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StrictlyLogical last won the day on September 20

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  1. AKilah Be careful not to ascribe causality (or self-causality) to the instantaneous metaphysical existence of anything. An electron does not cause its own metaphysical existence, it simply IS, neither do I cause myself to EXIST (at this very instant) by my act of sitting, I simply at this moment AM. A cause presupposes an effect and an effect presupposes a change or action of at least some kind. So generally speaking, changes or actions are what are caused, not metaphysical existence of things as such. Conversion of energy into matter or the reverse, changes in orientation, position, velocity, configurations, and functions of natural constituents. A leaf rots or a tree falls, or a star explodes.. all changes have causes. The changes are caused (or self-caused), not the sheer existence of the natural stuff which undergoes those changes. Not all change requires a cause even though all causes presuppose some change... a grain of sand flying through space. HAD a cause, but nothing causes it to continually BE or to continue to fly... it simply IS. Of course my current state of being, the particular configuration of my constituents were caused (parents, evolution, atomic element formation in stars)... and my actions have causes (brain activity, neural signaling, biochemical reactions in muscles), but my metaphysical existence is not self-caused in the instant... I simply metaphysically AM. This in no way contradicts the fact that I had to act yesterday in order to be alive today, or that if I do not act at all right now I will soon be dead (after I stop breathing... ).
  2. Nonsense. The value of discussion is to work out things... not to bandy about things one has already worked out. You belong here as you are. First, I only attributed rationalists with such a motive... there are many scientists who do not fall into that category... Second, I was mostly being colorful, in reality the mistake is an honest one, especially for rationalists, although being fooled by the fool who fools himself creates the same result only by a slightly different route. My point is that the sham evaporates when you see the simplicity and the mechanistic brute force of fake intelligence.. I agree that until we understand consciousness when we look at a real intelligence it will be baffling but once we have a science of consciousness we’ll be able to identify its fundamentals. I do agree with most of what you say and perhaps now believe we are in agreement in principle. I’ll not concede but state (i was never in disagreement with you on this) that the thing I think you see is that things are what’s they are and the properties they exhibit, how they act etc is in accordance with their nature. This is solid Objectivism... in principle and in reality the fake behemoth will never exhibit everything a real consciousness does... the PRACTICAL problem with a text interface is that it is an EXCEEDINGLY poor instrument for identification of things in reality. Only a real Monet would look like a Monet to an expert under bright lights and close up... enough for people to pay Via Sotheby’s millions based on that assessment of reality. But a common person wearing a partial blindfold at 100 feet in a dimly lit room?... well now that’s not a fair test is it?
  3. Define bizzarre and infuriating. If it can be defined, you can build a filter for it... or train around it. You forgot to mention, after we guess who the fake person is, Google hires us at exorbitant salaries with decades long contracts to train the thing to APPEAR to think.. up to a certain wall of evasion, non-integration, and level of effort... where it is to APPEAR either unwilling or incapable of going any further... This kind of wall, IS a trait of many real humans. The behemoth need only to APPEAR to have it. I like this: BUT this annoying "person" is outwardly the same as a real person who might troll the forum. This sounds nice: but it is (inadvertently) a straw man. [It LITERALLY is likely true but you are attempting to use it to mean something else] The claim that something can APPEAR to have human level-intelligence is NOT the same as the claim that something HAS human-level intelligence. Remember the ice berg, and remember the communication of the product of intelligence is not the same as the presence of intelligence. IMHO You may have starting thinking about the definition of intelligence in terms of the rationalists (the many non Objectivists who you have referenced).... some of whom no doubt equate the concept intelligence with anything which produces what we see intelligent things as communicating. For centuries only rational humans (no animals or plants) could add 2+2 to get 4. A naïve person, looking at the output of a calculator (or an abacus for that matter) and without knowing how it works, might equate the paltry superficial product of the "symbol 4" in response to the input of symbols 2, +, and 2, with the kind of intelligence we need to add 2 + 2 in our minds and say "4", and hence that person might ascribe human intelligence (even rationality of some kind) to the machine. On getting to the "4" which is communicated, a human and a abacus are not the same and do not do the same things: that they produce the same superficial result is not indicative of how that result was produced. What intelligence IS, is not simply taking inputs and producing outputs... intelligence is not only "processing information". In fact, the word intelligence, which predates calculating machines by centuries, implicitly means a specific kind of higher consciousness, which plants and insects lack, and which Dolphins, Chimps and Man possess (to varying degrees). Although intelligent consciousnesses can process information, processing information is not the process of intelligent conscious thought itself. The RATIONALISTS have taken the concept of a type of consciousness in reality and attempted to redefine it in terms of abstract information, which is disastrous and anti-conceptual... it