Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Machines, sentience, and what it is to "think"

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Machines, sentience, and what it is to "think"

    Ok to open, I have seen the thread "is there a God?", and really, as a discussion you can really only respond with a yes or a no.
    Because, either you support the notion there is no god, and that it's because of some manner of science based justification, or you are of a religious persuasion, and thus assert there is a god.

    Not much point in discussion though, because converts are unlikely.
    And a person can be just a teeny bit religious and believe in god, or utterly and totally a supporter and believe in god. It comes out the same though. And odds are not one person has ever believed in a virtually identical belief in god even if they would prefer to think they did. It's a weakness of having a brain and the power to think. You simply won't be thinking what I am thinking.

    If you think there is no god, you are simply refusing to believe. Might be accurate, but it's mostly you have been convinced by another's facts. There's little reason though to assume there's an infinite number of versions of the belief there is no god. It's mostly based on the science of the moment and the justification based on that science. Science is like that though.

    Myself, I don't really know if I believe in God or not. Ask me regularly every 5 minutes, and you likely will get the same results you will get from rolling dice.

    Anyway, I want to put forward some alternate discussion on something equally as intangible as the whole "is there a God" discussion.

    What is thought?

    What is it to think? Is the mind something special? or, can it be easily created artificially?

    Is it something we should play around with? (miss Butler would likely say no).

    And at what point do we become human, and at what point do we stop being human?
    How much of the human brain is required to be 100% human? If you lose a portion to accident, or medical condition how much is required to remain human?

    What is the best way to define sentience?
    Is sentience in the absence of a soul possible?
    But of course, is there a soul?
    If there is a soul, what creates it?
    Picture a person that is a clone, do they get a soul in the same fashion a human created by normal biological means gets a soul?

    So if there is no soul, then does that make a sentient machine more realizable?

    Is thought, merely a level of complexity to achieve?
    I think therefore I am, but a tree is not thinking, and therefore it is not. But wait, that tree last month that took out your car when you hit it, it sure was there wasn't it.

    Are any of you real? Or am in merely living in my own reality as defined by my own thought? When I die, do any of you survive?

    I read an article in the 90's (not sure what year, but it was a while back), that stated computer capacity was expected to eventually achieve the ability to manage defacto human immortality.
    This would occur the moment your entire mental awareness, your "mind" per se, could be rendered as just so much data, that could be transferred into a mechanical storage means. At this point, cellular "death" simply would not happen.
    And while we are not there yet, computers have managed to keep up the exponential rate of advancement unchecked since we started making them.

    The above makes one wonder, what is death? If we were able to remove cellular death, would we be redefining what it is to be "alive".
    And at that point, if being "alive" is something that can be a variable, what is the point in saying a machine is not really sentient?

    Would machines become simply a different form of life, capable of becoming sufficiently smart enough to become in time able to question "is it alive?"

    Could you share a world with mechanical creatures that saw you maybe not as equals, but just an "option".

    The day we can actually share our "existence" with non biological "life" God will probably be in trouble.
    Unless of course a machine can believe in God.
    I wonder what it would be like, to argue about reality with my computer?

    More importantly, would I be able to play a game against my computer and trust it to not cheat on it's turn
    Life is change. Built models for decades.
    Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
    I didn't for a long time either.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Paul Maud'dib View Post
    Ok to open, I have seen the thread "is there a God?", and really, as a discussion you can really only respond with a yes or a no.
    Because, either you support the notion there is no god, and that it's because of some manner of science based justification, or you are of a religious persuasion, and thus assert there is a god.

    Not much point in discussion though, because converts are unlikely.
    And a person can be just a teeny bit religious and believe in god, or utterly and totally a supporter and believe in god. It comes out the same though. And odds are not one person has ever believed in a virtually identical belief in god even if they would prefer to think they did. It's a weakness of having a brain and the power to think. You simply won't be thinking what I am thinking.

    If you think there is no god, you are simply refusing to believe. Might be accurate, but it's mostly you have been convinced by another's facts. There's little reason though to assume there's an infinite number of versions of the belief there is no god. It's mostly based on the science of the moment and the justification based on that science. Science is like that though.

    Myself, I don't really know if I believe in God or not. Ask me regularly every 5 minutes, and you likely will get the same results you will get from rolling dice.

    Anyway, I want to put forward some alternate discussion on something equally as intangible as the whole "is there a God" discussion.

    What is thought?

    What is it to think? Is the mind something special? or, can it be easily created artificially?

    Is it something we should play around with? (miss Butler would likely say no).

    And at what point do we become human, and at what point do we stop being human?
    How much of the human brain is required to be 100% human? If you lose a portion to accident, or medical condition how much is required to remain human?

    What is the best way to define sentience?
    Is sentience in the absence of a soul possible?
    But of course, is there a soul?
    If there is a soul, what creates it?
    Picture a person that is a clone, do they get a soul in the same fashion a human created by normal biological means gets a soul?

