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View Diary: Computerized Brain To Be Completed by 2020 (180 comments)

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  •  Again, what is the definition (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, The Hindsight Times

    because without any sort of definition, which is what the "technological" definition seems to be, there's really no more or less conscious.  We have to be able to show what we're getting closer or further from if we want to know if we're getting closer or further.

    As someone who has a background studying this sort of this, consciousness, personhood, etc. I find it frustrating when people hand-wave away the issue.

    The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

    by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:03:52 PM PST

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    •  That's why I distinguish the technology problem (0+ / 0-)

      from the philosophical problem.

      When you look at the color blue, and you experience blue, is there something special going on there that a computer programmed to scan blue objects will never share?  And when you evaluate all your thoughts and ideas, are your reactions in some ways similar to how you experience blue?

      When you reach that level of thinking, then we start to get into whether there's some kind of essence to consciousness.  I would argue, however, that whatever that essence is, though it might be very human, might not be essential to being FUNCTIONALLY conscious.  For instance, bees can see colors -- more colors than you and me, in fact.  Yet are they conscious?  If colors are something dumb creatures can do, I don't see that magic perception of color to be essential to consciousness.

      Also, we could program a computer to have some kind of reaction to the color blue that stimulates other thoughts, if we wanted to make it more like us, more likely to go Oooooh and Ahhhh...  The color blue might be programmed to stimulate associations with things that are calming or safe or pleasing, for instance.  

      •  That would be creating computers (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo, Garrett, The Hindsight Times

        that can behave in certain ways.  That's what things like the Turing test are for, and it's entirely possible that we can and will create a computer that can mimic a computer.  But that has nothing to do with consciousness.

        Consciousness is a subjective experience, by definition.  What you're talking about is behavior.  When you talk about behavior it is completely different than the experience of consciousness.

        I'd add that what we're really talking about in regards to consciousness is self-consciousness.  Bees are conscious to some extent but they pretty clearly aren't self-conscious.

        The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 04:38:14 PM PST

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        •  That's why I distinguish the problems. (0+ / 0-)

          We could achieve an AI consciousness that satisfies all our behavioral desires and still argue about whether it's a "real" consciousness because of invisible matters of essence.  Whether it meets the definition we set or not, from a technological point of view, its' better to make an AI consciousness that just BEHAVES like one rather than one that has essence but... perhaps, doesn't want to talk with us, or is just sullen and unhelpful and alien.

          But let's think about this, whether behavior of consciousness is the same thing as consciousness.  Lots of debate on that.  

          Here's my take:

          We don't exist as brains or as computers.  We are abstract structures, like the characters in Dickens' David Copperfield.  The book might be printed on paper with ink, but the paper and ink are irrelevant, and David Copperfield is the same whether it's on audiobook or a PDF or just something I remember reading.  Create the abstract structures similar to a consciousness and the defined abstract behaviors that are necessary to the way we change and act as if aware, and you may have created a consciousness.

          •  An AI that satisfies our behavioral (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dumbo, The Hindsight Times

            desires is completely beside the point of consciousness, and especially self consciousness.  Objective behavior is completely separate from subjective self-consciousness.  Maybe we're just talking past each other here.  I think it's entirely possible that we'll have computers that will mimic the actions of entities that we consider self-conscious, but the question of consciousness is entirely separate.  In fact, we have done almost no study on the question beyond the realm of philosophy, which is fine for what it is.  How can we create something we can't even define?

            The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 05:35:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Bees are not self-conscious (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dumbo

          And you know this how, exactly? As opposed to assuming that you know the level (if any) of their consciousness?  Bertrand Russell ascribed his interest in philosophy to a nanny who informed the little boy that eating fish was fine because fish feel no pain. Russell even at 5 years old asked himself "How does she know that?"

          "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

          by Reston history guy on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 05:24:04 PM PST

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          •  While we can't say that certain (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dumbo

            behaviors are indicative of self-consciousness, we can say that self-consciousness entails certain behaviors such as self recognition, which bees lack.  And if they aren't conscious then what are they, unconscious?  Subconscious?  There isn't a term to describe activity except for consciousness, although I admit that there may be some other state that we don't really have a name for, perhaps controlled or something similar.

            In terms of fish feeling pain, I would say that's more complicated and it isn't clear whether or not they do, depending on what we consider pain.  They certainly act as if they feel pain, and they have the requisite nervous system, but beyond that it becomes a bit of a moot point.

            The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 05:30:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Drone bees don't have any trouble (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Garrett, Dumbo

              recognizing a queen.  Worker bees can recognize drones, because they kick them out in the Fall.  Bees can distinguish their own hive from another hive.  I think its a stretch to claim that bees aren't self aware.

              The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

              by MadScientist on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 07:36:24 PM PST

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              •  Awareness of others isn't self-awareness (0+ / 0-)

                As should be obvious.  This isn't even an argument to be made.  Self-recognition == recognition of one's self.

                I think its a stretch to claim that bees aren't self aware.
                I don't believe that you think that, I think you're playing devil's advocate.

                The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                by AoT on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:13:34 AM PST

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