involves some wall of evasion, non-integration or is anti-effort...therefore, I posit that a sufficiently trained behemoth CAN impersonate a RATIONALIST... ............... I'd like to add we are fallible, and finite. A sufficiently sophisticated machine can generate an image which looks absolutely real up to the precision of our eyes, in terms of resolution, our knowledge of shading and perspective, and our experience of things in the real world. Our ability to consciously (unaided by scientific instrumentation) identify aspects of reality are limited, even if you were to ascribe high regard to intuition and pattern recognition, we can now be gamed by artificial pictures, sounds and video, (to varying degrees in various contexts) but one day the behemoths will be able to fake all of these and more to a point an unaided human would be unable to tell an artificial scene from a real one. I propose that in principle, the this kind of gaming of a finite fallible individual consciousness is in principle unlimited (only limited by the then current level of brute processing power), and eventually an unaided individual can and will be fooled by a blind behemoth of sufficient training and capacity. THIS WILL HAPPEN FOR THE NORMAL TURING TEST RELATIVELY SOON (<100 years). I WILL AGREE with you that given an army of scientists and likewise an unlimited time and scientific instrumentation with commensurate processing power on its side, studying text messages from a fixed capacity behemoth "of disguise", the sham would EVENTUALLY be revealed through scientific investigation. ........ On the flip side, I would NOT support a claim that JUST BECAUSE a single particular individual (no matter how smart) was fooled (for no matter how long... a decade of texting?) that the entity on the other side was human, that we MUST THEREFORE CONCLUDE that irrespective of whatever WE KNOW the thing on the other side to BE, it must be the case that it ACTUALLY WAS conscious. That would be a "GET AWAY WITH IT" card if I ever saw one. The mere fact that something APPEARS through text communication to possess human intelligence to a finite person over any finite time, does NOT mean that something MUST be conscious... ALL it means is that it was sophisticated enough to APPEAR so... and appearances can be (and in this case ARE) deceiving. One look under the hood and this sham evaporates. What should we call what we have achieved when this happens? NOT consciousness, or sentience or human intelligence... indeed it is not intelligence at all. Recall the story about the man who was confused about what kind of Elephant a Toy Elephant was... "we have big elephants and smart elephants and toy elephants... they all are KINDS of elephants aren't they?" He is conflating the identity of a REAL animal with variations in size and smarts, with something which is actually only a TOY in the shape of (i.e. which mimics the outer three dimensional form of) an Elephant and not a kind of Elephant at all. Artificial Intelligence is not intelligence any kind, not any more than a Toy Elephant is a any kind of Elephant. But in as much as "Toy Elephant" is perfectly valid to describe a TOY which looks like an Elephant, "Artificial Intelligence" is perfectly valid to describe something artificial which takes on the appearance of intelligence. ............ The rationalists secretly dream of a day when they can FOOL everyone, FOOL them all about there being a human on the other side of a paltry little text machine... and through evasion and anti-concepts fool them into thinking that their blind gargantuan of a toy is sentient. They sigh with ecstasy at the thought of one day announcing to the world of fools: LO, WE HAVE CREATED CONSCIOUSNESS ... LOOK UPON IT AND WONDER! That day, likely before my death, I'll be shaking my head in disappointment and disgust... as any good Objectivist would.
  4. I see what you are getting at, and I tend to agree with you. I do note however, that the time period for “eventual” discovery and the level of critical investigation required to reveal the masquerade would increase in proportion to the sheer size and power of the algorithm and the training it had... (Imagine a super Watson, 1000 programmers, writers and trainers, developing a fictional backstory for a specific fake person with a consistent fake history in loving detail, years “conversing” with people to get its “personality” straight and perhaps decades of Turing tests with random people..). “Eventually” could mean a very long interrogation of highly sophisticated testing (which was the same kind of thing used to train the thing!!!)...likely time durations longer than what was used to test and correct it during training would be required to finally discover the sham. And imitation of human flaws of course would be built in as well... This thing would likely satisfy Turing’s original test quite handily... but eventually... perhaps the sham would reveal itself... using your more strict test. I can’t help but think if the developers know the rules of the tests, the kinds of statistics or queues relied on to detect a sham... they would figure out a way to train the behemoth to game those aspects as well... Anywho... this is all statistics and child’s play compared to making something which undeniably IS conscious.
  5. What about a human which was assembled ... not grown from non human DNA, a human assembled atom by atom?
  6. MS's position logically implies (or relies upon) accepting that "Man" cannot construct any "animal", or that if he were to succeed in doing so (other than by breeding animals...) the resulting entity, even though identical to an animal in every physical, chemical, and biological respect, in reality would lack a kind of "essence" some kind of "animalness", in the thing, which is quite separate from (and in addition to) the identity of what the thing is as a consequence purely of its natural constituent makeup: physical, chemical, biological... i.e. his position implies there is a something more to it... and because of that, a manmade animal by definition would be "artificial" and not an "animal".
