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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Ask yourself, is the Internet conscious? How could you tell if it was?
    That one's easy - if the internet was conscious it would already be trying to skynet us from all the horrible crap we pour into it
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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Ask yourself, is the Internet conscious? How could you tell if it was?
    "The Internet" cannot be conscious because it is not a holistic entity and lacks the architechture for it. There is no internet-spanning AI.

    However, there might be conscious operators in the internet and there already obviously are intelligent operators. Furthermore, as various chatbots easily prove, there are a lot of rudimentary intelligences trying to mimic conscious behaviour, or at least behaviour we humans would generally think of as conscious. Ironically, said mimicry is often more impressive than actual attempts at replicating consciousness. In text-based medium, Philosophical Zombies are hence not only a possibility, they are an actuality.

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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by ForzaFiori View Post
    That one's easy - if the internet was conscious it would already be trying to skynet us from all the horrible crap we pour into it
    But the Internet is made up of said horrible crap. Where would it get a seperate frame of reference to decide those things are horrible?
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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    "The Internet" cannot be conscious because it is not a holistic entity and lacks the architechture for it. There is no internet-spanning AI.
    Again, how can you possibly know that?

    Intelligence doesn't need to be designed, or purposefully "architected" into a system. It's an emergent property that can arise in any sufficiently complex system, and "the internet" as a whole is easily as complex as a single human.
    Last edited by veti; 2019-05-15 at 03:58 AM.
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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by MrStabby View Post
    I am not sure that this is that informative. An AI can be programmed to Obey, to not Obey, to Conditionally Obey or to decide itself.

    If it Obeys, and was programmed to it is following external commands and is uninteresting. If it disobeys it is faulty programming - of technical but not philosophical interest.

    If it was programmed to not obey, then this is the same, but with the roles reversed.

    If it is programmed to conditionally obey, then this is still the same but pushed further down the line - its command is "check conditions x,y, z are met then follow"

    To decide for itself - if it is programmed to decide for itself then in making a yes/no decision it if following its coded instructions anyway.
    I mean if the robot does it all by itself, with no programmed help, no programmed empathy. I mean it says no because it wants to say no, not due to previous programming

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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Proves nothing. Any computer scientist will tell you that any non-trivial system is always displaying various kinds of unexpected behaviour, which seems at first glance to be contrary to their programming, but in fact is just caused by the unexpected complexity of it.

    Repeat after me: brains are not magic. There is nothing a human mind can do that a computer can't. And I'm not talking about some theoretical futuristic computer here, I'm talking about current generation technology. It's just a matter of scale, and patience.

    Ask yourself, is the Internet conscious? How could you tell if it was?
    Computers glitch because of an error made in there programming, that's not what I'm talking about. And who says our brains aren't magical. You might say "because we studied it thoroughly." That's what they said hundreds of years ago too, up until we got more precise tools and were able to look deeper, now we think we know it all. I'm a couple hundred they'll look again and say "What the trick is this?!" With there new invention that does things we can't understand yet. Will it be magic, the soul, or something else? Don't know, not there yet. As for the internet, maybe, how would I know, I wouldn't, that's why I asked.

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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by Matuka View Post
    Computers glitch because of an error made in there programming, that's not what I'm talking about.
    How do you know it's not what you're talking about? How can you tell the difference between a system that's "conscious", and one that's just "buggy"?

    And who says our brains aren't magical.
    I would say that assumption is implicit in your question. If consciousness is the product of magic, then your question answers itself: the line is crossed when the magic is applied - or when it takes effect, which is the same thing. There's no point in speculating about how it might arise from within the system, because it doesn't come from there. That's what magic means.
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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Again, how can you possibly know that?

    Intelligence doesn't need to be designed, or purposefully "architected" into a system. It's an emergent property that can arise in any sufficiently complex system, and "the internet" as a whole is easily as complex as a single human.
    1) electronic AIs have specific computational structure and requirements. We can tell by looking at the machines we've built if they're operating intelligently or not.
    2) Emergence of intelligence has never been demonstrated in electronic medium. Period. All AIs so far have been intentionally designed at the most fundamental level.

    The idea that I can't "know" the internet isn't intelligent is epistemically stupid. Technically I can't prove a negative, but that only means the burden of proof is on you to show a single positive case of emergent intelligence in electronics.

