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Old 13th August 2019, 07:35 AM   #121
theprestige
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
If you don't read Chinese and respond to written questions in Chinese characters someone else directs you to write, are you understanding Chinese?
No, but the system is understanding Chinese.

I'm not sure what this question is supposed to reveal. We know that non-thinking components can be combined into thinking systems. The only weirdness here is using thinking systems as non-thinking components in a thinking system. Which is definitely fun-weird, but I don't see that it tells us anything we didn't already know about thinking systems.
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Old 13th August 2019, 07:40 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
No, but the system is understanding Chinese.

I'm not sure what this question is supposed to reveal. We know that non-thinking components can be combined into thinking systems. The only weirdness here is using thinking systems as non-thinking components in a thinking system. Which is definitely fun-weird, but I don't see that it tells us anything we didn't already know about thinking systems.
I was referencing an old thought experiment. A person who can't read Chinese gets written questions. He has a vast series of reference books in which he can look up the characters, but the books don't explain what they mean, they simply direct him "if you see this character and that character in this order, respond with this, that, this". He will write the response as instructed and deliver it, but he doesn't understand either the question or the response. He can't. He's just carrying out preset instructions without comprehending any meaning. That's what computers do. And barring an evolutionary leap into sentience that's all AI can do.
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Old 13th August 2019, 07:44 AM   #123
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Well, except the computer effectively is understanding Chinese.
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Old 13th August 2019, 07:51 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, except the computer effectively is understanding Chinese.
Ask it a question in Chinese using characters it doesn't have a reference for.
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Old 13th August 2019, 07:57 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I was referencing an old thought experiment. A person who can't read Chinese gets written questions. He has a vast series of reference books in which he can look up the characters, but the books don't explain what they mean, they simply direct him "if you see this character and that character in this order, respond with this, that, this". He will write the response as instructed and deliver it, but he doesn't understand either the question or the response. He can't. He's just carrying out preset instructions without comprehending any meaning. That's what computers do. And barring an evolutionary leap into sentience that's all AI can do.
Thanks, I got the reference, but hadn't thought it through yet when I made my reply. It's been a while since I've considered it.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, except the computer effectively is understanding Chinese.
Yes, but there are a couple interesting conundrums in this thought experiment.

First, the system cannot think about its own understanding of Chinese. It is applying rote rules. It can't review and reprocess any of its own processing. It can't evaluate its own rules, nor can it modify or extend them. It didn't even produce its own rules in the first place. This appears to be very unlike the way we function as Chinese-understanding thought machines.

Second... I forget what the second conundrum was supposed to be. Probably I combined the first and second conundrums into the first paragraph. Yeah. Let's go with that.

Anyway, you put a thinking person into this system, and over time they're going to learn a lot of Chinese. Not the semantic content of the symbols, of course. But a lot of the grammar, a lot of the conventional phrases, stuff like that. Give a person ten years on the job, especially if they start young, and then tell them that this character means "house". Suddenly a lot of other meanings will start to fall into place. If that means house, then these phrases probably mean house-related stuff. Fill in a few more gaps and they'll start piecing the semantics together pretty quickly. I'm not sure what - if anything - this has to do with AI, though.
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Old 13th August 2019, 07:58 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Ask it a question in Chinese using characters it doesn't have a reference for.
Ask a person a question in a language they speak but using words that aren't in their vocabulary. The result will be the same.

Dave
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Old 13th August 2019, 07:59 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Ask it a question in Chinese using characters it doesn't have a reference for.
What does this tell us?

I understand a ton of English, but I'm still stumped by English words I've never seen before.
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Old 13th August 2019, 08:32 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
What does this tell us?

I understand a ton of English, but I'm still stumped by English words I've never seen before.
Are you? Does it cause you a degree of pericombobulation?
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Old 13th August 2019, 09:21 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
Ask a person a question in a language they speak but using words that aren't in their vocabulary. The result will be the same.
Except a person can attempt to glean from context, make guesses, seek out more information. A person operating from a set of instructions they've been given can only follow the script.
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Old 13th August 2019, 09:24 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Except a person can attempt to glean from context, make guesses, seek out more information. A person operating from a set of instructions they've been given can only follow the script.
More complex instruction sets are also possible.

