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By Keith E. Stanovich

The concept that we would be robots isn't any longer the stuff of technological know-how fiction; many years of analysis in evolutionary biology and cognitive technology have led many esteemed scientists to the belief that, in line with the precepts of common Darwinism, people are in basic terms the hosts for 2 replicators (genes and memes) that experience no real interest in us other than as conduits for replication. Richard Dawkins, for instance, jolted us Read more...

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Fodor’s point about there being a speed advantage for processes that do not have to “make up their minds” is captured in the epigram from playwright Michael Frayn that headed this section (“Swerve left? Swerve right? ”). Certain situations in the world demand a quick response even at the risk of less than complete processing. 8 The internal operations of TASS yield no conscious experience, although their products might. Another connotation of the term autonomous that will be important for my discussion is that TASS processes go on in parallel (with each other and with analytic processing) and that they require no analytic system input.

The first step in the robot’s rebellion, then, is to learn how to properly value the vehicle and to stop behaviors and cultural practices that implicitly value our genes over ourselves. If we focus on the vehicle itself—put it front and center—it immediately becomes apparent that a vehicle in which selfregard has developed has no reason to value reproductive success above any other of the goals in its hierarchy. But one can easily see how a mistaken focus on reproductive success can come about.

Mandatory, 3. domain specific, 4. informationally encapsulated, 5. cognitively impenetrable, 6. subserved by specific neural architecture, 7. subject to idiosyncratic pathological breakdown, and 8. ontogenetically deterministic (undergo a fixed developmental sequence). Properties 6 to 8 follow from Fodor’s (1983) emphasis on innately specified modules. However, they are not part of my conceptualization of TASS because, although innate modules are an important part of TASS, my conceptualization deems it equally important that processes can become part of TASS through experience and practice.

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