The Solow Paradox

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

The Internet (with a different name) became public property - with access granted torepparttar chosen few.

Radio took precisely this course. Radio transmissions started inrepparttar 133583 USA in 1920. Those were anarchic broadcasts with no discernible regularity. Non commercial organizations and not for profit organizations began their own broadcasts and even created radio broadcasting infrastructure (albeit ofrepparttar 133584 cheap and local kind) dedicated to their audiences. Trade unions, certain educational institutions and religious groups commenced "public radio" broadcasts.

This is followed byrepparttar 133585 Commercial Phase.

Whenrepparttar 133586 users (e.g., listeners inrepparttar 133587 case ofrepparttar 133588 radio, or owners of PCs and modems inrepparttar 133589 example ofrepparttar 133590 Internet) reach a critical mass -repparttar 133591 business sector is alerted. Inrepparttar 133592 name of capitalist ideology (another religion, really) it demands "privatization" ofrepparttar 133593 medium. This harps on very sensitive strings in every Western soul :repparttar 133594 efficient allocation of resources which isrepparttar 133595 result of competition; corruption and inefficiency which are naturally associated withrepparttar 133596 public sector ("Other People’s Money" - OPM);repparttar 133597 ulterior motives of members ofrepparttar 133598 ruling political echelons (the infamous American Paranoia); a lack of variety and of catering torepparttar 133599 tastes and interests of certain audiences;repparttar 133600 equation private enterprise = democracy and more.

The end result isrepparttar 133601 same :repparttar 133602 private sector takes overrepparttar 133603 medium from "below" (makes offers torepparttar 133604 owners or operators ofrepparttar 133605 medium - that they cannot possibly refuse) - or from "above" (successful lobbying inrepparttar 133606 corridors of power leads torepparttar 133607 appropriate legislation andrepparttar 133608 medium is "privatized").

Every privatization - especially that of a medium - provokes public opposition. There are (usually founded) suspicions thatrepparttar 133609 interests ofrepparttar 133610 public were compromised and sacrificed onrepparttar 133611 altar of commercialization and rating. Fears of monopolization and cartelization ofrepparttar 133612 medium are evoked - and justified, in due time. Otherwise, there is fear ofrepparttar 133613 concentration of control ofrepparttar 133614 medium in a few hands. All these things do happen - butrepparttar 133615 pace is so slow thatrepparttar 133616 initial fears are forgotten and public attention reverts to fresher issues.

A new Communications Act was legislated inrepparttar 133617 USA in 1934. It was meant to transform radio frequencies into a national resource to be sold torepparttar 133618 private sector which will use it to transmit radio signals to receivers. In other words :repparttar 133619 radio was passed on to private and commercial hands. Public radio was doomed to be marginalized.

The American administration withdrew from its last major involvement inrepparttar 133620 Internet in April 1995, whenrepparttar 133621 NSF ceased to finance some ofrepparttar 133622 networks and, thus, privatized its hitherto heavy involvement inrepparttar 133623 net.

A new Communications Act was legislated in 1996. It permitted "organized anarchy". It allowed media operators to invade each other’s territories.

Phone companies will be allowed to transmit video and cable companies will be allowed to transmit telephony, for instance. This is all phased over a long period of time - still, it is a revolution whose magnitude is difficult to gauge and whose consequences defy imagination. It carries an equally momentous price tag - official censorship. "Voluntary censorship", to be sure, somewhat toothless standardization and enforcement authorities, to be sure - still, a censorship with its own institutions to boot. The private sector reacted by threatening litigation - but, beneathrepparttar 133624 surface it is caving in to pressure and temptation, constructing its own censorship codes both inrepparttar 133625 cable and inrepparttar 133626 internet media.

The third phase is Institutionalization.

It is characterized by enhanced activities of legislation. Legislators, on all levels, discoverrepparttar 133627 medium and lurch at it passionately. Resources which were considered "free", suddenly are transformed to "national treasures not to be dispensed with cheaply, casually and with frivolity".

It is conceivable that certain parts ofrepparttar 133628 Internet will be "nationalized" (for instance, inrepparttar 133629 form of a licensing requirement) and tendered torepparttar 133630 private sector. Legislation will be enacted which will deal with permitted and disallowed content (obscenity ? incitement ? racial or gender bias ?)

No medium inrepparttar 133631 USA (not to mentionrepparttar 133632 wide world) has eschewed such legislation. There are sure to be demands to allocate time (or space, or software, or content, or hardware, or bandwidth) to "minorities", to "public affairs", to "community business". This is a tax thatrepparttar 133633 business sector will have to pay to fend offrepparttar 133634 eager legislator and his nuisance value.

All this is bound to lead to a monopolization of hosts and servers. The important broadcast channels will diminish in number and be subjected to severe content restrictions. Sites which will not succumb to these requirements - will be deleted or neutralized. Content guidelines (euphemism for censorship) exist, even as we write, in all major content providers (CompuServe, AOL, Prodigy).

The last, determining, phase is The Bloodbath.

This isrepparttar 133635 phase of consolidation. The number of players is severely reduced. The number of browser types will be limited to 2-3 (Netscape, Microsoft and which else ?). Networks will merge to form privately owned mega-networks. Servers will merge to form hyper-servers run on supercomputers. The number of ISPs will be considerably diminished.

50 companies ruledrepparttar 133636 greater part ofrepparttar 133637 media markets inrepparttar 133638 USA in 1983. The number in 1995 was 18. Atrepparttar 133639 end ofrepparttar 133640 century they will number 6.

This isrepparttar 133641 stage when companies - fighting for financial survival - strive to acquire as many users/listeners/viewers as possible. The programming is shallowed torepparttar 133642 lowest (and widest) common denominator. Shallow programming dominates as long asrepparttar 133643 bloodbath proceeds.

