitor? That you have
not the experience of reading an email or watching TV? You mean to
say that the experience of skiing down a slope doesn't exist? You
are using the word in a way that I've never heard before.

Whether a robot has an experience depends on its complexity. We
can safely say that the very nice robots the Japanese have recently
built have no experiences, any more than a car has experiences.
(Granted, at some level, it may be argued that everything has
experiences, but those of ants, viruses, and stones are infinitesimally

Eventually robots could have "inner lives" as complex as ours or more,
when one day they have enough intelligence/consciousness.


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