A Guide to Awakening a Robotic Mind


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A Guide to Awakening a Robotic Mind

Peter

March 11, 2008

Pick the Brain blog

From the article:

There seems to be an increasing trend towards what I call "robotic" (or "mechanical") thinking. This is a type of thinking that leads people to jump to conclusions, make claims to universal truth, and depend upon simplistic explanations of complex realities.

The opposite of a robotic mind is an open and critical mind. This is where we are curious, questioning, flexible, and willing to consider a wide range of possibilities in dealing with a question or problem. And this approach lets us make judgements, choices and decisions for ourselves, instead of letting others do it on our behalf.

I highly recommend reading the entire article (it is short), but this guy Peter defines three characteristics of a robotic mind:

1. Unwillingness to ask questions

A telling sign of a robotic mind is an unwillingness to ask questions. I see two major problems with this:

1. A tendency to jump to conclusions

2. Automatic acceptance of information (eg the news) "as if" or "as presented"

. . .

2. An inability or unwillingness to consider alternatives

An intelligent and open mind should be able to consider a wide range of possibilities in dealing with a question or problem. Why? Because, put simply, things aren't always as they first appear.

. . .

3. Dependence on simplistic explanations of complex realities

As I said at the start of this article, we live in a complex world. A person who fails to ask questions and refuses to consider alternatives is very likely to exhibit dependence on, and adherence to, very simplistic explanations of what are actually quite complex realities.

I put this in "Chewing on Ideas" because, if there is one weakness in the formal Objectivist world, it is the proliferation of people who jump to conclusions, do not examine the issue correctly, etc., i.e., robotic minds.

This goes for both true-believers and fanatical critics. And, as the article states, varying shades of gray. For these people, the philosophy is merely a prop to validate their way of being, which was in place long before reading Rand.

I loved Peter's observation that taking into account a wide range of possibilities "lets us make judgements, choices and decisions for ourselves, instead of letting others do it on our behalf." This really resonates within me, as I am ardently devoted to the responsibility and privilege of independent thinking.

But then, living robots don't have such issues. They are intellectually dead as individuals.

Michael

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I saw the dancer going both ways (not at the same time though). I did a little blink trick, the same trick I use for the Necker Cube. Look at one way it is an insy, look again it it an outsy. The visual cues are ambiguous which is why one can see the dancer turn in either direction. The third way is to see the image as a changing projection in which there is no turning motion. That one is a little harder to do.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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