    So if there is no soul, then does that make a sentient machine more realizable?

    Is thought, merely a level of complexity to achieve?
    I think therefore I am, but a tree is not thinking, and therefore it is not. But wait, that tree last month that took out your car when you hit it, it sure was there wasn't it.

    Are any of you real? Or am in merely living in my own reality as defined by my own thought? When I die, do any of you survive?

    I read an article in the 90's (not sure what year, but it was a while back), that stated computer capacity was expected to eventually achieve the ability to manage defacto human immortality.
    This would occur the moment your entire mental awareness, your "mind" per se, could be rendered as just so much data, that could be transferred into a mechanical storage means. At this point, cellular "death" simply would not happen.
    And while we are not there yet, computers have managed to keep up the exponential rate of advancement unchecked since we started making them.

    The above makes one wonder, what is death? If we were able to remove cellular death, would we be redefining what it is to be "alive".
    And at that point, if being "alive" is something that can be a variable, what is the point in saying a machine is not really sentient?

    Would machines become simply a different form of life, capable of becoming sufficiently smart enough to become in time able to question "is it alive?"

    Could you share a world with mechanical creatures that saw you maybe not as equals, but just an "option".

    The day we can actually share our "existence" with non biological "life" God will probably be in trouble.
    Unless of course a machine can believe in God.
    I wonder what it would be like, to argue about reality with my computer?

    More importantly, would I be able to play a game against my computer and trust it to not cheat on it's turn
    Paul,
    If you are going to get the major players on this: a suggestion?
    Use Spell Checker? Just a friendly idea. You might consolidate your idea and repost this. It has some possiblities.
    Hal
    My Avatar: Ivan W. Henderson Gunner/navigator B-25-26. 117 combat missions. Both Theaters. 11 confirmed kills. DSC.

    Comment


    • #3
      "I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes."

      Also, Your post would probably fit in better here.
      Last edited by the_redstar_swl; 12 Nov 07, 20:03.

      Comment


      • #4
        After all that typing I at least hope you feel better.
        Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

        Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

        Comment


        • #5
          One of the Asimov Books on Robotics covers this, The Bicentennial Man, I beleive he covers it quite well. Very hard topic to put forth in such a short venue.
          Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

          History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
          Lazarus Long

          Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
          David Bowie

          Comment


          • #6
            Spell checker?

            According to my spell checker (made by an American no doubt) it had no errors of spelling. Please inform me of precisely that which you refer to.

            Redstar, any particular reasons for you saying that? I mean, I could say your input best belonged there as well, and we end up precisely nowhere.

            Is it possible some of my post was too cerebral for some? Not enough chances to copy paste some one else's involved post in rebuttal perchance?

            Or is it possible my post merely required too much thinking?
            Life is change. Built models for decades.
            Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
            I didn't for a long time either.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Paul Maud'dib View Post
              Spell checker?

              According to my spell checker (made by an American no doubt) it had no errors of spelling. Please inform me of precisely that which you refer to.

              Redstar, any particular reasons for you saying that? I mean, I could say your input best belonged there as well, and we end up precisely nowhere.

              Is it possible some of my post was too cerebral for some? Not enough chances to copy paste some one else's involved post in rebuttal perchance?

              Or is it possible my post merely required too much thinking?
              IE. Sentence.
              Paul, You have cast a fly upon the river. (My metaphor). No, your post wasn't too cerebral for us. It's just that it seems silly in the long run. You have done much better.
              Hal
              My Avatar: Ivan W. Henderson Gunner/navigator B-25-26. 117 combat missions. Both Theaters. 11 confirmed kills. DSC.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Paul Maud'dib View Post
                Redstar, any particular reasons for you saying that? I mean, I could say your input best belonged there as well, and we end up precisely nowhere.
                Monologues work better on blogs.

                I think it was FDR who said something along the lines of "Keep your speeches short and to the point".

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by holly6 View Post
                  IE. Sentence.
                  Paul, You have cast a fly upon the river. (My metaphor). No, your post wasn't too cerebral for us. It's just that it seems silly in the long run. You have done much better.
                  Hal
                  I checked Paul Maud'dib's post and found no spelling errors. Perhaps you misunderstood the intent.

                  sen·tience (sěn'shəns, -shē-əns) Pronunciation Key
                  n.
                  1. The quality or state of being sentient; consciousness.
                  2. Feeling as distinguished from perception or thought.


                  Lot's of big questions, not a lot of big answers here. Let me know when you figure it all out...
                  Battles are dangerous affairs... Wang Hsi

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    what is there is a god, but it is not sentient?

                    what if I am a god, but dont' know it?

                    what if there is a god, but it's not ours?

                    what if there are many gods (my favourite is shub-niggurath)?

                    as for sentient machines, it's only a matter of times. the brain - as anyone who had eaten one can tell - is just a bunch of gooish flesh. it's the connections that matter.
                    now, a computer with the capacity of connections of a brain would be available by 2015 or so. watch the fun starting then.
                    "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by the_redstar_swl View Post
                      Monologues work better on blogs.

