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Posted: 07 August 2012 06:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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And what is it you are that a computer cannot be taught to know about itself? What is the difference between saying “I am a man, not an animal” and “I am a computer, not a man”.

It is true that a computer will never identify itself as a human, but what difference does that really make? What about every other living thing on earth, are they all sentient and in what way is that different than a sentient computer?

IMO, the problem lies in that we always try to make a computer to act like a human. Why is that?

If a computer actually knew what it was do you think that it would regret being a computer? Would it contemplate who built it and would that person or persons be considered it’s god?

But we ARE animals and a computer is NOT a man. We know that computers can mimic higher level thinking but could you replicate FI a libido? Could a computer want to have sexual relations with another computer?

I don’t think that earthworms are sentient. I could be wrong. I also don’t think that oysters know that they’re oysters. If they did then they would give me a wide berth. I love them, fried, raw or steamed.

What else would we want a computer to act like? It’s the only way IMO for us to relate to the machine. Think HAL. (Hello Dave, ready for our chess match?).


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Posted: 07 August 2012 08:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 07 August 2012 06:29 PM

And what is it you are that a computer cannot be taught to know about itself? What is the difference between saying “I am a man, not an animal” and “I am a computer, not a man”.

It is true that a computer will never identify itself as a human, but what difference does that really make? What about every other living thing on earth, are they all sentient and in what way is that different than a sentient computer?

IMO, the problem lies in that we always try to make a computer to act like a human. Why is that?

If a computer actually knew what it was do you think that it would regret being a computer? Would it contemplate who built it and would that person or persons be considered it’s god?
But we ARE animals and a computer is NOT a man. We know that computers can mimic higher level thinking but could you replicate FI a libido? Could a computer want to have sexual relations with another computer?
I don’t think that earthworms are sentient. I could be wrong. I also don’t think that oysters know that they’re oysters. If they did then they would give me a wide berth. I love them, fried, raw or steamed.

IMO, those are not pertinent questions. Does man regret that he is man? Does a dog regret he is a dog?
I see no reason why eventually a computer would not question it’s origins and discover it’s human maker, in the far past.
Why on earth would a computer want to have sexual relations?  The problem is we are trying to assign human qualities, but we agree that not every living organism can be judged by human standards. Does something have to organic to be sentient or alive, FTM?
An earthworm (sentient or not) does very well as an organism. As do oysters. And they do try to protect themselves from harm. It takes a sharp knife and a lot of prying to open an oyster. It “knows” it is in danger. As far as non-organic sentience, is there a natural law that forbids non-organic sentience?

What else would we want a computer to act like? It’s the only way IMO for us to relate to the machine. Think HAL. (Hello Dave, ready for our chess match?).
Cap’t Jack

But is it the only way it can relate to other computers?

[ Edited: 07 August 2012 08:17 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 07 August 2012 10:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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3point14rat - 07 August 2012 09:11 AM

No.  The internet is not and will never become sentient.  It is piles of data with paths leading from one pile to other piles.  You’re talking science fiction with 99% of the emphasis on the fiction part.

The internet doesn’t have senses, so I don’t think it can have sentience.

No, the brain is not and will never become sentient. It’s just electrical signals with paths leading from one signal to other signals. You’re talking science fiction with 99% of the emphasis on the fiction part.

The brain doesn’t have senses, it just receives electrical signals, so I don’t think it can have sentience.

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Posted: 07 August 2012 11:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I wonder if the experience of “pleasure” can be synthesized symbolically in a computer? How can you motivate a computer.

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Posted: 08 August 2012 12:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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George - 03 August 2012 08:46 PM

I have heard that before (I think it was from Sam Harris), but I don’t know what to think of it. If the internet is becoming sentient because it absorbs information, you may as well speculate if a mirror can see becuase it absorbs light. There is more to vision than adsorbing light just like there is more to consciesness than learning.

But what if those mirrors are mirror neurons (human or artificial) which process and distribute the filtered light, or sound, or smell?

[ Edited: 08 August 2012 12:20 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 08 August 2012 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Write4U - 08 August 2012 12:18 AM
George - 03 August 2012 08:46 PM

I have heard that before (I think it was from Sam Harris), but I don’t know what to think of it. If the internet is becoming sentient because it absorbs information, you may as well speculate if a mirror can see becuase it absorbs light. There is more to vision than adsorbing light just like there is more to consciesness than learning.

But what if those mirrors are mirror neurons (human or artificial) which process and distribute the filtered light, or sound, or smell?

question  Are you asking me if my bathroom mirror is a “mirror neurone”?

BTW, what I wrote makes no sense since mirrors reflect lights, not absorb it. But whatever…

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Posted: 08 August 2012 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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GdB - 07 August 2012 10:43 PM
3point14rat - 07 August 2012 09:11 AM

No.  The internet is not and will never become sentient.  It is piles of data with paths leading from one pile to other piles.  You’re talking science fiction with 99% of the emphasis on the fiction part.

