Greg, Dave, Maugi88, all...you guys are wonderful. You expend so much effort to understand what another writes, and you respond with such courtesy!
I very much appreciate all three of you explaining to me how the complexity of the brain is of a different type and superior to the complexity found in computing. That is an important piece for me to now reassess everything.
Greg, you wrote "programmers figured out totally non-human ways of calculating the moves". That comment gets to the heart of my question about whether or not it is a fruitful way for people seeking AI, singularity, whatever-its-called. You words seem to indicate that, at least as regards chess, the most fruitful path has been to do something which bears no relationship to, and has no interest in determing, how the human brain goes about doing things. I simply wonder if the same chess-like path will be used to attempt to get machines to be indistinguishable in their communications from human communications and second, be used in the attempt to reach singularity/AI.
If the response to this last question is "yes", then the truly interesting question, posed by Burke, Hogben, Arendt in three different eras, is if such an accomplishment occurs, does this accomplishment actually indicate a machine-intelligence accomplishment or a reduction of human beings to machine like tastes, interests, sensitivities? So, Dave, your sense is correct. If this forum were free to go into political, philosophical, theological issues, there is a great deal of more and other things I would like to discuss and get feedback concerning the political, social, and moral ramifications of personhood. I find those the most interesting questions. It is this Burke/Hogben/Arendt assertion I find very interesting.
But, permit me, all of you to ask a question about Greg's (your) last post. I refer to "The question of whether something is a person is like the question of whether it is a citizen. You could study its behavior or dissect it, until you knew its structure in great detail, yet never discover whether it was a citizen. It's obvious why. The status of being a citizen is not something emerges from the intrinsic nature of a thing, but is rather conferred upon certain favored individuals by others. <P> Will computers or aliens ever be human or conscious or self-aware? They will be if we come to so regard them. These are statuses which we may bestow on them or not. To know the answer, we'd have to know more about our own cultural future. It will be up to us."
When I read that, I swear what I am understanding is that you are saying that "person" and "personhood" are not actual things like "this computer in front of me" and "the apples I pare" and "the words I am now typing". What I understand you to be saying is that the designation of "person" is a social convention. I understand you to be taking the tact of philosophical nominalism, that the word "person" is simply a word which corresponds to no actual thing other than what convention decides.
So, simply, Greg....am I understanding you correctly?