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Old 13th August 2019, 09:25 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
What does this tell us?

I understand a ton of English, but I'm still stumped by English words I've never seen before.
But if you know the words around them you can use context. You can make educated guesses from etymology, similar words. Someone following preprogrammed rules can't do that. Because they can't really think about it, they can only follow instructions. Making the instructions vastly elaborate to cover more potential inputs still doesn't actually teach them Chinese.

I think one of the measures of real intelligence would be coming up with an answer that wasn't provided beforehand and can't be reached using the rules given.
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Old 13th August 2019, 09:27 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
More complex instruction sets are also possible.
The more photorealistic a painting is doesn't make it more the thing depicted. Elaborate scripts being followed means the thinking was done by whoever wrote the scripts. The thing following them isn't thinking until it chooses to deviate from the script.
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Old 13th August 2019, 09:29 AM   #133
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
The more photorealistic a painting is doesn't make it more the thing depicted. Elaborate scripts being followed means the thinking was done by whoever wrote the scripts. The thing following them isn't thinking until it chooses to deviate from the script.
You seem to be suggesting that "thinking" is some other process than matter following the laws of physics (i.e. an instruction set). Is that really what you believe?

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Old 13th August 2019, 09:33 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
You seem to be suggesting that "thinking" is some other process than matter following the laws of physics (i.e. an instruction set). Is that really what you believe?
I'm actually arguing the opposite. Thinking is an action living brains can do. It's not something that's being done when a piece of machinery follows rules programmed into it. Nor is it some magical exception to the universal truth that illusion doesn't become real just because it's a very detailed illusion.
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Old 13th August 2019, 05:10 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Unless you have a holodeck a simulation is still just a simulation. A simulated intelligence would simulate thought, but not actually think.
I don’t have a personal motto, but this, picked up during my career in engineering might be it, if I had one, which I don’t.

The pleasurement of measurement outweighs the stimulation of simulation.
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Old 13th August 2019, 05:20 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Just because you can't perceive a difference doesn't mean it's not there. Is that cat over there slumbering peacefully or just brilliantly taxidermied? You can't tell but it makes a hell of a difference to the cat.
If there is a difference that isn't perceptible, is it really a difference at all?
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Old 13th August 2019, 06:15 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I don't know that pain, or it's analogue, would be such a bad idea, but there are also positive rather than negative incentives.
The trouble is that if it really was pain and the machines really were intelligent then it would surely only be a matter of days before the situation was reversed
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Old 13th August 2019, 06:16 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
If there is a difference that isn't perceptible, is it really a difference at all?
Try swapping out original artworks for forgeries at your local museum and see what the judge says on that question!
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Old 13th August 2019, 06:30 PM   #139
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The non-theoretical character of metaphysics would not be in itself a defect; all arts have this non-theoretical character without thereby losing their high value for personal as well as for social life. The danger lies in the deceptive character of metaphysics; it gives the illusion of knowledge without actually giving any knowledge. This is the reason why we reject it. - Rudolf Carnap "Philosophy and Logical Syntax"
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Old 13th August 2019, 06:33 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Try swapping out original artworks for forgeries at your local museum and see what the judge says on that question!
If the difference between the original and the forgery is imperceptible - that means there is a 100% match to all features detectable by any method - then there would be no way for them to tell that I'd done it.
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Old 13th August 2019, 06:34 PM   #141
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Has anyone got a p-shotgun?