In hindsight, 20 years hence, we might come to understand that computers improved our capacity to do things differently and more productively. But one thing is fast becoming clear. The added benefits of IT are highly sensitive to and dependent upon historical, psychosocial and economic parameters outsiderepparttar 133644 perimeter ofrepparttar 133645 technology itself. When it is introduced, how it is introduced, for which purposes is it put to use and even by who it was introduced - largely determinerepparttar 133646 costs of its introduction and, therefore, its feasibility and contribution torepparttar 133647 enhancement of productivity. The CEE countries better take note.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and

Visit Sam's Web site at

The Chinese Room Revisited

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Consciousness, mental states, intelligence are transferable and can be stored and conferred. Pregnancy is a process of conferring intelligence. The book of instructions is stored in our genetic material. We pass on this book to our off spring. The decoding and unfolding ofrepparttar book are what we callrepparttar 133582 embryonic phases. Intelligence, therefore, can (and is) passed on (in this case, throughrepparttar 133583 genetic material, in other words: through hardware).

We can identify an emitter (or transmitter) of mental states and a receiver of mental states (equipped with an independent copy of a book of instructions). The receiver can be passive (as television is). In such a case we will not be justified in saying that it is "intelligent" or has a mental life. But – if it possessesrepparttar 133584 codes andrepparttar 133585 instructions – it could make independent use ofrepparttar 133586 data, process it, decide upon it, pass it on, mutate it, transform it, react to it. Inrepparttar 133587 latter case we will not be justified in saying thatrepparttar 133588 receiver does NOT possess intelligence or mental states. Again,repparttar 133589 source,repparttar 133590 trigger ofrepparttar 133591 mental states are irrelevant. What is relevant is to establish thatrepparttar 133592 receiver has a copy ofrepparttar 133593 intelligence or ofrepparttar 133594 other mental states ofrepparttar 133595 agent (the transmitter). If so, then it is intelligent in its own right and has a mental life of its own.

Mustrepparttar 133596 source be point-like, an identifiable unit? Not necessarily. A programmer is a point-like source of intelligence (inrepparttar 133597 case of a computer). A parent is a point-like source of mental states (inrepparttar 133598 case of his child). But other sources are conceivable.

For instance, we could think about mental states as emergent. Each part of an entity might not demonstrate them. A neurone cell inrepparttar 133599 brain has no mental states of it own. But when a population of such parts crosses a quantitatively critical threshold – an epiphenomenon occurs. When many neurones are interlinked –repparttar 133600 results are mental states and intelligence. The quantitative critical mass – happens also to be an important qualitative threshold.

Imagine a Chinese Gymnasium instead of a Chinese Room. Instead of one English speaker – there is a multitude of them. Each English speaker isrepparttar 133601 equivalent of a neurone. Altogether, they constitute a brain. Searle says that if one English speaker does not understand Chinese, it would be ridiculous to assume that a multitude of English speakers would. But reality shows that this is exactly what will happen. A single molecule of gas has no temperature or pressure. A mass of them – does. Where didrepparttar 133602 temperature and pressure come from? Not from any single molecule – so we are forced to believe that both these qualities emerged. Temperature and pressure (inrepparttar 133603 case of gas molecules), thinking (inrepparttar 133604 case of neurones) – are emergent phenomena.

All we can say is that there seems to be an emergent source of mental states. As an embryo develops, it is only when it crosses a certain quantitative threshold (number of differentiated cells) – that he begins to demonstrate mental states. The source is not clear – butrepparttar 133605 locus is. The residence ofrepparttar 133606 mental states is always known – whetherrepparttar 133607 source is point-like and identifiable, or diffusely emerges as an epiphenomenon.

It is because we can say very little aboutrepparttar 133608 source of mental states – and a lot about their locus, that we developed an observer bias. It is much easier to observe mental states in their locus – because they create behaviour. By observing behaviour – we deducerepparttar 133609 existence of mental states. The alternative is solipsism (or religious panpsychism, or mere belief). The dichotomy is clear and painful: either we, as observers, cannot recognize mental states, in principle – or, we can recognize them only through their products.

Consider a comatose person. Does he have a mental life going on? Comatose people have been known to have reawakened inrepparttar 133610 past. So, we know that they are alive in more thanrepparttar 133611 limited physiological sense. But, while still, do they have a mental life of any sort?

We cannot know. This means that inrepparttar 133612 absence of observables (behaviour, communication) – we cannot be certain that mental states exist. This does not mean that mental states ARE those observables (a common fallacy). This says nothing aboutrepparttar 133613 substance of mental states. This statement is confined to our measurements and observations and to their limitations. Yet,repparttar 133614 Chinese Room purports to say something aboutrepparttar 133615 black box that we call "mental states". It says that we can know (prove or refute)repparttar 133616 existence of a TRUE mental state – as distinct from a simulated one. That, despite appearances, we can tell a "real" mental state apart from its copy. Confusingrepparttar 133617 source ofrepparttar 133618 intelligence with its locus is atrepparttar 133619 bottom of this thought experiment. It is conceivable to have an intelligent entity with mental states – that derives (or derived) its intelligence and mental states from a point-like source or acquired these properties in an emergent, epiphenomenal way. The identity ofrepparttar 133620 source andrepparttar 133621 process through whichrepparttar 133622 mental states were acquired are irrelevant. To say thatrepparttar 133623 entity is not intelligent (the computer,repparttar 133624 English speaker) because it got its intelligence fromrepparttar 133625 outside (the programmer) – is like saying that someone is not rich because he got his millions fromrepparttar 133626 national lottery.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and

Visit Sam's Web site at

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