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 'The Rise of the Machines' - definitely one for you, Auditor#9

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PostSubject: 'The Rise of the Machines' - definitely one for you, Auditor#9   Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:40 am

By RICHARD DOOLING

Published: October 11, 2008


“BEWARE of geeks bearing formulas.” So saith Warren Buffett, the Wizard of Omaha. Words to bear in mind as we bail out banks and buy up mortgages and tweak interest rates and nothing, nothing seems to make any difference on Wall Street or Main Street. Years ago, Mr. Buffett called derivatives “weapons of financial mass destruction” — an apt metaphor considering that the Manhattan Project’s math and physics geeks bearing formulas brought us the original weapon of mass destruction, at Trinity in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.

In a 1981 documentary called “The Day After Trinity,” Freeman Dyson, a reigning gray eminence of math and theoretical physics, as well as an ardent proponent of nuclear disarmament, described the seductive power that brought us the ability to create atomic energy out of nothing.

“I have felt it myself,” he warned. “The glitter of nuclear weapons. It is irresistible if you come to them as a scientist. To feel it’s there in your hands, to release this energy that fuels the stars, to let it do your bidding. To perform these miracles, to lift a million tons of rock into the sky. It is something that gives people an illusion of illimitable power, and it is, in some ways, responsible for all our troubles — this, what you might call technical arrogance, that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds.”

The Wall Street geeks, the quantitative analysts (“quants”) and masters of “algo trading” probably felt the same irresistible lure of “illimitable power” when they discovered “evolutionary algorithms” that allowed them to create vast empires of wealth by deriving the dependence structures of portfolio credit derivatives.

What does that mean? You’ll never know. Over and over again, financial experts and wonkish talking heads endeavor to explain these mysterious, “toxic” financial instruments to us lay folk. Over and over, they ignobly fail, because we all know that no one understands credit default obligations and derivatives, except perhaps Mr. Buffett and the computers who created them.

Somehow the genius quants — the best and brightest geeks Wall Street firms could buy — fed $1 trillion in subprime mortgage debt into their supercomputers, added some derivatives, massaged the arrangements with computer algorithms and — poof! — created $62 trillion in imaginary wealth. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine that all of that imaginary wealth is locked up somewhere inside the computers, and that we humans, led by the silverback males of the financial world, Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson, are frantically beseeching the monolith for answers. Or maybe we are lost in space, with Dave the astronaut pleading, “Open the bank vault doors, Hal.”

As the current financial crisis spreads (like a computer virus) on the earth’s nervous system (the Internet), it’s worth asking if we have somehow managed to colossally outsmart ourselves using computers. After all, the Wall Street titans loved swaps and derivatives because they were totally unregulated by humans. That left nobody but the machines in charge.

How fitting then, that almost 30 years after Freeman Dyson described the almost unspeakable urges of the nuclear geeks creating illimitable energy out of equations, his son, George Dyson, has written an essay (published at Edge.org) warning about a different strain of technical arrogance that has brought the entire planet to the brink of financial destruction. George Dyson is an historian of technology and the author of “Darwin Among the Machines,” a book that warned us a decade ago that it was only a matter of time before technology out-evolves us and takes over.

His new essay — “Economic Dis-Equilibrium: Can You Have Your House and Spend It Too?” — begins with a history of “stock,” originally a stick of hazel, willow or alder wood, inscribed with notches indicating monetary amounts and dates. When funds were transferred, the stick was split into identical halves — with one side going to the depositor and the other to the party safeguarding the money — and represented proof positive that gold had been deposited somewhere to back it up. That was good enough for 600 years, until we decided that we needed more speed and efficiency.

Making money, it seems, is all about the velocity of moving it around, so that it can exist in Hong Kong one moment and Wall Street a split second later. “The unlimited replication of information is generally a public good,” George Dyson writes. “The problem starts, as the current crisis demonstrates, when unregulated replication is applied to money itself. Highly complex computer-generated financial instruments (known as derivatives) are being produced, not from natural factors of production or other goods, but purely from other financial instruments.”