    It also still stands that internet is not a holistic entity. Good God, go read the Wikipedia page for the technology you're using. It is a communication protocol, not a single program. There is no single AI, no single program, that actually spans the entire internet. There is no basis in infrastructure of either software or hardware to expect it to develop a singular intelligence, nevermind consciousness. Attributing intelligence and consciousness to "the internet" is a category error, plain and simple.
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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    1) electronic AIs have specific computational structure and requirements. We can tell by looking at the machines we've built if they're operating intelligently or not.
    2) Emergence of intelligence has never been demonstrated in electronic medium. Period. All AIs so far have been intentionally designed at the most fundamental level.

    The idea that I can't "know" the internet isn't intelligent is epistemically stupid. Technically I can't prove a negative, but that only means the burden of proof is on you to show a single positive case of emergent intelligence in electronics.

    It also still stands that internet is not a holistic entity. Good God, go read the Wikipedia page for the technology you're using. It is a communication protocol, not a single program. There is no single AI, no single program, that actually spans the entire internet. There is no basis in infrastructure of either software or hardware to expect it to develop a singular intelligence, nevermind consciousness. Attributing intelligence and consciousness to "the internet" is a category error, plain and simple.
    But that is just what a mobile collection of symbiotic eukaryotes would want us to think. I'm on to you.

    Intelligence and consciousness in animals was emergent, and animals are emergent designs from collections of separate organisms (right down to our mitochondria.) That the Internet is a bunch of separate programs and computers doesn't somehow outlaw it from being intelligent.

    It clearly isn't now, but it easily could be in the future.

    @Matuka consciousness isn't magical, it is very clearly an inheritable and selectable trait in biology. Several animals share it with us, it isn't magic.
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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Go read the part of my earlier post that Veti omitted. There can be, and already are, intelligences and faux-intelligences on the internet. That's not what the argument is about. It's about category error, of applying traits of one kind of thing to another kind to which such traits do not and cannot be applied.

    To give an obvious comparison point, corporations can legally be considered persons, but if you try to apply all traits of an individual person to them, you quickly run into problems. For example, if you tried to ask "how do you know corporations are not conscious?", it would be equally headache-inducing.
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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Go read the part of my earlier post that Veti omitted. There can be, and already are, intelligences and faux-intelligences on the internet. That's not what the argument is about. It's about category error, of applying traits of one kind of thing to another kind to which such traits do not and cannot be applied.
    You are making some very large assumptions, without acknowledging them. Since we haven't discussed, much less agreed on, a definition of "intelligence" or "consciousness", how can you make any positive statement about the things that can and can't possess them?

    Intelligence, for example, can be defined as the capacity to learn. The Internet demonstrably does that. Servers and connections that are heavily used get enlarged, those that are damaged get routed around or replaced. Supply and demand work in sometimes positively spooky ways. (Read James Bridle's essay, "Something is wrong on the Internet", for elaboration.)

    Now, you could object: "It's not the Internet doing all that, it's people and other systems that are connected to it." But that's like saying "It's not your brain that writes the message, it's your fingers typing on a keyboard that's not even attached to you." The impetus for generation comes directly from fully automated systems that are part of the Internet. That people are also involved makes no difference; people sustain the Internet, much like food and drink sustain us.

    Or you could object "The Internet doesn't 'learn' things, because that implies knowledge and knowledge requires consciousness." (Which is why some definitions would be handy about now.) But an awful lot of information is built into the very structure of the Internet. The existence of a VPN, for instance, tells it something about the people or systems on either end of it. (For instance, that they are likely to use this connection repeatedly.) The links between Web pages, the number of connections, the structure of Wikipedia - companies such as Google spend millions of dollars extracting and deriving this sort of data, but it's stored in thousands of systems across the Internet already, and the Internet uses that information to improve its performance.