The internet doesn’t have senses, so I don’t think it can have sentience.

No, the brain is not and will never become sentient. It’s just electrical signals with paths leading from one signal to other signals. You’re talking science fiction with 99% of the emphasis on the fiction part.

The brain doesn’t have senses, it just receives electrical signals, so I don’t think it can have sentience.

The brain underwent a billion years of trial and error programming called evolution.  Human beings are the environment of the Internet and we design it to serve our purposes.  The environment had no intentions toward the evolving brain.  Better designs had greater survivability.  Maybe we intend for the Internet to be stupid because that best serves our purposes.

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Posted: 08 August 2012 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Write4U - 07 August 2012 04:49 PM
FreeInKy - 07 August 2012 04:32 PM
3point14rat - 07 August 2012 09:11 AM

The internet doesn’t have senses, so I don’t think it can have sentience.

I think this is important. It’s hard to imagine and form of consciousness apart from sensory input.

But the internet has a constant stream of sensory input from all kinds of souces. The problem so far is that these collectors are not interfaced with each other. Computers look, listen, smell, hear, sense, (and dare I say at much more detail than humans). Our sensory organs are but of average quality compared to other organisms.

IMO, the one major difference between human thought and computer thought is filtering pertinent data and converting it to symbolic messages which the computer can use for selfpreservation and advancement.

I don’t think the sensory input of computers is even remotely similar to our own.  They operate more like you or I hearing what the weather is like while we are in bed, rather that ‘experiencing’ it.  And even that is an inaccurate comparison, since we can hear the weather and remember our experience of it- I know what it’s like to sweat in hot weather and feel the wind and hear the crunch of snow beneath my feet and smell a storm coming.  Computers can’t experience or remember experiencing.

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Posted: 08 August 2012 09:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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psikeyhackr - 08 August 2012 07:41 AM

The brain underwent a billion years of trial and error programming called evolution.  Human beings are the environment of the Internet and we design it to serve our purposes.  The environment had no intentions toward the evolving brain.

I did not mean that the internet is conscious and alive. I only meant that the reasoning of 3point14rat is not valid.

And I think that nearly all make a category here: that the contents of the data play any role in the question if the internet could be an ‘organism’. The question is if all the patterns of data in the internet represent intelligence on a higher level; in the same way as the firing patterns of neurons give rise to consciousness. You have no conscious access to the firing of your neurons, so why suppose the internet needs access to the contents of its data? It is the structure of the traffic that matters, not the content.

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Posted: 08 August 2012 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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3point14rat - 08 August 2012 08:24 AM

I don’t think the sensory input of computers is even remotely similar to our own.  They operate more like you or I hearing what the weather is like while we are in bed, rather that ‘experiencing’ it.  And even that is an inaccurate comparison, since we can hear the weather and remember our experience of it- I know what it’s like to sweat in hot weather and feel the wind and hear the crunch of snow beneath my feet and smell a storm coming.  Computers can’t experience or remember experiencing.

That’s exactly what I meant. To a computer program, sensory input is experienced exactly the same way as retrieving data from memory. Not so with humans. To understand what it means to experience the world through our senses is to understand consciousness. Not that we can do that. I also agree with what psikeyhackr said:

The brain underwent a billion years of trial and error programming called evolution. 

I think in the 50’s and 60’s, when we first started thinking about designing AI, most computer scientists thought it would be easy. The main limitation was seen as the size and speed of the hardware. A half century later, we’re not a hell of a lot closer to figuring out what sentience and consciousness is all about. I’m not saying it will never happen—it probably will, if we survive long enough. But not by brute force. I think our machines will have to evolve their own form of consciousness.

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Posted: 08 August 2012 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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FreeInKy - 08 August 2012 09:50 AM

That’s exactly what I meant. To a computer program, sensory input is experienced exactly the same way as retrieving data from memory. Not so with humans. To understand what it means to experience the world through our senses is to understand consciousness.

No way, it is exactly the same. For any neuron in the brain, a certain amount of incoming signals makes it giving an electrical pulse itself. Sensory input only differs in that the cells producing the signals are not simple neurons themselves. But for the second neuron connected to it receives an electrical pulse, and that’s it.

In computers it is more or less the same: some electrical pulse come from input/output devices, others just from other flip-flops in the CPU itself.

No, you won’t understand consciousness in this way…


Edit: Added missing word in the last sentence

[ Edited: 08 August 2012 10:39 PM by GdB ]
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Posted: 08 August 2012 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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GdB - 08 August 2012 09:27 AM
psikeyhackr - 08 August 2012 07:41 AM

The brain underwent a billion years of trial and error programming called evolution.  Human beings are the environment of the Internet and we design it to serve our purposes.  The environment had no intentions toward the evolving brain.

