Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 14th Nov 2011 21:32 UTC, submitted by cristoper
Apple It's no secret OSNews has a bit of a thing for the BeOS. I can only speak for myself, obviously, but relatively speaking, BeOS was the best operating system ever made. The man who started all this was Jean-Louis Gassee, former executive at Apple, who founded Be, Inc. in 1991. In the second half of the '90s, Apple was looking for a replacement for its heavily outdated Mac OS, after several failed attempts at developing its own - it came down to Steve Jobs NeXT, or BeOS. Be didn't make it, and Gassee is happier for it.
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RE[6]: Software Souls
by Hexadecima on Tue 15th Nov 2011 14:33 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Software Souls"
Hexadecima
Member since:
2010-09-01

Actually no they don't. Facts need to be rationalised, however opinions can be based on complete ignorance (and often are) and still be perfectly valid as an opinion.


No. The emotions must come from somewhere.

It's often hard to explain emotion.

For example, I recently got engaged. If you asked me why I love this woman, then I could probably list off a whole load of properties that she exhibits. However if you asked why I "chose" her as opposed to similar other women demonstrating similar traits, well then I wouldn't be able to rationalise what drew me to her the most.


This is a very heavy-handed attempt at copping out, but it's wrong at several levels:

1. Humans are not hard-wired to fall in love with operating systems, so the comparison does not hold.
2. Even this hard-wiring has an exhaustively rational basis, consisting of the "whole load of properties" you mentioned, combined with many you may not be aware of (which arise from how she influences your behaviour), combined with the instinctive drive to mate and its chemical effects.
3. By bringing up a human relationship you risk (or are deliberately trying to) making this an unapproachable topic, based on the cultural perception that love is precious and unchallengeable. Please don't do that in the future.

The fact is, and by their very nature, emotions are irrational and unscientific. So the moment you start reading terms like "soul" to describe an object or software, you have to take those opinions as an unscientific, emotional judgement.


Emotions are exhaustively rational and scientific and have very specific bases. I can list them off to you if you want. The fact is that every oxytocin cascade must have a neurological trigger caused by a combination of stimuli, and every stimulus must come from somewhere. If you say "I have nostalgia for the Commodore 64 because it reminds me of the time I spent with my dead relative," then that's a rationally justified, scientifically explainable emotion. If you say "I love BeOS because it alone amongst software has a soul," then you have failed at basic introspection, and have an obligation to the reader to explain this extreme claim.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[7]: Software Souls
by Laurence on Tue 15th Nov 2011 15:17 in reply to "RE[6]: Software Souls"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26


No. The emotions must come from somewhere.

They come from interconnecting neuro-pathways beased upon a life time of experiences. There's also a degree genetic make up at play and also a degree of chance (right place at the right time). Thus emotions are often far too complicated for us to rationalise.


This is a very heavy-handed attempt at copping out, but it's wrong at several levels:

1. Humans are not hard-wired to fall in love with operating systems, so the comparison does not hold.

Actually it does still apply because the same neuro process happens for our tastes in clothes, music and other non-human artefacts as does for our choice in partners. The only difference is you don't get the same hormonal response so have sex with a TShirt

2. Even this hard-wiring has an exhaustively rational basis, consisting of the "whole load of properties" you mentioned, combined with many you may not be aware of (which arise from how she influences your behaviour), combined with the instinctive drive to mate and its chemical effects.

Which is often then too complex to rationalise.

3. By bringing up a human relationship you risk (or are deliberately trying to) making this an unapproachable topic, based on the cultural perception that love is precious and unchallengeable. Please don't do that in the future.

To be honest I think you're the one being deliberate obtuse. While human emotions must, at their very core, obey scientific laws, that doesn't mean that the end result is far more complicated than the average human can mentally decompile (which is also the reason why psychiatrists earn such a good wage)


Emotions are exhaustively rational and scientific and have very specific bases. I can list them off to you if you want. The fact is that every oxytocin cascade must have a neurological trigger caused by a combination of stimuli, and every stimulus must come from somewhere. If you say "I have nostalgia for the Commodore 64 because it reminds me of the time I spent with my dead relative," then that's a rationally justified, scientifically explainable emotion. If you say "I love BeOS because it alone amongst software has a soul," then you have failed at basic introspection, and have an obligation to the reader to explain this extreme claim.

Pretty much as above but with 1 addition:
You're assuming that the individual is aware of the connection; this isn't always the case. Have you ever had a smell that gave you a familiar feeling but you can't remember why? Or a memory that you can only half remember? Sometimes we make connections that we are unable to consciously self-diagnose.

Edited 2011-11-15 15:30 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: Software Souls
by Hexadecima on Tue 15th Nov 2011 21:55 in reply to "RE[7]: Software Souls"
Hexadecima Member since:
2010-09-01

You're assuming that the individual is aware of the connection; this isn't always the case. Have you ever had a smell that gave you a familiar feeling but you can't remember why? Or a memory that you can only half remember? Sometimes we make connections that we are unable to consciously self-diagnose.


Not remembering a smell or faint memory is one thing. Smells in particular are mediated by the lower temporal cortex, which is a more primitive area of the brain that forms extremely strong memories. As a result, it's inevitable that the significance of a smell lingers long after what it's associated with. These are the results of things not being important enough to remember. In the case of things so important that we declare love for them, we think about them consciously from time to time, and that prevents the kind of degradation you're describing.

too complicated for us to rationalise.


too complex to rationalise.


far more complicated than the average human can mentally decompile (which is also the reason why psychiatrists earn such a good wage)


...to be quite honest, it sounds like you're saying Thom is cognitively deficient. I may just need to settle for that.

I promise you, though, that if you sit down with just about any emotion you have and really think about it, you'll be able to figure out where it came from. Strong emotions are just a little more challenging to distance yourself from, so you can look at them objectively. Undergraduate psychiatry schooling is pretty much just a matter of giving students a boost in developing the skills necessary to do so; you can figure out anything on your own if you ask yourself "Why?" enough.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: Software Souls
by Moochman on Thu 17th Nov 2011 00:01 in reply to "RE[6]: Software Souls"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Why is it so strange to say a piece of software has a soul? It is after all a product of human beings, and in that way a sort of indirect way of communicating a philosophy or, yes, an emotional experience from one set of people to another (from developers to users). And yes, emotional. Everything about the design of a piece of software, from the glossy aspects like the color scheme and icons to the most complex interaction processes do indeed draw some kind of emotional response.

I'll give you that it's unfair for Thom to claim it's the "only OS with a soul". However, the idea of an OS, or any human-made inanimate object for that matter, having a soul, is far from crazy.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: Software Souls
by zima on Sat 19th Nov 2011 22:27 in reply to "RE[7]: Software Souls"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd say the idea is still very much crazy ;) (but understandable, as far as humans go, for the reasons you mention)

Edited 2011-11-19 22:27 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2