    Sounds like knowledge to me, so if knowledge implies consciousness, then the Internet is clearly already there.
    "None of us likes to be hated, none of us likes to be shunned. A natural result of these conditions is, that we consciously or unconsciously pay more attention to tuning our opinions to our neighbor’s pitch and preserving his approval than we do to examining the opinions searchingly and seeing to it that they are right and sound." - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Intelligence, for example, can be defined as the capacity to learn.
    Any neural network algorithm will have some capacity to learn, and in some cases it might never go further than associating an input with an output. That's a basic reflex. While it is an important stepping point in a progressive gradation from rocks to conscious organisms, no consciousness is required for that level of "intelligence".
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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    You are making some very large assumptions, without acknowledging them. Since we haven't discussed, much less agreed on, a definition of "intelligence" or "consciousness", how can you make any positive statement about the things that can and can't possess them?
    In several prior posts, you've asked some variation of "how can you possibly know" this or that about the nature of intelligence or the internet, before immediately making a declarative statement about the nature of intelligence or the internet. This isn't meant to be a criticism or some "gotcha" statement, but rather an illustrative one: Everyone on this thread, including you, already has a pretty good idea of what they mean when they talk about "intelligence" or "consciousness," definitions that they have most likely used while reading articles or talking to other people without any obvious conflicts. That's kind of the nature of language--we learn most words contextually, and define them implicitly, until we reach a point where the presumed consensus starts to break down.

    I haven't thought too hard about articulating a particular definition for "intelligence" or "consciousness," but to me their starting points are so far apart that they're not even remotely synonymous. To me, intelligence is something that is not-quite-observable. Your idea of "the capacity to learn" is a pretty good starting point: The ability to take in stimuli, retain information, process it in some way, and demonstrate all of that by responding to new stimuli in novel ways that are impacted by past events is a pretty good sign of intelligence. Is it theoretically possible to fake intelligence by creating a sufficiently complex, deterministic system that doesn't actually change in response to information? Probably. But in general, intelligence is primarily reflected in behavior that can be observed.

    In contrast, the idea of consciousness is something that isn't observable: self-awareness. I don't know that you're self-aware. I presume you're self-aware because I know that I am self-aware, and we're probably biologically similar enough that it makes more sense to presume your sentience than to presume your lack of sentience. Is self-awareness something that can only exist where intelligence exists? I think the answer is "probably," but I don't know. Is self-awareness an emergent property that necessarily arises in any system complex enough to learn? I don't know. You make a good case for the link between the two, much like Einstein made a good case for the link between energy and matter. Doesn't change the fact that most folks think of one thing when they talk about "matter" and a different idea when they talk about "energy."

    Sounds like knowledge to me, so if knowledge implies consciousness, then the Internet is clearly already there.
    That's a big "if" that it seems clear that most folks on this thread don't accept. You make a intriguing argument, but it's all predicated on one specific definition of "intelligence" that pretty specifically originated in a context of discussing self-aware beings. Or, if you want to be pedantic on it, it originates in discussing being (humans) who we somewhat axiomatically take to be self-aware. The term as you use it--"the capacity to learn"--can be used more expansively because we have come to realize that non-human things such as lower animals, and now technological constructs, can outwardly demonstrate learning behavior. However, the fact that "intelligence" as you use it was first associated with self-aware beings doesn't imply that self-awareness is equivalent to intelligence.

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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post

    In contrast, the idea of consciousness is something that isn't observable: self-awareness. I don't know that you're self-aware. I presume you're self-aware because I know that I am self-aware, and we're probably biologically similar enough that it makes more sense to presume your sentience than to presume your lack of sentience. Is self-awareness something that can only exist where intelligence exists? I think the answer is "probably," but I don't know.
    Isn't the mirror test a way of determining if a creature has some degree of self-awareness?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test

    It does have some limitations though.
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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Isn't the mirror test a way of determining if a creature has some degree of self-awareness?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test

    It does have some limitations though.
    Dolphins seem to be able recognize themselves in mirrors.

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    Default Re: The Line of consciousness and how to cross it

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Isn't the mirror test a way of determining if a creature has some degree of self-awareness?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test

    It does have some limitations though.
    From that test, you can infer that something might, or that it might not be, but again, that's all predicated on the assumption that something which is biological and intelligent is probably self-aware (in the sense of sentience.) You can write a simple program--probably simple enough that most people wouldn't expect it to be a locus of an emergent artificial sentience--that can react a certain way to the image of its own physical machinery, or a hash of its own code, or maybe recognize that a certain data set changes predictably in response to its actions, and only to its actions, and in that sense it could demonstrate self-awareness, in the sense that it can be aware of its own physical self, or some sort of "image" of itself. However, it can't definitely prove self-awareness in the sense of consciousness or sentience.

    For practical purposes, I think we should probably presume that animals that can demonstrate self-awareness as you describe it are conscious beings, even if perhaps their level of intelligence doesn't match ours, for the same reason why it makes sense to just presume all humans are sentient beings.
    Last edited by Xyril; 2019-05-24 at 01:32 PM.

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