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25 October 2002 @ 08:33 am
Thought for today  
A common concept of the soul is that the essence of a self lies in some spark of invisible light, a thing that cowers out of body, out of mind, and out of sight. But what might such a symbol mean? It carries a sense of ant-self-respect: that there is no significance in anyone's accomplishments.
People ask if machines can have souls. And I ask whether souls can learn. It does not seem a fair exchange -- if souls can live for endless time and yet not use that time to learn -- to trade all change for changelessness. And that's exactly what we get with inborn souls that cannot grow: a destiny the same as death, an ending in a permanence incapable of any change and, hence, devoid of intellect.

-Marvin Minsky The Society of Mind