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Can man mechanically recreate consciousness?

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LadyAttis
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Basically I have a more Asimovian view of robots and AI with regard to that they're not going to be inherently diabolical[sp?] critters out to kill our species off. In some ways, I've wondered if we'll be the ones killing the AI's off. Even though many of us here, being objective in thought or full-blown Objectivists wouldn't consider harming another entity unless it becomes a clear and present threat to our persons doesn't mean those that don't think objectively and are Non-Objectvists won't try to wipe out this potentially new form of intelligence. I really think in some ways with the furtherance of fundumentalism/transcedentalistic-thought[as I call it] will lead us to an eventual new Holocaust. The Holocaust of the machine. I wonder what you all think about that? And the possibilities with regard to how such AIs would react under such a situation... o.O

-- Bridget

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Basically I have a more Asimovian view of robots and AI with regard to that they're not going to be inherently diabolical[sp?] critters out to kill our species off. In some ways, I've wondered if we'll be the ones killing the AI's off. Even though many of us here, being objective in thought or full-blown Objectivists wouldn't consider harming another entity unless it becomes a clear and present threat to our persons doesn't mean those that don't think objectively and are Non-Objectvists won't try to wipe out this potentially new form of intelligence. I really think in some ways with the furtherance of fundumentalism/transcedentalistic-thought[as I call it] will lead us to an eventual new Holocaust. The Holocaust of the machine. I wonder what you all think about that? And the possibilities with regard to how such AIs would react under such a situation... o.O

Regarding "robots and AI," in Objectivism the fundamental right to life is reserved for a being with volitional consciousness. There is no scientific basis to think that programming a robot will create anything else but a machine, so any supposed "holocaust" makes no sense.

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Good call. Either the being is rational and has rights or is not and has no rights. No holocaust neccessary. Maybe we should amend the constitutional language ahead of time though. "All rational beings are created equal."

Also, concerning drones, aren't we about to have robots do all our work for us? I think it's very possible. If they could get them to recognize "competing textures" using refined sensors or radar or something, then drones might be able to recognize almost any situation. They could download programs off the internet written to allow them to understand certain situations at a time.

Is it mentioned seriously by anyone? I know Sony and Honda have some pretty amazing robots>

http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Press/200312/03-060E/' target='_blank'>

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LOL. Well on a serious front the fact we're getting better at AI and etc doesn't really leave much room with regard to it being called arbitrary nor fantasy. Although we're just master insect-like robotics, it doesn't mean that sooner or later, with the advent of quantum computers[and their fine ability as we know from use, to factor numbers and etc] will open the door to forming rational machines if you could call them rational and a machine at the same time. To me it's very important to lay down the basic views of how intelligence of a non-human form would be treated to ensure also to a greater extent that fellow humans will get the basics of Rand's views with regard to human rights and etc. If you understand where I'm going with all this...

-- Bridget

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LOL. Well on a serious front the fact we're getting better at AI and etc doesn't really leave much room with regard to it being called arbitrary nor fantasy. Although we're just master insect-like robotics, it doesn't mean that sooner or later, with the advent of quantum computers[and their fine ability as we know from use, to factor numbers and etc] will open the door to forming rational machines if you could call them rational and a machine at the same time.

Rationality refers to a volitional consciousness; what does that have to do with a programmed machine? Also, whatever does quantum mechanics have to do with this? Even if eventually we have a quantum computer, it still remains that it is a computer, not a volitional consciousness.

To me it's very important to lay down the basic views of how intelligence of a non-human form would be treated to ensure also to a greater extent that fellow humans will get the basics of Rand's views with regard to human rights and etc. If you understand where I'm going with all this...

Frankly, no, I do not understand. The issue is not simply a "non-human form" of intelligence, but rather one of an entiity that possesses a volitional consciousness. Clearly an an alien life-form from another galaxy would possess a full complement of rights if it functioned by a volitional consciousness, but programmed machines are neither volitional nor conscious. Instead of being so concerned with protecting the supposed rights of machines, perhaps you should instead question the premises that you are operating under in regard to just what those machines actually are.

