ON the emergence of 'minds' and what materials might allow it

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by JBeukema, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. JBeukema
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    Airplane's wing mimics a bird's wing. A hot air balloon does not. They both achieve the same thing if that thing is levitation and overcoming gravity to become airborne. There might well be more than ione process which gives rise to a similar result.
    Yet the passage of electrons through a speaker produces a near-exact replication of the same signal. Clearly, a vibrating string is not the only way the sound we associate with it can come into being. There might well be other forms of 'brains' or neural networks (in existence or in possibility) capable of achieving the same end result.
     
  2. Dr.Traveler
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    Its disapointing there isn't more to this conversation.

    I've always thought that if we do build an AI, its far more likely it will accidentally arise as an entity that "lives" in the internet. Thanks to the net we have millions of networked computers running billions of routines with access to trillions of pieces of data.

    I always thought that it was inevitable that the sheer level of complexity inherent in the internet would lead to an emergence if it were possible to artificially create intelligence.
     
  3. JBeukema
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    The Internet certainly seems to possess the potential for forming an Adaptive Representation Network capable of giving rise (in theory, if fleshy brains are not needed) to consciousness and self-awareness. Have you read The Origin of MInds by La Cerra and Bingham?
     
  4. HUGGY
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    So what kinda bong you usin? Hey..This dude next to the machine shop I use makes these humungus huge steel bong frames working with with a glass blower in the same complex we work in. They get like $20,000 for these suckers. Maybe it just takes a bigger bong to get to the bottom of all knowledge.
     
  5. Dr.Traveler
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    No. I'll have to look it up. I was thinking more along the lines of some of the reasoning in Godell, Escher, Bach about how complex enough systems seem to give rise to very surprising results.

    If a fleshy component isn't necessary (and it may well be), then the internet is arguably the biggest collection of data, computing power, and algorithms ever put together in the history of mankind. It seems like the ideal "primordial soup" for an electronic consciousness.
     
  6. Polaris
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    No, I don't think that the functionalist thesis is correct when it comes to AI. The electro-physical dynamics of thought are more complex - by a few orders of magnitude - than those of flight, for example.

    It seems to me that the manifestation of mind, requires a very particular set of circumstances to be in place: to wit, information must be processed at volumes, and at speeds, that can only be facilitated by a very specific material medium. This medium, it seems must be carbon-based, since it is only carbon-based physical systems which have the electrical reactivity that enable them to exist in the aquaeous environments that are necessary to process information to the necessary degree.

    The physical constraints on this "membrane" of thought are so specific, that they extend not only to the materials with which the thought-processor is built , but also to the very means according to which, it is "built": that is, complexity on this scale cannot be manufactured, exactly - instead, it must be grown.

    If every we develop AI in the lab, in other words, we will have to have developed synthentic material which facilitates information signalling better than carbon does; and we will have to have also developed something like an artificial womb.

    Perhaps the more likely scenario for AI is that suggested by the futurist and entrepeneur Ray Kurzweil, who thinks that we will, in effect, replace ourselves as a species by merging with our technological prostheses, using them to do what we already do, just with such greater efficiency that it will revolutionize how we interact with our environment...
     
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  7. Digibomber
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    I think people are confusing consciousness (self-awareness) with intelligence. Intelligence can be programmed which consciousness emerges from complexity. e.g. a chess playing computer is intelligent but not conscious, while a rabbit is probably conscious but not intelligent.

    The massive complexity of computer systems and possibly the internet might result in an organism (right word?) which could be conscious of it's existence and might try and survive.
     
  8. Polaris
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    Well, consciousness is the "beetle in the box" - in the end, or at least for now, it is very difficult to see how to artificially create this essentially subjective phenomenon. Rather, I think it makes more sense to focus on intelligence, because a being that interacts with its environment in sufficiently intelligent way, is not distinguishable from a being who we typically regard as "conscious" (we are indebted to the great Alan Turing for this insight - the British government recently apologized to him for the government persecution that brought on his suicide back after WWII (even though the code-breaking efforts he led were crucial to Allied victory)).

    And I would not introduce a cognitivist bias when talking about "intelligence." Intelligence, I would say, much comes down to how successfully an organism navigates in, negotiates with, its environment. The information processing required to inhabit a wild environment, with the constant threat of predators, is a hell of a lot more than it takes to sit in some nicely air-conditioned room, with no predators and only one task to focus on. I would say that there is a straight positive correlation between intelligence and consciousness - the more intelligent the being, the more high-gain its level of consciousness will be...
     
  9. JBeukema
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    You said yo'd not induce biased, yet you are biased in favor of 'organisms' you recognize. Should that not be 'system'?
     
  10. Polaris
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    Our archetype of the intelligent being, is of course ourselves. Until we encounter some other entity that qualifies as (to use Heidegger's term) dasein, we ourselves will be the benchmark for what an intelligent being is.

    And we are not something manufactured, but are the products of evolutionary processes - the product of myriad forerunner-species navigating their natural habitats. If the onto-genesis of the peculiar high-gain form of cognition that we possess, involves more instinctual, more feeling-motivated ways of navigating an environment, it is reasonable to assume that, evolution being what it is, this will go for all dasein, wherever we might encounter it. Life, and mind, cannot be something that you can plug in or turn off; it can only be something that can grow, and that can die.
     

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