Thomas C. Greene on cyborg metaphysics

via The Register

In a nutshell, I say that it’s impossible to manufacture an AI which will compete equally with human intelligence. The elusive quality which human thought possesses, and which an AI can’t possess, is something I call ‘irrational insight’. Note the modified noun ‘insight’. I’m not talking about irrationality per se. ‘Insight’ implies, and deliberately so, the qualities of pertinence and consistency.

And the cherry on the cake is this quote, aimed at Stephen Hawking’s advocacy of endowing AI with biological properties and ourselves with mechanical ones:

He [Hawking] deserved a severe rebuke for saying what he said. But if he actually believes it, then the little shit deserves to be hanged.


  1. A human’s “soul”(i.e. irrational insight) cannot be analyzed, dissected, put into formula and (this would be a nightmare..)cloned. Until the day THAT happens, AI’s will remain just that…Artificial Intelligence. It is the soul’s intangible substance that makes us “human”.Greene is right.

  2. Yeah, man. Everyone knows that a clone ain’t got no soul.

    Nor a robot apparently.

  3. It would make a great science fiction story,though, wouldn’t it? What IF… a few hundred years from now, they discover the formula of the now intangible “soul”? Frightening thought,isn’t it?….

  4. You’re joking, right? “a human soul cannot be analyzed, dissected..”
    First of all, we all know there’s no such thing as a soul. Why are people bringing it up?

  5. No. You know there’s no human soul. The rest of us have our own opinion on the matter.

  6. 1)You may want to reconsider your conclusions about what you or anyone “knows” about the “soul”. If you have a science background, or at least high school physics, then you “know” that energy cannot be created…or destroyed. An examination of current theories of quantum physics may be a fruitful undertaking for you.
    2)Calling Stephen Hawkings a “little shit” for having an opinion you disagree with (much less proposing to hang him..) speaks volumes about the state of your awareness – that is, awareness of who/what Hawkings is and represents, and in general, the nature of objective reality. The man has conquered conditions that would cause most people to curl up in a fetal position and die – much less being a productive, proactive genius and educator. Until you can boast that, your “opinion” is probably better kept to yourself.

  7. You may want to direct your scorn to the actual person who wrote the copy.

  8. I thought that was implied…It was a “response” to the quote by Green above, as well as the followup comment by “a person”.

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