It was easy enough for us humans to understand a stick or a dollar bill when it was backed by something tangible somewhere, but only computers can understand and derive a correlation structure from observed collateralized debt obligation tranche spreads. Which leads us to the next question: Just how much of the world’s financial stability now lies in the “hands” of computerized trading algorithms?

Here’s a frightening party trick that I learned from the futurist Ray Kurzweil. Read this excerpt and then I’ll tell you who wrote it:

But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines’ decisions. ... Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won’t be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.

Brace yourself. It comes from the Unabomber’s manifesto.

Yes, Theodore Kaczinski was a homicidal psychopath and a paranoid kook, but he was also a bloodhound when it came to scenting all of the horrors technology holds in store for us. Hence his mission to kill technologists before machines commenced what he believed would be their inevitable reign of terror.

We are living, we have long been told, in the Information Age. Yet now we are faced with the sickening suspicion that technology has run ahead of us. Man is a fire-stealing animal, and we can’t help building machines and machine intelligences, even if, from time to time, we use them not only to outsmart ourselves but to bring us right up to the doorstep of Doom.

We are still fearful, superstitious and all-too-human creatures. At times, we forget the magnitude of the havoc we can wreak by off-loading our minds onto super-intelligent machines, that is, until they run away from us, like mad sorcerers’ apprentices, and drag us up to the precipice for a look down into the abyss.

As the financial experts all over the world use machines to unwind Gordian knots of financial arrangements so complex that only machines can make — “derive” — and trade them, we have to wonder: Are we living in a bad sci-fi movie? Is the Matrix made of credit default swaps?

When Treasury Secretary Paulson (looking very much like a frightened primate) came to Congress seeking an emergency loan, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, a Democrat still living on his family homestead, asked him: “I’m a dirt farmer. Why do we have one week to determine that $700 billion has to be appropriated or this country’s financial system goes down the pipes?”

“Well, sir,” Mr. Paulson could well have responded, “the computers have demanded it.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/opinion/12dooling.html?pagewanted=2&sq=richard%
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PostSubject: Re: 'The Rise of the Machines' - definitely one for you, Auditor#9   Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:24 pm

a derivative is an instrument that derives its value from an underlying asset, liability, transaction.
such as a swap of a floating rate for a fixed rate on a,say Eur1m 6mth term loan/deposit.

a greek (name for a delta, gamma or other type of derivative) is an instrument that derives its value from a move in value of a plain vanilla derivative (such as the example in my para above).

derivatives continue up or down levels (depending on your point of view!) almost into infinity.

conceptually, i can understand and value derivatives up to the greeks. beyond that and i used to rely on programs that worked like the enigma machines in WWII. you slotted in your variables and uploaded yield curves and out popped a valuation. i couldn't tell whether a value of $1 or $1,000,000 was reasonable and only relied on trend analysis to see if it remained relatively constant.

there is more than a grain of truth in the above article. great post aragon!
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PostSubject: Re: 'The Rise of the Machines' - definitely one for you, Auditor#9   Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:17 pm

zakalwe wrote:
a derivative is an instrument that derives its value from an underlying asset, liability, transaction.
such as a swap of a floating rate for a fixed rate on a,say Eur1m 6mth term loan/deposit.

a greek (name for a delta, gamma or other type of derivative) is an instrument that derives its value from a move in value of a plain vanilla derivative (such as the example in my para above).

derivatives continue up or down levels (depending on your point of view!) almost into infinity.

conceptually, i can understand and value derivatives up to the greeks. beyond that and i used to rely on programs that worked like the enigma machines in WWII. you slotted in your variables and uploaded yield curves and out popped a valuation. i couldn't tell whether a value of $1 or $1,000,000 was reasonable and only relied on trend analysis to see if it remained relatively constant.

there is more than a grain of truth in the above article. great post aragon!

