by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Saturday, July 07, 2018, 04:09 (157 days ago) @ David Turell

I think perhaps this discussion could use a dose of computing knowledge.

If we consider the body, including the brain, to be a machine of sorts, with a vast array of sensors, signal processing software, a hard disk for long term data storage, RAM (short term memory), an internal power supply, and a fully kinematic frame that allows the external world to be explored and manipulated, then we must also consider how the composition of that machine will impact how the sensory signals are processed and interpreted, and how that would impact the decisions the user would make.

As importantly, the User Interface design, which includes all the many facets of the brains design, would also impact how the end user could interact with the machine. It is the combination in each of these elements that give humans their variety of experience and perspective. They are literally receiving the same stimuli differently, pre-processing it differently, processing it differently, post-processing it differently, storing it differently, and accessing it differently.

It's been proven that neural wiring differences (dopamine response and grey matter thickness) lead to introverted and extroverted personality types. Imagine having one computer that was good at abstract problem solving, a task that uses up a lot of CPU time, versus one that was good at real-time reaction and logic. The hardware would be different, the capabilities would be different, the response times would be different. Yet, the user only gets the machine they get. There are no exchanges. Like any good game, the user can increase certain attributes through activity (training, learning, eating, etc), and also like any good game, some attributes could not be altered. The machine is wired the way it is wired and built the way it is built.

All of this analogy is but a preface to asking two questions: In what ways would the wiring of the machine shape the end user experience? And, what predictive power does this line of thought offer, that it might be verified instead of merely endlessly speculated upon?

Could we tell, perhaps by use annual brain scans, what psychological disorders a person may either be struggling with or susceptible to? Could we council individuals, pointing them to more fulfilling roles in society? Could we analyse the wiring and response of the machine during early infancy in order to identify strengths and weakness that could be encouraged to flourish or protected against?

How could this argument enrich humanity? What are the pitfalls of it? Would following this thinking to its logical conclusion ultimately lead to a dystopian caste society that discriminates from birth based on the machine wiring? (And in truth, this DOES happen in some ways) I've watched David and DHW dance around this topic in various forms for several years now. I've seen a lot of 'we can never know..' type statements, which, unfortunately is not really true. In an abstract sense it is, but in a practical sense it is not. We can test for everything I've talked about here. We have the technology. So to the extent that it can be known for certain (And I acknowledge there are limits) we can test for it.

You two are brilliant debaters and your debates have raised very interesting questions over the years that have viable venues for research. It would be great to get some research scientists, or perhaps current college professors in on these discussions? You never know how a question asked in innocence or spite can change the world.

What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

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