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Well my question is how would you treat an AI? If it was advanced enough to be like in a similar fashion to us. You seem to be assuming I'm talking about current AI. Also quantum computers would have vastly superior ways to write a system of logic that would operate more true to the idea of intelligence and etc. Current computers can barely be used to form contextual information systems.

-- Bridget

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Well my question is how would you treat an AI?

No. The first question to ask is what you think an AI is. (I myself have already noted, more than once, that it is fundamentally important to distinguish a volitional consciousness from a machine, regardless of how sophisticated the machine is.)

If it was advanced enough to be like in a similar fashion to us. You seem to be assuming I'm talking about current AI.
No matter how advanced, there is a fundamental difference between the behavior of a volitional consciousness and the mimicking behavior of a machine.

Also quantum computers would have vastly superior ways to write a system of logic that would operate more true to the idea of intelligence and etc. Current computers can barely be used to form contextual information systems.

The degree of complexity and the speed of operation is irrelevant to the fundamental difference between the actions of a volitional consciousness and the actions of a non-volitional, non-conscious machine.

I think you may be holding some fuzzy notion of an AI in your mind, and it is that fuzziness that enables you to somehow attribute to a non-volitional non-conscious device that which is in the province of a rational mind. I will also note that virtually the entire field of AI is beset by a similar confusion. While the technological advances in the field are spectacular, the general lack of understanding of the nature of consciousness by its adherents leads to wild speculation disconnected from reality throughout the field of AI.

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No. The first question to ask is what you think an AI is.  (I myself have already noted, more than once, that it is fundamentally important to distinguish a volitional consciousness from a machine, regardless of how sophisticated the machine is.)

So um it must make itself e.g. 'volition[to act on its own]'? That's a big arbitrary. By that same token, human thought isn't volitional but a system that reacts to previous actions, casuality. That's pretty much what you leave yourself with if you can't accept that AI can and maybe very soon think like us.

No matter how advanced, there is a fundamental difference between the behavior of a volitional consciousness and the mimicking behavior of a machine.

The degree of complexity and the speed of operation is irrelevant to the fundamental difference between the actions of a volitional consciousness and the actions of a non-volitional, non-conscious machine.

You haven't validated this. You could easily say that apes and young children mimic as well from their parents. But that isn't so if you accept Operant Conditioning of Behaviorist Psychology. A response to a stimulus that produces a viable action but not directly dictated by the stimulus itself. :P

I think you may be holding some fuzzy notion of an AI in your mind, and it is that fuzziness that enables you to somehow attribute to a non-volitional non-conscious device that which is in the province of a rational mind. I will also note that virtually the entire field of AI is beset by a similar confusion. While the technological advances in the field are spectacular, the general lack of understanding of the nature of consciousness by its adherents leads to wild speculation disconnected from reality throughout the field of AI.

Conscious means to be aware at the very basic level. Even fish to a point are aware or conscious. Please please please before you think you know the basics of psychology, use the terminology correctly. And again you haven't defined this volitional thingy attached to the concept of mere awareness. Awareness by itself means nothing unless you add the concept of sapience, or thinking. Cameras are aware, they can even take your picture with the proper stimulus[you pressing its shutter button]. You really need to straighten many of these arguments of yours out.

-- Bridget

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Volition \Vo*li"tion\, n. [F., fr. L. volo I will, velle to

  will, be willing. See Voluntary.]

  1. The act of willing or choosing; the act of forming a

        purpose; the exercise of the will.

conscious

    adj 1: intentionally conceived; "a conscious effort to speak more

              slowly"; "a conscious policy" [syn: witting]

    2: knowing and perceiving; having awareness of surroundings and

          sensations and thoughts; "remained conscious during the

          operation"; "conscious of his faults"; "became conscious

          that he was being followed" [ant: unconscious]

o_O Do you agree to these terms?