Cheers Z - 'The Greatest Crime..' thread has a link to a radio interview with a guy called Bill Burrell - a highly experienced economist with an extraordinarily varied career in finance/stockbroking etc. Anyway, he talks about a phenomenon called 'dematerialisation' which, if I understand it rightly, came about ultimately as a consequence of decoupling the dollar from the gold standard. It's the point at which reality crosses over the matrix into the fantasy world of speculators and made it possible for brokers to sell shares that didn't exist - shares which were nothing more than notions on computers - sent round and round without every having to prove themselves on paper or in money, until they did. Which is what is happening now to the tune of trillions of dollars.
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PostSubject: Re: 'The Rise of the Machines' - definitely one for you, Auditor#9   Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:25 pm

Aragon wrote:
zakalwe wrote:
a derivative is an instrument that derives its value from an underlying asset, liability, transaction.
such as a swap of a floating rate for a fixed rate on a,say Eur1m 6mth term loan/deposit.

a greek (name for a delta, gamma or other type of derivative) is an instrument that derives its value from a move in value of a plain vanilla derivative (such as the example in my para above).

derivatives continue up or down levels (depending on your point of view!) almost into infinity.

conceptually, i can understand and value derivatives up to the greeks. beyond that and i used to rely on programs that worked like the enigma machines in WWII. you slotted in your variables and uploaded yield curves and out popped a valuation. i couldn't tell whether a value of $1 or $1,000,000 was reasonable and only relied on trend analysis to see if it remained relatively constant.

there is more than a grain of truth in the above article. great post aragon!

Cheers Z - 'The Greatest Crime..' thread has a link to a radio interview with a guy called Bill Burrell - a highly experienced economist with an extraordinarily varied career in finance/stockbroking etc. Anyway, he talks about a phenomenon called 'dematerialisation' which, if I understand it rightly, came about ultimately as a consequence of decoupling the dollar from the gold standard. It's the point at which reality crosses over the matrix into the fantasy world of speculators and made it possible for brokers to sell shares that didn't exist - shares which were nothing more than notions on computers - sent round and round without every having to prove themselves on paper or in money, until they did. Which is what is happening now to the tune of trillions of dollars.

indeed, thats an interesting idea. i posted a question on another thread whether the volicity of money now (set at the speed of the processor unit on the pc) will impact this recession in a worse way that the velocity of money in 1929 was quite slow. i.e. contagion spreads quicker across industries and regions.

i would like to see a law/regulation brought in where securities lending (i.e. short selling etc) must send paper share certs by registered post/courier to institutions looking to borrow shares short term. this security burden and the physical transfer of shares would force the pihrana hedge funds to look after those shares better as they have physical custody of them while in temporary ownership.
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PostSubject: Re: 'The Rise of the Machines' - definitely one for you, Auditor#9   Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:45 pm

zakalwe wrote:
Aragon wrote:
zakalwe wrote:
a derivative is an instrument that derives its value from an underlying asset, liability, transaction.
such as a swap of a floating rate for a fixed rate on a,say Eur1m 6mth term loan/deposit.

a greek (name for a delta, gamma or other type of derivative) is an instrument that derives its value from a move in value of a plain vanilla derivative (such as the example in my para above).

derivatives continue up or down levels (depending on your point of view!) almost into infinity.

conceptually, i can understand and value derivatives up to the greeks. beyond that and i used to rely on programs that worked like the enigma machines in WWII. you slotted in your variables and uploaded yield curves and out popped a valuation. i couldn't tell whether a value of $1 or $1,000,000 was reasonable and only relied on trend analysis to see if it remained relatively constant.

there is more than a grain of truth in the above article. great post aragon!

Cheers Z - 'The Greatest Crime..' thread has a link to a radio interview with a guy called Bill Burrell - a highly experienced economist with an extraordinarily varied career in finance/stockbroking etc. Anyway, he talks about a phenomenon called 'dematerialisation' which, if I understand it rightly, came about ultimately as a consequence of decoupling the dollar from the gold standard. It's the point at which reality crosses over the matrix into the fantasy world of speculators and made it possible for brokers to sell shares that didn't exist - shares which were nothing more than notions on computers - sent round and round without every having to prove themselves on paper or in money, until they did. Which is what is happening now to the tune of trillions of dollars.

indeed, thats an interesting idea. i posted a question on another thread whether the volicity of money now (set at the speed of the processor unit on the pc) will impact this recession in a worse way that the velocity of money in 1929 was quite slow. i.e. contagion spreads quicker across industries and regions.

i would like to see a law/regulation brought in where securities lending (i.e. short selling etc) must send paper share certs by registered post/courier to institutions looking to borrow shares short term. this security burden and the physical transfer of shares would force the pihrana hedge funds to look after those shares better as they have physical custody of them while in temporary ownership.