I need to headshot all the p-zombies in this thread.
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We can't go back. We don't understand everything yet.
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- xkcd Time (frame 1071-3)
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Old 13th August 2019, 06:44 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
If the difference between the original and the forgery is imperceptible - that means there is a 100% match to all features detectable by any method - then there would be no way for them to tell that I'd done it.
And yet it still wouldn't be the same as the original artwork. Illusion is not reality, even if it's so detailed you can't tell. Thinking that something's real will not make it so. Unless you are a magical wizard.
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Old 13th August 2019, 06:46 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
And yet it still wouldn't be the same as the original artwork. Illusion is not reality, even if it's so detailed you can't tell. Thinking that something's real will not make it so. Unless you are a magical wizard.
It doesn't matter whether it's the original or not - if it's identical in every way, it is indistinguishable from the original, and there is no reason to treat it as though it is not.
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Old 13th August 2019, 07:19 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It doesn't matter whether it's the original or not - if it's identical in every way, it is indistinguishable from the original, and there is no reason to treat it as though it is not.
Does it have the same provenance as the original?

If it wasn't brought into existence by an intentional creative act of the artist, then it's not the same as the original, and there's no reason to treat it as such.
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Old 13th August 2019, 07:23 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Does it have the same provenance as the original?

If it wasn't brought into existence by an intentional creative act of the artist, then it's not the same as the original, and there's no reason to treat it as such.
Why would provenance have anything to do with it? We're talking about the object itself, and not anything that may or may not have happened before it came into existence.
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Old 13th August 2019, 07:40 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Why would provenance have anything to do with it? We're talking about the object itself, and not anything that may or may not have happened before it came into existence.
Part of the value of art comes from its provenance. A perfect counterfeit isn't the same as the original. It's not like someone manufacturing an AK-47 to the designer's specs, but without licensing the design.

Art is probably a terrible example of the idea we're trying to get at here. The whole point of art is that provenance matters, and a perfect replica is still just a replica.

P-zombies may be indistinguishable from real people, but p-art is always just a forgery of the real thing.
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Old 13th August 2019, 07:46 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Part of the value of art comes from its provenance. A perfect counterfeit isn't the same as the original. It's not like someone manufacturing an AK-47 to the designer's specs, but without licensing the design.

Art is probably a terrible example of the idea we're trying to get at here. The whole point of art is that provenance matters, and a perfect replica is still just a replica.

P-zombies may be indistinguishable from real people, but p-art is always just a forgery of the real thing.
I think you're probably right that we're using the wrong analogy here.
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- xkcd Time (frame 1071-3)
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Old 14th August 2019, 01:20 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I'm actually arguing the opposite. Thinking is an action living brains can do. It's not something that's being done when a piece of machinery follows rules programmed into it.
OK then. Suppose, with sufficient computing power, we are able to simulate an entire human brain down to the atomic level, and simulate the operation of that brain in accordance with the complet set of laws of physics. We then construct the appropriate inputs to that brain, interpret the outputs, and teach it to translate between English and Chinese. Is the simulation thinking? If not, what is it doing? If it's doing something that is a perfectly accurate model of thinking, with the same inputs and outputs, I would argue that any attempt to describe what it is doing as something other than thinking is a distinction without a difference.

We can then simplify the model by aggregating groups of processes in accordance with emergent rules, to produce a higher level simulation. At some point this will become sufficiently high level to be expressed as a fairly simple rule set. The question is then, at what level of abstraction does thinking cease to take place? And that, I think, is the more interesting, and much harder to answer, question.

Dave
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Old 14th August 2019, 03:16 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It doesn't matter whether it's the original or not - if it's identical in every way, it is indistinguishable from the original, and there is no reason to treat it as though it is not.
Would you then be okay with replacing your loved ones with exact android duplicates?
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Old 14th August 2019, 03:21 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
OK then. Suppose, with sufficient computing power, we are able to simulate an entire human brain down to the atomic level, and simulate the operation of that brain in accordance with the complet set of laws of physics. We then construct the appropriate inputs to that brain, interpret the outputs, and teach it to translate between English and Chinese. Is the simulation thinking? If not, what is it doing? If it's doing something that is a perfectly accurate model of thinking, with the same inputs and outputs, I would argue that any attempt to describe what it is doing as something other than thinking is a distinction without a difference.

