Aaron Sloman – Machines in the Ghost

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 by Stefan Kohlhauser

Aaron Sloman

Aaron Sloman

This paper summarises a subset of the ideas I have been working on over the last 35 years or so, about relations betweenthe study of natural minds and the design of artificial minds, and the requirements for both sorts of minds. The key idea is that natural minds are information-processing machines produced by evolution. What sort of information processing machine a human mind is requires much detailed investigation of the many kinds of things minds can do. In particular, it is not clear whether producing artificial minds with similar powers will require new kinds of computing machinery or merely much faster and bigger computers than we have now. Insofar as psychotherapy is analogous to run-time debugging of a virtual machine, in order to do good psychotherapy we need to understand the architecture of the machine well enough to know what sorts of bugs can develop and which ones can be removed, or have their impact reduced, and how. Otherwise treatment will be a hit-and-miss affair.

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