I did not mean that the internet is conscious and alive. I only meant that the reasoning of 3point14rat is not valid.

And I think that nearly all make a category here: that the contents of the data play any role in the question if the internet could be an ‘organism’. The question is if all the patterns of data in the internet represent intelligence on a higher level; in the same way as the firing patterns of neurons give rise to consciousness. You have no conscious access to the firing of your neurons, so why suppose the internet needs access to the contents of its data? It is the structure of the traffic that matters, not the content.

The fact that the internet consists of many connections, mountains of data and ways of sensing the world doesn’t mean that it is on the road to sentience.  The leap is far too long.  I agree that the structure of the traffic is vital, but the internet is no closer to sentience now than it was 20 years ago, and it is orders of magnitude larger.  So wouldn’t that point to the fact that its structure is not one that leads to sentience?

Also, our brains work so that they keep our bodies alive and we enjoy that life.  The internet has no reason to do anything.  There is no impetus to act or react.  It has no wants or needs.  We care about staying alive, but why would the internet ‘care’ if it has electricity to function.  I know it’s an anthropocentric view - more of an opinion actually - but the idea of a single entity spontaniously becoming sentient is hard to fathom since I won’t have anything whatsoever in common with it. 

Only by redefining my definition of sentient, can the internet ever be considered sentient.  A discussion of the definition of “sentient” is a whole new topic that would have to be decided before we continue discussing this one, since most, if not all, are using the word in different ways.  (The problem of definitions is a blessing and a curse: you get clearly defined terms but it takes forever to get to the point.  I think it’s part of the fun.)

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Posted: 08 August 2012 10:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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GdB - 08 August 2012 10:27 AM
FreeInKy - 08 August 2012 09:50 AM

That’s exactly what I meant. To a computer program, sensory input is experienced exactly the same way as retrieving data from memory. Not so with humans. To understand what it means to experience the world through our senses is to understand consciousness.

No way, it is exactly the same. For any neuron in the brain, a certain amount of incoming signals makes it giving an electrical pulse itself. Sensory input only differs in that the cells producing the signals are not simple neurons themselves. But for the second neuron connected to it receives an electrical pulse, and that’s it.

In computers it is more or less the same: some electrical pulse come from input/output devices, others just from other flip-flops in the CPU itself.

No, you won’t consciousness in this way…

This is where emergent properties comes into play.  If our sentience is a fortunate spandrel of the layers of complexity in our brains, where’s the emergence going to originate from in the internet?  There is interplay within our brain that is beyond what the internet has and likely beyond our ability to give it (either hardware or software). 

I’m not trying to put humans on a pedestal.  We are just a lucky bunch of animals.  I think it would be fascinating (and scary) to know humans had the ability to create a sentient being, but I don’t think that will happen with the set-up we have now.

**Edit to fix embarassing typo**

[ Edited: 08 August 2012 05:07 PM by 3point14rat ]
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Posted: 08 August 2012 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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George - 08 August 2012 05:50 AM
Write4U - 08 August 2012 12:18 AM
George - 03 August 2012 08:46 PM

I have heard that before (I think it was from Sam Harris), but I don’t know what to think of it. If the internet is becoming sentient because it absorbs information, you may as well speculate if a mirror can see becuase it absorbs light. There is more to vision than adsorbing light just like there is more to consciesness than learning.

But what if those mirrors are mirror neurons (human or artificial) which process and distribute the filtered light, or sound, or smell?

question  Are you asking me if my bathroom mirror is a “mirror neurone”?

BTW, what I wrote makes no sense since mirrors reflect lights, not absorb it. But whatever…

As this discussion is all speculative anyway, I’m just musing…. cheese

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Posted: 08 August 2012 10:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Just ran across an interesting term (maybe pertinent)
Ubiquitous computing


From Wikipedia, Ubiquitous computing,

Ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) is a post-desktop model of human-computer interaction in which information processing has been thoroughly integrated into everyday objects and activities. In the course of ordinary activities, someone “using” ubiquitous computing engages many computational devices and systems simultaneously, and may not necessarily even be aware that they are doing so. This model is usually considered an advancement from the desktop paradigm. More formally, ubiquitous computing is defined as “machines that fit the human environment instead of forcing humans to enter theirs.”[1]
This paradigm is also described as pervasive computing, ambient intelligence,[2] or, more recently, everyware,[3] where each term emphasizes slightly different aspects. When primarily concerning the objects involved, it is also physical computing, the Internet of Things, haptic computing,[4] and things that think. Rather than propose a single definition for ubiquitous computing and for these related terms, a taxonomy of properties for ubiquitous computing has been proposed, from which different kinds or flavors of ubiquitous systems and applications can be described.[5]

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