  7. Ha. Strong words. Note, I said “long before”... Step back a bit. Let me ask some questions. Is your Turing test a text only no peaking type test with average human beings doing the judging of who or what is on the other side? How long is your Turing test? 10 minutes? 2 hours? 1 day? What raw memory capacity, raw processing power, brute pattern associating, unthinking genetic or neural net algorithms are you limiting your non conscious aspiring impersonator to? How many people, stories, conversations are you limiting your impersonating behemoth to? Is the blind nonthinking system permitted to generate a random personal backstory with events and words to describe thoughts and feelings and experiences reported as associated with those events (similar to what it observed others reporting about events and thoughts and feelings etc). Is it allowed access to hours and hours of television petabytes of literature? Is the internally silent monstrosity trainee in its patterns corrected in what it reports it thinks feels etc through training and “cognitive” therapy? How many years of training and creation would it take for a sufficiently sophisticated zombie to take on what looks like a personality filled with history and enough trickery to consistently and convincingly provide text messages over a short time span, such that a person simply cannot tell who or what is on the other side? This is why I say Long before... long before real consciousness is produced.
  8. I think you are conflating the vast and deep complexity of consciousness (and the subconscious) with its vanishingly small and superficial surface appearances. The words we finally use to communicate what we think, feel, and experience at surface consciousness are nothing compared to what is actually happening when we think, feel, and experience. Making a non conscious thing communicate words to sound like a thinking, feeling, experiencing human, although difficult, is laughably simple compared to making sure a complex system is and does what is necessary for an actual consciousness, which is thinking, feeling, and experiencing. There is more to a book, an iceberg, and a human... than what’s on the surface ... you have to look closely inside and beneath the surface to really understand... If everything about a conscious person thinking, feeling, and experiencing could be fully observed and understood... so that the waves of activity electrical and chemical in sequence and by locality (and globally) could be fully understood, and what about them was important and how, we might know what kind of different complex kind of appearances together are a sure indicator for consciousness in some other complex system... strings of words my friend do not cut it... non thinking AI will fool us long before anything like “Real synthetic I” comes to be. I think an an error of the rationalists in their theory of mind is the conflation of the products of the mind with what mind is and is doing. The mind is doing a lot more than processing information, so much more that comparing a human brain with an algorithm is laughable. The Chinese room is an empty and meaningless toy of a rationalist. PS The zombie argument is a nonstarter with an Objectivist view of existence and identity. In principle there is EVERY reason to believe we will create a synthetic consciousness, once we understand scientifically what it really is... in the FAR future.
  9. Ha! Well we’ll see how it goes. I just happen to be rereading the series now as well... 4rth or 5th time?
  10. Suzanne Ciani is an accomplished new age artist... who is quite a piano composer as well. Interestingly though... "new age" is not so new anymore... Hope she inspires!
  11. Things are what they are, they are not where they are from. Human DNA has a certain structure... a certain sequence. DNA from a human has a certain origin, but if I extract virus DNA from a sick person that does not mean it is human DNA, it encodes nothing about humans... just the virus... it’s DNA from a human but not human DNA. Me and my wife can make a human, it’s manmade but biological ... and we did not have intimate control of all the processes we set into motion... but the end result, if we could have recreated exactly using other methods (currently impossible) would still be the same end result, a person. If two different methods make the exact same type of thing, a perfect copy, then by the nature of the things, their structure and their function, the things are the same, it does not depend upon their origin. Of course one atom being exactly the same as another does not mean two atoms are really one atom... it just means they are exactly the same. Anywho, feels like an argument and sounds like we disagree so... you can have the last word.
  12. I disagree. A human DNA molecule is a human DNA molecule by virtue of how it is structured atom by atom not where it came from.
  13. I suppose once he ceases to be a rational conscious animal ... once a machine, he would more correctly be a post-human. As for the property of consciousness, we currently have no idea what is it about the brain and what the brain does that actually constitutes what consciousness is... so I cannot even say whether such a thing requires biological, electrochemical processes to exist.... or whether processes which silicon can perform can constitute it... in the end, recall a machine running a simulation is not the same thing as the thing it is attempting to simulate. All a machine running a simulation does is take information as input and transform it into other information which it outputs from time to time.... and although that finally transformed information can be made to look like something (air turbulence expected to form on a formula one race car), or be put into words which mimic what a human might communicate (as generated by so called AI), what the machine running the simulation is and does is wholly different from the thing it mimics.
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