As I noted in another post, I have a hunch that monastic tools (specifically the intensive meditation and other mental training that monasteries afford) will play a vital role in steering the course of technology in decades to come.
For example, in fields of genetics and cognitive, neuro-, computer, and information science—folks who are working on artificial intelligence and human enhancement—it will be the scientists and engineers who have dealt significantly with their own consciousness who will have the first, best answers to questions like:
- what is life?
- what is awareness?
- is artificial intelligence the same thing as artificial consciousness?
- does artificial consciousness require a body?
- does compassion require a mortal body?
Canadian futurist George Dvorsky at Sentient Developments points to a paper by David Chalmers who has tackled the embodiment question:
[08/22/10 Edit: replaced “it is my intuition” with “I have a hunch”]
A popular argument against uploads and whole brain emulation is that consciousness is somehow rooted in the physical, biological realm. Back in 1995, philosopher David Chalmers addressed this problem in his seminal paper, “Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia.” His abstract reads,
It is widely accepted that conscious experience has a physical basis. That is, the properties of experience (phenomenal properties, or qualia) systematically depend on physical properties according to some lawful relation.