Again, as a novice to the world of the financial markets, something like this did happen in Europe. The powers that be saw what was happening and unlike in the US they insisted that short sold shares had to be proved on paper within 3 days. That halted the slide here to some extent but a lot of damage had already been done - and of course the property shite was ongoing. In the US I believe sellers were allowed something like 18 days - which was sufficient time for them to both sell non-existent shares from the stocks of medium sized companies and then - in a pre-planned strike - mount savage media attacks through complicit journalists on the same companies so that their listed values plummetted and they went broke. Shares in the company would then be declared penny stocks and there was no requirement for proof of what shares had been sold thereafter. Meanwhile a fortune had been made by selling the debt-assett of the shares onwards so someone elese was carrying the can - very often to other companies that had no idea their brokers/investment analysts had foisted this 'toxic stock' on them. Burrell says that approximately 33,000 companies in the US have been needlessly and ruthlessly destroyed over 20/30 years in this way.
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PostSubject: Re: 'The Rise of the Machines' - definitely one for you, Auditor#9   Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:05 pm

Aragon wrote:
zakalwe wrote:
Aragon wrote:
zakalwe wrote:
a derivative is an instrument that derives its value from an underlying asset, liability, transaction.
such as a swap of a floating rate for a fixed rate on a,say Eur1m 6mth term loan/deposit.

a greek (name for a delta, gamma or other type of derivative) is an instrument that derives its value from a move in value of a plain vanilla derivative (such as the example in my para above).

derivatives continue up or down levels (depending on your point of view!) almost into infinity.

conceptually, i can understand and value derivatives up to the greeks. beyond that and i used to rely on programs that worked like the enigma machines in WWII. you slotted in your variables and uploaded yield curves and out popped a valuation. i couldn't tell whether a value of $1 or $1,000,000 was reasonable and only relied on trend analysis to see if it remained relatively constant.

there is more than a grain of truth in the above article. great post aragon!

Cheers Z - 'The Greatest Crime..' thread has a link to a radio interview with a guy called Bill Burrell - a highly experienced economist with an extraordinarily varied career in finance/stockbroking etc. Anyway, he talks about a phenomenon called 'dematerialisation' which, if I understand it rightly, came about ultimately as a consequence of decoupling the dollar from the gold standard. It's the point at which reality crosses over the matrix into the fantasy world of speculators and made it possible for brokers to sell shares that didn't exist - shares which were nothing more than notions on computers - sent round and round without every having to prove themselves on paper or in money, until they did. Which is what is happening now to the tune of trillions of dollars.

indeed, thats an interesting idea. i posted a question on another thread whether the volicity of money now (set at the speed of the processor unit on the pc) will impact this recession in a worse way that the velocity of money in 1929 was quite slow. i.e. contagion spreads quicker across industries and regions.

i would like to see a law/regulation brought in where securities lending (i.e. short selling etc) must send paper share certs by registered post/courier to institutions looking to borrow shares short term. this security burden and the physical transfer of shares would force the pihrana hedge funds to look after those shares better as they have physical custody of them while in temporary ownership.

Again, as a novice to the world of the financial markets, something like this did happen in Europe. The powers that be saw what was happening and unlike in the US they insisted that short sold shares had to be proved on paper within 3 days. That halted the slide here to some extent but a lot of damage had already been done - and of course the property shite was ongoing. In the US I believe sellers were allowed something like 18 days - which was sufficient time for them to both sell non-existent shares from the stocks of medium sized companies and then - in a pre-planned strike - mount savage media attacks through complicit journalists on the same companies so that their listed values plummetted and they went broke. Shares in the company would then be declared penny stocks and there was no requirement for proof of what shares had been sold thereafter. Meanwhile a fortune had been made by selling the debt-assett of the shares onwards so someone elese was carrying the can - very often to other companies that had no idea their brokers/investment analysts had foisted this 'toxic stock' on them. Burrell says that approximately 33,000 companies in the US have been needlessly and ruthlessly destroyed over 20/30 years in this way.