-- Bridget

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So um it must make itself e.g. 'volition[to act on its own]'? That's a big arbitrary. By that same token, human thought isn't volitional but a system that reacts to previous actions, casuality. That's pretty much what you leave yourself with if you can't accept that AI can and maybe very soon think like us.

Until now I just assumed you were aware of the Objectivist view of volition. That does not seem to be the case, so I will briefly explain. The volitional is contrasted with the determined; it is that which is freely chosen from two or more alternatives. The operation of the rational mind is not automatic, i.e., it is not determined, and the process of human thought is a process guided by choice. The form of that choice has a primary nature and it lies in the single act of focus. To focus the mind is to raise the level of awareness to be in accord with the facts of reality with which one must deal. This choice to focus is an irreducible primary that governs the operation of the mind, a fundamental method of self-regulation of awareness. Consciousness is unique to biological entities, and volition is unique to the consciousness of man, none of which applies to a mechanistic AI.

You haven't validated this. You could easily say that apes and young children mimic as well from their parents. But that isn't so if you accept Operant Conditioning of Behaviorist Psychology. A response to a stimulus that produces a viable action but not directly dictated by the stimulus itself. :P

Behaviorism is just a form of psychological determinism, and as such it is self-contradictory and is therefore excluded from serious philosophic or scientific consideration. Man is distinct from other animals in that he is self-aware and he regulates the action of his own consciousness, whereas other conscious animals function automatically under biological control.

Conscious means to be aware at the very basic level. Even fish to a point are aware or conscious. Please please please before you think you know the basics of psychology, use the terminology correctly. And again you haven't defined this volitional thingy attached to the concept of mere awareness. Awareness by itself means nothing unless you add the concept of sapience, or thinking. Cameras are aware, they can even take your picture with the proper stimulus[you pressing its shutter button].

You need to learn to distinguish life from inanimate matter. Living entities are goal-directed and self-regulating in nature, two principles by which life becomes self-sustaining action. In animals that regulatory behavior incorporates the ability to be conscious of the external world, and in man it includes the ability to regulate the actions of his own consciousness. By contrast a camera is a crafted electro-mechanical device composed of inanimate matter that operates completely under physically deterministic principles according to the purpose set by the designer. The fact that a camera can register an image of the world external to it, is completely and totally unrelated to the faculty of awareness in those living entities which possess it.

You really need to straighten many of these arguments of yours out.
I try to make do with my limited means. :P
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Until now I just assumed you were aware of the Objectivist view of volition. That does not seem to be the case, so I will briefly explain. The volitional is contrasted with the determined; it is that which is freely chosen from two or more alternatives. The operation of the rational mind is not automatic, i.e., it is not determined, and the process of human thought is a process guided by choice. The form of that choice has a primary nature and it lies in the single act of focus. To focus the mind is to raise the level of awareness to be in accord with the facts of reality with which one must deal. This choice to focus is an irreducible primary that governs the operation of the mind, a fundamental method of self-regulation of awareness. Consciousness is unique to biological entities, and volition is unique to the consciousness of man, none of which applies to a mechanistic AI.
Actually Apes have volitional thinking like humans. Chimps have the most like that of humans.

Behaviorism is just a form of psychological determinism, and as such it is self-contradictory and is therefore excluded from serious philosophic or scientific consideration.  Man is distinct from other animals in that he is self-aware and he regulates the action of his own consciousness, whereas other conscious animals function automatically under biological control.