                      I think it was FDR who said something along the lines of "Keep your speeches short and to the point".
                      Fair enough.

                      Regarding "sentence" I think Pirate-Drakk nailed the problem.

                      I will await seeing if sentient not being "sentence" perhaps makes you regard it as less "silly".

                      I agree, the post was a bit longish. It was a first draft though, and I maybe tried to cover too many angles simultaneously. Should have focused more on machine issues I guess. God based issues bore me, as they are unknowable conundrums. When I die, I will find out about this God debate, but you'll have to wait for your own death to know what I will know.

                      Then again, I might do that Ghola thing a few more times.
                      Life is change. Built models for decades.
                      Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                      I didn't for a long time either.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        On sentience:

                        Here's a brain bender for you. Is man really just an advanced form of AI? What constitutes AI?

                        An AI computer doesn't have free will. An AI has a logic system whereby it interprets incoming data and, based on that data, makes a decision. But it is beyond contemplation. It can't consider what if, only IF THEN.

                        But are humans much different?

                        I have been toying with a theory I call "mathematical fate" whereby I suggest that while we humans technically have "free will", it's not really free. Our decisions, while technically free, are weighted by our circumstances.

                        Here is a crude example. I put 50 cents into a soda machine. I have free will at this point to choose any drink I want. However, I am more likely to choose Mountain Dew. Why? The biochemicals that make up my tastes and sensory systems have given me a palate that favors mountain dew. So despite my perfectly free choice, statistical odds are not totally random as to what I will choose. I will choose Mountain Dew almost all the time.

                        By this theory (or hypothesis if you prefer as I cannot test it) it would seem that our fate is fixed, not by the stars or by a celestial hand of fate, but by our genetics which form the basis of our intelligence, and by our life experiences which mold it.

                        Getting back to our original point, are really just "AI", reacting to our environment? Or can we act free of it? Moreover, what constitutes acting free of our environment? Could someone who knew our genetics and life circumstances do as the "psychohistorians" of the Foundation did, and predict with accuracy our human behavior?
                        A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Interesting thoughts pirateship.

                          I often tell the wife, women could control the world the second they wished to do so. Men are simply too easy to sway. I will refrain from a crude example, but suffice it to say, I have found it amusing when discussing world rule by women (with women), that once they get what feminists seem to want to claim they want, they usually find out having it isn't always ideally desirable.

                          And it's all as you were discussing above. We are usually controlled by forces we might be partially aware of, but are likely unable to truly control ourselves.

                          It was sheer hell breaking myself of an addiction to playing arcade machines in the 80s.
                          Life is change. Built models for decades.
                          Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                          I didn't for a long time either.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Chaos Theory

                            Originally posted by pirateship1982 View Post
                            . . .
                            I have been toying with a theory I call "mathematical fate" whereby I suggest that while we humans technically have "free will", it's not really free. Our decisions, while technically free, are weighted by our circumstances.

                            Here is a crude example. I put 50 cents into a soda machine. I have free will at this point to choose any drink I want. However, I am more likely to choose Mountain Dew. Why? The biochemicals that make up my tastes and sensory systems have given me a palate that favors mountain dew. So despite my perfectly free choice, statistical odds are not totally random as to what I will choose. I will choose Mountain Dew almost all the time.

                            By this theory (or hypothesis if you prefer as I cannot test it) it would seem that our fate is fixed, not by the stars or by a celestial hand of fate, but by our genetics which form the basis of our intelligence, and by our life experiences which mold it.

                            Getting back to our original point, are really just "AI", reacting to our environment? Or can we act free of it? Moreover, what constitutes acting free of our environment? Could someone who knew our genetics and life circumstances do as the "psychohistorians" of the Foundation did, and predict with accuracy our human behavior?
                            If you simply walk up to the vending machine and select Mountain Dew without even looking at the other choices you might describe this as a conditioned behavior. You aren't even looking for an alternative, just the reliable caffeine and sugar rush you already know you'll get from a 'Dew. It may not be an optimal choice but it is satisfactory and suffices to produce the effect you want. The psychological term is 'satisficing', staying with a proven solution rather than expending time and effort to find an alternative.

                            Now what if 'Dew wasn't quite what you wanted and you simply had not found a better solution yet - but you are looking for an alternative. The genetic or physiological desire for the 'rush' is an attractor, the effect you want that 'Dew provides. At any moment you might learn of an alternative product that potentially gives you a better boost or one without side effects [e.g. cheaper, less tooth decay, chills itself, whatever].

                            As long as you are alert to new possibilities and willing to try them on their merits your fate is not determined.
                            Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

                            Questions about our site? See the FAQ.

                            Comment

                            Latest Topics

                            Collapse

                            Working...
                            X