say you are a shareholder, chances are your shares are held by compushare. you should demand your share certs as the broker cannot lend out shares for which it has no certs.

there may be a case where brokers (who you pay money in fees/margins etc to look after your shares) are acting against the interests of their clients as when they lend the shares (without the knowledge of the owners) to hedge funds who use the shares to short sell, they are destroying the value of the investment they are contracted to look after.
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PostSubject: Re: 'The Rise of the Machines' - definitely one for you, Auditor#9   Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:56 pm

This should be a central thread in Machine Nation indeed! Machines and money.

I love the idea of the King's stick as money - the King of England would make a long stick with corrugated teeth in it and then split the stick exactly down the middle making two identical halves (watch the Money Masters if you want to get the official history) and he would keep one side in case of counterfeit. The stick given out to the business people and merchants and all that would be cut up into smaller lengths and used as individual bonds or chunks of money. All the time it would still be possible to take a piece of the stick - maybe a matchbox sized piece - and compare it to the side of the stick the King had under his bed or in his Vault.

It's a very simple piece of technology and apparently lasted 600 years. (?) Where he stored rakes of sticks and the logistics and practicality of proving them not counterfeit must have been some headache though. Still, Gold itself was never seen after some point - there was just promises to pay and the Gold merchant or banker minded your gold for you.

Begs some questions alright - how the feck do we value stuff, where's the worth stored and my god isn't there some social contract of trust around money now even in the tumultuous mess around in the money markets these days?

Still, hard fiat currency is the smallest part of the total currency in circulation I'm told - the M1, M2, M3 business. Most money is electronic.

Which means that money really means sweet feck all and money and currency movements are all built on Social Trust, the Mechanical Power of Machine Production and the Magnanimity of the Planet. I think.

Thus we rely really and truly on these things and if any of them fail we're focked because there are too many people around now to go low-tech all of a sudden - if oil suddenly evaporated for example. As long as the planet's weather systems and food-production capacities stay intact then we're alright too. Trust seems to be going the way of all flesh though.
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PostSubject: Re: 'The Rise of the Machines' - definitely one for you, Auditor#9   Wed Oct 15, 2008 9:03 pm

It is all a juggling act, with far too many balls in the air at once. We've all seen what can happen. bounce affraid
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PostSubject: Re: 'The Rise of the Machines' - definitely one for you, Auditor#9   Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:10 am

Another angle:

Quote :
By Peter Cochrane

"Written in Helsinki Airport, edited in Shrivenham and despatched from my home on a new wi-fi signal (with a default setting) that appeared from nowhere, and it just seemed like fun to see if it would work

Throughout my professional career it seems that nothing much has upset people more than the threat of a machine that outsmarts them. Just recently a well-known figure in the industry proposed that 2019 will see a supercomputer that will be more powerful and capable than us. Nothing new here, I happen to think it more likely by 2015!

But right on cue there have been a slew of rebuttals from people in the industry and those outside. The most ludicrous of these takes a line that creativity is absolutely unique to the human mind and even god given. Well, we'll see soon enough!

If we do absolutely nothing to engineer it, a form of machine intelligence will most likely spontaneously emerge of its own volition.
This is one of those debating arenas that really isn't worth venturing into. The reality is we cannot define, describe, quantify or measure intelligence or creativity in any meaningful way. Ergo, it is impossible to have any useful conversation on the topic!

Witness all the worthless verbiage written about man, machine and chess. The reality is that machines play a much better game of chess than we do. Here, it has been 'game over' for some years. Before that it was elevators, engine management and stock market trading etc! So what?

Right now the web is about equivalent to a single human brain on a node count and connectivity basis. But patently there isn't a direct equivalence! Sure the web stores and knows more than a single person or group of humans but it is purely mechanistic and certainly not creative. Hey, when did you last see a purely mechanistic human who wasn't creative?