Um Behaviorism of BF Skinner and Ed Thorndike is scientific by default. You really need to read up on the basics of Psychology. There's two major fields of study. 1. Behaviorism[instead of trying to figure out the thought processes of an organism, a behaviorist tries to figure out how an organism responds to stimulus...this eventually lead to...] 2. Cognitivism[A body of work in psychology that has validated that all organisms, even mice, has internal processes going on in the brain that tend to be independent of stimulus response. This has been observed with mice acting on 'mental maps' of mazes that were altered but were similar to previous mazes they're encountered]... So really you claim two major movements in psychology aren't scientific? What rubbish, come back and prove that claim or you can simply retract your claim. I think you really don't get science. :P

You need to learn to distinguish life from inanimate matter.  Living entities are goal-directed and self-regulating in nature, two principles by which life becomes self-sustaining action. In animals that regulatory behavior incorporates the ability to be conscious of the external world, and in man it includes the ability to regulate the actions of his own consciousness. By contrast a camera is a crafted electro-mechanical device composed of inanimate matter that operates completely under physically deterministic principles according to the purpose set by the designer. The fact that a camera can register an image of the world external to it, is completely and totally unrelated to the faculty of awareness in those living entities which possess it. 

Still consciousness isn't merely some magical property of 'organic matter.' It's obviously a natural phenomena built on natural premises. You can't devoid consciousness from the constraints of reality. To do so is to be a transcendentalist and not an objectivist with regard to acceptance of reality. :P

-- Bridget

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By the way, Bridget, one cannot simply use emoticons to change a derisive remark into some form of entertainment. I don't find your disrespect to be humorous at all. Actually, it is almost funny that you would tell a true scholar of science that he "doesn't get science."

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Actually Apes have volitional thinking like humans. Chimps have the most like that of humans.

And you know this how? Via introspection we each identify our own volitional consciousness, and we infer the same in others of our kind based on our observations that they too act in accord with our nature as human beings. On what scientific basis do you assert that "Apes have volitional thinking like humans?"

Um Behaviorism of BF Skinner and Ed Thorndike is scientific by default.  You really need to read up on the basics of Psychology. There's two major fields of study. 1. Behaviorism[instead of trying to figure out the thought processes of an organism, a behaviorist tries to figure out how an organism responds to stimulus...this eventually lead to...]2.  Cognitivism[A body of work in psychology that has validated that all organisms, even mice, has internal processes going on in the brain that tend to be independent of stimulus response. This has been observed with mice acting on 'mental maps' of mazes that were altered but were similar to previous mazes they're encountered]... So really you claim two major movements in psychology aren't scientific? What rubbish, come back and prove that claim or you can simply retract your claim. I think you really don't get science. :P

You do not do justice to my claim. I do not claim that just "two major movements in psychology aren't scientific," but rather that the entire field of psychology has been self-contradictory since its inception and that no major movement in psychology has ever risen to the level worthy of being called scientific in principle. That is not to say that experimental psychology has not accumulated a broad range of scientific data over the past century, but by "major movement in psychology" I mean a coherent set of principles and ideas that are induced from these facts of reality and that are consonant with the nature of the volitional consciousness possessed by man. In this regard, in terms of psychological theories to explain the behavior of man, the entire field of psychology has been an absymal failure.

You seem to have bought into a whole bunch of nonsense which passes as science in the field of behavior and psychology. I would advise you to take the time to study the Objectivist writings which provide both a philosophic and scientific context for these fields. There are many detailed articles in The Objectivist Newsletter, The Objectivist, The Ayn Rand Letter, The Objectivist Forum, as well as numerous compilations in books and lectures on tape, all of which are available from the Ayn Rand Bookstore. Specifically, in regard to Skinner and behaviorism, Ayn Rand wrote a series of brilliant critical articles prompted by Skinner's book Beyond Freedom and Dignity. There were four articles starting in the January 17, 1972 issue of The Ayn Rand Letter and continuing through the February 28, 1972 issue. Some, if not all, of that material is reprinted in her compilation book Philosophy: Who Needs It.

In the Objectivist corpus there are many, many other articles on psychology, consciousness, volition, determinism, etc. that might help you to gain a proper perspective on these issues.

