From: Gwern Branwen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Oct 07 2008 - 17:49:40 MDT
On 2008.10.06 20:12:24 -0700, Robin Lee Powell <email@example.com> scribbled 1.1K characters:
> On Sun, Sep 16, 2007 at 09:02:36PM -0500, Damien Broderick wrote:
> > At 03:02 PM 9/16/2007 -0700, Jef wrote:
> >> > >"intelligence is not a survival trait". It wasn't crucial to
> >> > >the story, but it is difficult to argue against.
> >> >
> >> > It's displayed impressively in Peter Watts' novel BLINDSIGHT,
> >> > which is strongly recommended.
> >> In that story, I think it was self-awareness, rather than
> >> intelligence, that was presented as non-essential to survival.
> > Yer right. The intelligence, though, was distributed to such an
> > extent that it looked rather as one imagines the insides of one's
> > own head might seem to someone able to watch the little mindless
> > Calvinesque processors at work.
> I ended up reading Blindsight on the basis of this discussion; it
> didn't work for me as much as the Shaper/Mechanist stuff, precisely
> because in Blindsight the issue was self-awareness, as noted above.
> I just wanted to mention that it was my impression that the aliens
> were *individually* intelligent, but not self-aware. One of the
> humans commented that it would even be possible to develop a theory
> of mind without self-awareness.
Well, it's not just 'possible'; Watts's usual research appendix (online at <http://www.rifters.com/real/Blindsight.htm>) lists at least 2 books on the topic.
I'm currently reading one of them, _Being No One_, since he enthused about it more. Is it good or convincing? Dunno, I'm having a terribly hard time understanding it at all.
-- gwern loch ISACA FB-111A Razor INS - CCSS Compsec eternity KGB
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