AI won't be conscious, and here is why (A reply to Susan Schneider)
Metaphysical Speculations
by Bernardo Kastrup
3w ago
I have just participated—literally 10 minutes ago as I write these words—in an online debate organized by the IAI, in which Donald Hoffman, Susan Schneider and I discussed the possibility that computers become conscious in the future, with the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI). My position is that they won’t. Susan’s position is that they very well may, and Don’s position is that this isn’t the right question to ask. If you watched the debate live, you know that, at the very end, I wanted to reply to a point made by Susan but couldn’t, since we ran out of time. The goal of this es ..read more
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The silver lining of a terrible year
Metaphysical Speculations
by Bernardo Kastrup
1M ago
I don't recall ever feeling so consistently angry and frustrated, for so long, as I have felt in 2022. I thought large-scale war was a 20th century thing, but here we are again, with large parts of Europe gutted by criminal, unjustified, heinous warfare. I have been having a very hard time contemplating this desecration of our continent and the brutalisation of one of our peoples with equanimity. I feel angry from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep. I also feel betrayed by a country and a people I used to love, and secretly still do; a country that now openly calls me a satanic ..read more
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Free speech must have limits, lest democracy is doomed
Metaphysical Speculations
by Bernardo Kastrup
2M ago
Since Elon Musk's chaotic takeover of Twitter, influential voices have called for a form of "free-speech absolutism," a term coined by Musk himself. Influential podcaster Lex Fridman, for instance, recently tweeted: "Trump is back. Freedom of speech in action." The idea here is that we must have the right to say just about anything we want, and that no crime can be committed by speech alone. Patrick Brauckmann went as far as to state to me, publicly, that "Freedom of speech does include & mean the freedom to call for the end of freedom" (my emphasis). In other words, our beloved fre ..read more
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Why the West needs Ukraine
Metaphysical Speculations
by Bernardo Kastrup
3M ago
With the geopolitical discourse in the West revolving around how much Ukraine needs our weapons and economic support, it becomes increasingly clear to me that the other half of this relationship is just as pressing, just as urgent, and just as vital: the West's very survival may depend on what Ukraine is inadvertently teaching us. This may sound counterintuitive at first, but it's compelling once you see it. The world today is almost incommensurable with what it was only three years ago, prior to the pandemic's start. Back then, globalisation was taken for granted; Russia and China were so e ..read more
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Identity: the hysteria of both the left and the right
Metaphysical Speculations
by Bernardo Kastrup
4M ago
  Identity has become a contentious topic on both sides of the political and social divide in Western societies. Much of the contention arises from completely irrational, hysterical straw-manning of the other side's positions and intentions, giving rise to a situation in which both sides are, by and large, fighting self-invented ghosts. And although there surely are a few toxic people on both sides, who truly take extreme and unacceptable positions, they are just that: a few individuals who aren't representative of any significant social group. In this essay, I'll try to address the topic ..read more
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A critical juncture for the West
Metaphysical Speculations
by Bernardo Kastrup
4M ago
As the Kremlin takes the major step of national mobilisation to fight a war of aggression against a nascent Western democracy, and once again repeats nuclear threats against the West as a whole, it would seem that our values and way of life are under threat from an outside actor. And sure enough, we are threatened. But the biggest threat we face at this perilous and delicate historical juncture is not external. Vladimir Putin is a mouse in comparison to what threatens our way of life from within, ostensibly in the name of our very Western values. Before I begin elaborating on what I hav ..read more
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Hallucinated Implications Creep (HIC): A bane of our time
Metaphysical Speculations
by Bernardo Kastrup
9M ago
  Let me invite you to a thought experiment that you can conduct in the privacy of your own mind. Carefully observe your own inner reaction to the following statement of mine, which truthfully reflects my opinion on the matter: Donald Trump is a pathologically narcissistic, dangerously manipulative, clinically psychopathic and conspicuously unintelligent individual whose sole priority is himself, and who has no scruples about lying through his teeth so to deceive and use millions of people for the sole sake of his own personal agenda. I've chosen my words so to deliberately evoke a str ..read more
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Dear Russians: An open letter
Metaphysical Speculations
by Bernardo Kastrup
9M ago
Dear Russians, On this day of remembrance, I want to share some thoughts with you as someone who has always not only respected and admired you as a people and a culture, but also loved you. Russia has been an enormous part of my life since I was 23 years-old. I know you more intimately than most of my peers in the West. You are very dear to me, and very close to my heart. There is little doubt in my mind, as a Westerner, that NATO's expansion towards the borders of your country, over the past couple of decades, has been unnecessary—given the examples of Sweden and Finland, who are safe, pros ..read more
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Fake News and all, the West isn't Russia (or China)
Metaphysical Speculations
by Bernardo Kastrup
9M ago
There is a pernicious and false kind of equivalence I often hear some people try to establish: that democracies are no better than totalitarian regimes and their propaganda, for in the West, too, people are manipulated by the media through fake news and the like. These same people also often claim that journalism is dead and, therefore, social media and amateur citizen journalism are as legitimate a source of news as professional news channels. In making these assertions, people start from true and concerning observations, but then proceed to insufficiently justified generalizations (the "Ha ..read more
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Evil abstraction: the psychology of totalitarism
Metaphysical Speculations
by Bernardo Kastrup
10M ago
How do we begin to make sense of the mentality of a person, even an entire political regime, that equates complete annihilation with 'liberation'? How do we make sense of an attempt to save and protect a people by raping, torturing, massacring and utterly destroying this people? Are these claims to 'liberation' and 'protection' just cynical public relations messaging meant to mask good-old economic interests, or is the essence of the situation a lot more complex, involved and nuanced than that? And what do these claims reveal about totalitarism as a form of government? Many philosophers ha ..read more
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