Still consciousness isn't merely some magical property of 'organic matter.' It's obviously a natural phenomena built on natural premises.  You can't devoid consciousness from the constraints of reality. To do so is to be a transcendentalist and not an objectivist with regard to acceptance of reality. :P

Reality shows us that the existence of consciousness depends upon the brain of the biological entity in which that brain resides. That does not mean, however, that consciousness is reducible to matter. Life is reducible to the biochemical processess of organic matter, but consciousness is not reducible to the neural processes of the brain. AI, in the sense that you continue to use it, is an arbitrary myth devoid of meaning and significance.

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I have never understood the appeal behind the idea of so-called "conscious" machines. So many Objectivists seem to be gravely mistaken on this issue, specifically on the nature of consciousness. This issue has come up in several forms in the Metaphysics and Epistemology forum.

For some, it is a desire for an automatic, effortless consciousness on the premise that "Thinking well is too much %#@* trouble. I wish a machine could do it for me."

Personally, before we get machines that can think, I'd like to see more people who could think.

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And you know this how? Via introspection we each identify our own volitional consciousness, and we infer the same in others of our kind based on our observations that they too act in accord with our nature as human beings. On what scientific basis do you assert that "Apes have volitional thinking like humans?"

Introspection isn't objective. So that I don't go with. Also on apes being volitional. Well they do what they want to do. And when we teach them sign language, atleast what they want to learn, they'll invent their own forms of sign language to infer an insult to the teacher[think of kids that say doo-doo head and etc. Also this trait is noticed in children who have to learn sign language as well].

You do not do justice to my claim. I do not claim that just "two major movements in psychology aren't scientific," but rather that the entire field of psychology has been self-contradictory since its inception and that no major movement in psychology has ever risen to the level worthy of being called scientific in principle. That is not to say that experimental psychology has not accumulated a broad range of scientific data over the past century, but by "major movement in psychology" I mean a coherent set of principles and ideas that are induced from these facts of reality and that are consonant with the nature of the volitional consciousness possessed by man. In this regard, in terms of psychological theories to explain the behavior of man, the entire field of psychology has been an absymal failure.
According to whom? Just because it's a big and changing field doesn't mean it's science. From what I gather, you haven't studied science nor understand the basis of science. If you want static models and absolute paradigms go to a little place that has a book on an alter, it's called a Church. If you want science, you goto a university where people debate and make experiments.

You seem to have bought into a whole bunch of nonsense which passes as science in the field of behavior and psychology. I would advise you to take the time to study the Objectivist writings which provide both a philosophic and scientific context for these fields. There are many detailed articles in The Objectivist Newsletter, The Objectivist, The Ayn Rand Letter, The Objectivist Forum, as well as numerous compilations in books and lectures on tape, all of which are available from the Ayn Rand Bookstore.  Specifically, in regard to Skinner and behaviorism, Ayn Rand wrote a series of brilliant critical articles prompted by Skinner's book Beyond Freedom and Dignity. There were four articles starting in the January 17, 1972 issue of The Ayn Rand Letter and continuing through the February 28, 1972 issue. Some, if not all, of that material is reprinted in her compilation book Philosophy: Who Needs It.

Has Rand ever done any experiments? What about case studies? Any statistical research like surveys? To my knowledge she was a brilliant writer and even poet but no scientist.

In the Objectivist corpus there are many, many other articles on psychology, consciousness, volition, determinism, etc. that might help you to gain a proper perspective on these issues.

Reality shows us that the existence of consciousness depends upon the brain of the biological entity in which that brain resides. That does not mean, however, that consciousness is reducible to matter. Life is reducible to the biochemical processess of organic matter, but consciousness is not reducible to the neural processes of the brain. AI, in the sense that you continue to use it, is an arbitrary myth devoid of meaning and significance.

No reality teaches us we don't know much about the brain, you're rationalizing ignorance.