The key difference between the human species and technology seems to be the speed of progress. Whist we are still evolving (very slowly) we have most likely reached an intelligence peak due to various physical factors. Our technology on the other hand continues to race ahead. Most likely we will see human equivalence surpassed time and again in quick succession. In my estimation it will go something like this:

2006 internet ~ 1 human brain
2012 internet ~ 1,000 human brains
2018 internet ~ 1,000,000 human brains
2024 internet ~ 1,000,000,000 human brains
2034 internet ~ 1,000,000,000,000 human brains

So will we be under any real threat by 2012? Probably not! But 2018 may be another matter for several reasons. First, we will have deployed a significant number of sensors on the periphery of the net - and a sensory capability exceeds computing power and memory capacity in the intelligence and creativity equations. Second, sufficient quantities of our hardware and software will probably have become independently adaptable enough to combine and connect to create a sentient presence.

Now a few lines to really upset the naysayer! If we do absolutely nothing to engineer it, a form of machine intelligence will most likely spontaneously emerge of its own volition. Further, we may see the eruption of multiple life-forms by the same unaided mechanism.

I don't think of the web as a machine, or a mere network or system, I see it as a new form of ecosystem capable of supporting many new species above and beyond us. It is already alive with viruses and other forms of parasite that echo the much earlier history of carbon life. So why not life and intelligence as well?

To my mind, the really important questions are about us and not the machine/s. Specifically, will we smart enough to...


Recognise any new life forms that emerge?
Recognise any new life intelligence that emerges?
Work and live symbiotically with whatever emerges?
Use wisely the power of future machines and networks?
Employ their abilities to enhance our own?
Create the sustainable environments to service all forms of life and intelligence?

A senior political figure recently stated: "The creativity of the human mind will always be superior to the most powerful computers." We'll see! This may or may not turn out to be correct - we just don't know yet, it all remains a matter of opinion. But on the evidence to date I think we should 'never say never', it seems a surefire way to get egg on our face. And as our technology accelerates, I just see an awful lot more egg being made available.

People see intelligent machines and robots as a direct and potential threat in the near and far future. Myself, I worry about people - they appear to be far more malevolent and threatening, especially in regard to the way they employ machines! I just hope I can make it to 2018 or 2024 to see!"

Peter Cochrane is an engineer, scientist, entrepreneur, futurist and consultant. He is the former CTO and Head of Research at BT, with a career in telecoms and IT spanning over 40 years. Peter has also held a number of prominent academic positions including the UK's first Professor for the public Understanding of Science and Technology. For more about Peter, see www.cochrane.org.uk.
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PostSubject: Re: 'The Rise of the Machines' - definitely one for you, Auditor#9   Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:22 pm

I don't know if we will ever have Artificial Intelligence like exists in the Sci-Fi but it is likely that we will have very complex systems with sensors everywhere which can weigh up information and make decisions not beyond human comprehension but beyond our ability because of the speed at which computers can operate (chess programs, traffic light systems in a city). The decisions computers make - the financial stuff in your first example for example - are based on rules put in by people and the decision of the computer is only as good as that original rule so computers in themselves cannot be seen as inherently good or bad - they are tools and as an ice pick can be used for preparing chunks of ice for your whiskey it can also be used for other purposes.

A computer system cannot obviously make 'intuitive' decisions and judgements; it cannot make 'gut' choices because it does not have any guts. As much as the connections in our computer systems equate to the number of connections in our brains even exceed them, there can be no such depth of quality in an electronic system as exists in a biological one because computers do not have guts and systems with guts and nerves make decisions based on pleasure and pain and other irrational criteria that are ultimately based on the irregularity of tissues, the imperfection of memories, the identifying of ourselves with our consciousness.

I'll argue that electronic systems, however complex can never approach the uniquesness of biological systems because of the emotiional imperfections which exist in biological systems and in some cases, the awareness of the mortality of the system by itself.

edit
And the H.A.L. 9000 computer must stop being villified from here on out - he was lied to and couldn't make an appropriate decision so he went psycho and killed all the crew. Here is the piece in 2010: A Space Odyssey (unfortunately it's in eye tallan)

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PostSubject: Re: 'The Rise of the Machines' - definitely one for you, Auditor#9   Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:33 pm

I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.

HAL

Others - http://www.palantir.net/2001/sounds.html
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