Thursday, November 17, 2011

Free Will again

Yet another NYTimes article about Free Will.

There are 15 pages of comments for this article and I'm just too damn lazy to go through them all and see if anybody else saw a huge problem with this assertion by Eddy Namias:
Our brains are the most complexly organized things in the known universe, just the sort of thing that could eventually make sense of why each of us is unique, why we are conscious creatures and why humans have abilities to comprehend, converse, and create that go well beyond the precursors of these abilities in other animals. Neuroscientific discoveries over the next century will uncover how consciousness and thinking work the way they do because our complex brains work the way they do.
Our brains are the most complexly organized things in the known universe? According to whom - our brains? I mean he didn't even say "organic" or "living" - just "things." Since a thing can be defined as anything - a black hole, the Internet, human culture (which could include brains as a sub-set); the ecosystem - which could also include brains as a sub-set), it seems very easy to dispute

Apparently this claim is a very popular one, enough to be disputed on Snopes. I'd never heard this claim before, nor had I ever heard of The Singularity before. That is:
Many of the most recognized writers on the singularity, such as Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, define the concept in terms of the technological creation of superintelligence, and argue that it is difficult or impossible for present-day humans to predict what a post-singularity world would be like, due to the difficulty of imagining the intentions and capabilities of superintelligent entities.