-- Bridget

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For some, it is a desire for an automatic, effortless consciousness on the premise that "Thinking well is too much %#@* trouble.  I wish a machine could do it for me."

Personally, before we get machines that can think, I'd like to see more people who could think.

Yea I need one that will do my homework. :dough:

-- Bridget

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No, other people like Galileo Galilei and etc, formulated what we use what is called science. :dough:

-- Bridget

I have been very puzzled by your posts. Some, for example, are so grammatically garbled that I can barely understand them. Perhaps your answers to the following questions will help me:

(1) Are you writing English as a second language?

I wonder because of strange sentence structure, as in the example above, and in nonsensical phrases such as "and etc." Are you aware that "etc." is an abbreviation for et cetera, a Latin phrase meaning "and so forth." Hence "and etc" means "and and so forth." It doesn't make sense.

(2) How much of Ayn Rand's philosophy do you agree with?

(3) Do you understand the role of philosophy as a cognitive foundation of the specialized sciences such as primatology or physics?

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1. I'm sorry if I don't type well enough for you but I prefer to get my thoughts down as quick as possible.

2. I pretty much agree with her position but I do have points of contention on her seemingly misinterpretation of science. And of course her views on homosexuality/transgenderism are another point I have problems with as well.

3. Yes, philosophy has a significant role in how to frame our investigations. But if the investigations themselves yield facts that seem not to work to the advantage of the framing then two things must occur. 1. The information yielded is wrong in some way, maybe statistical errors and so forth. 2. The premises that yielded the information are wrong but the information itself is still true to a point.

-- Bridget

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Introspection isn't objective. So that I don't go with.

That's interesting. One wonders what you mean by "objective." Certainly whatever your notion of the "objective" it must be unrelated to its meaning in Objectivist philosophy, since in Objectivism introspection is just as perfectly objective and valid as is extrospection. In your "introduction" post you referred to yourself as "a fellow objectivist" and indicated that you have "been studying it for quite some time." But the more that you write the clearer it becomes that you are quite ignorant of Objectivist philosophy -- indeed, I would also say that the views you express are opposed to Objectivism -- so I wonder just what it is that you have been studying for this long? What have you actually read on the philosophy of Objectivism?

Also on apes being volitional. Well they do what they want to do. And when we teach them sign language, atleast what they want to learn, they'll invent their own forms of sign language to infer an insult to the teacher[think of kids that say doo-doo head and etc. Also this trait is noticed in children who have to learn sign language as well].

Have you already lost sight of the meaning of "volitional?" I discussed what the term means so that we can use similar concepts but here you have not answered at all the question I asked about the assertion you made.

According to whom? Just because it's a big and changing field doesn't mean it's science. From what I gather, you haven't studied science nor understand the basis of science. If you want static models and absolute paradigms go to a little place that has a book on an alter, it's called a Church. If you want science, you goto a university where people debate and make experiments.

Has Rand ever done any experiments? What about case studies? Any statistical research like surveys? To my knowledge she was a brilliant writer and even poet but no scientist.

You seem to often miss the point and respond instead with derogatory statements that are unrelated to the issue you should have addressed. My whole discussion relating science, psychology, experimental data, and the nature of consciousness seems to have just whizzed right by you. Same in regard to Ayn Rand. Miss Rand made no pretense about being a scientist, but she proudly and rightfully proclaimed her philosophical expertise.

Philosophy forms the base for scientific investigation, and while adhering to a proper philosophy cannot guarantee scientific truth, adhering to an improper philosophy will virtually guarantee scientific falsehoods. A proper scientifc method is itself based on an either implicit or explict view of both epistemology and metaphysics. In the past century those views that have risen to the level of a theory in the behavioral sciences have suffered from a philosophical base that is more approriate to mystical incantation than for science. I also do not think it coincidental that your own formulations are rather muddled and suffer from a similarly poor epistemological base as do the few ideas that you have parroted without any real understanding.

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