Bryan Caplan  

Two More Hanson Posts

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1. Hanson replies to my claims about his Tautological Fallacy.

2. The top two results for the Name Robin's Creatures survey are Sentients and Intelligent Agents.  Background: Robin initially did a small Facebook survey.  The top two choices were Agents and Intelligences.  I bet Robin $50 at 2:1 in my favor that a larger, broader survey would put at least one different answer in the top two.  Upshot: Robin owes me $100.  If I were him, I'd probably just settle on Sentients.  While I'd quibble with the philosophical overtones, using the word "Sentients" will spare his readers a lot of pointless confusion.


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COMMENTS (5 to date)
Norman writes:

I personally really liked Turings.

MikeP writes:

I chose 'sentient' before seeing the poll options. I was glad to see it there.

Unless you're trying to coin a cute new word, it's pretty much the obvious choice.

Daniel Klein writes:

Here is a passage from The Theory of Moral Sentiments that might be of interest:

"Men are naturally led to ascribe to those mysterious beings, whatever they are, which happen, in any country, to be the objects of religious fear, all their own sentiments and passions. They have no other, they can conceive no other to ascribe to them. Those unknown intelligences which they imagine but see not, must necessarily be formed with some sort of resemblance to those intelligences of which they have experience."

Peter writes:

Why would we want a name for those things? We include humans but not animals. We include uploaded AI copies of both humans and animals. It seems like a weird asymmetry.

Or did I miss something?

MikeP writes:

Or did I miss something?

Uploaded animals won't have rights ...unless someone changes them to make them sentient.

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