We can then simplify the model by aggregating groups of processes in accordance with emergent rules, to produce a higher level simulation. At some point this will become sufficiently high level to be expressed as a fairly simple rule set. The question is then, at what level of abstraction does thinking cease to take place? And that, I think, is the more interesting, and much harder to answer, question.
Is a simulation reality? No.
Is a fancy simulation reality? No.
Is a very fancy simulation reality? No.
Is a very very fancy simulation reality? No.
Is a very very very fancy simulation reality? No.

You can add an infinity of verys but it's not going to change the answer. Live in the holodeck or the Matrix, hallucinate or coma dream, illusion doesn't become reality because you think it's good enough.
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Old 14th August 2019, 03:24 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Is a simulation reality? No.
Is a fancy simulation reality? No.
Is a very fancy simulation reality? No.
Is a very very fancy simulation reality? No.
Is a very very very fancy simulation reality? No.

You can add an infinity of verys but it's not going to change the answer. Live in the holodeck or the Matrix, hallucinate or coma dream, illusion doesn't become reality because you think it's good enough.
I'm not talking about whether the simulation is reality. I'm talking about whether the process going on in the simulation is the same process as is going on in reality. Suppose I simulate a computer down to the atomic level, then run a program on the simulation; is the program running?

Dave
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Old 14th August 2019, 05:23 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Would you then be okay with replacing your loved ones with exact android duplicates?
Obviously. Everybody would be, since no-one could ever know.
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Old 14th August 2019, 05:39 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
I'm not talking about whether the simulation is reality. I'm talking about whether the process going on in the simulation is the same process as is going on in reality. Suppose I simulate a computer down to the atomic level, then run a program on the simulation; is the program running?
Sure the program is running. But programming is not thought. Programming is a set of instructions. No matter how elaborate you make the instructions anything following them is not thinking. The mouse goes through the maze you built it. If you shape the maze so it spells out words would you say the mouse is writing to you?
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Old 14th August 2019, 05:39 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I'm actually arguing the opposite. Thinking is an action living brains can do. It's not something that's being done when a piece of machinery follows rules programmed into it. Nor is it some magical exception to the universal truth that illusion doesn't become real just because it's a very detailed illusion.
Adding is also a process that people do and have been doing for thousands of years. If I pull out a calculator instead of doing the math in my head, will the calculator be doing real addition of only the illusion of addition? What if the calculator is a simulated calculator?
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Old 14th August 2019, 05:42 AM   #155
TragicMonkey
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Originally Posted by jrhowell View Post
Adding is also a process that people do and have been doing for thousands of years. If I pull out a calculator instead of doing the math in my head, will the calculator be doing real addition of only the illusion of addition?
The calculator will be following the instructions given to it. If those instructions include the error that 2+2=5 the calculator will obediently return that result. It is not thinking. Addition is being done but not as a result of thought on the part of the device, it's a result of the efficacy of the instructions built into it by a human.
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Old 14th August 2019, 06:12 AM   #156
HansMustermann
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The point is that when talking processing data, adding a layer of emulation doesn't change anything.

The computer you read this on doesn't natively understand JavaScript. It's run in an interpreter, in a browser, which in turn may run in a C# sharp virtual machine, which in turn is run on the actual CPU. Hell, let's even add one more layer of emulation: the whole operating system may run in a virtual machine emulating a whole other CPU. But when the browser is open, then the computer can run JavaScript, period.

I mean, Jesus F Christ, if you asked anyone something like "can your Mac run JavaScript", they'd say some version of "yes" or "what's JavaScript?" It would have to be someone either trying to be funny by splitting hairs above and beyond the call of duty, or being genuinely dysfunctional to answer something like, "no. No computer can. It can only run a virtual machine which in turn runs the JavaScript."

Ditto for thinking, vs emulating a brain who thinks. WTH difference does it make if there's another layer of emulation or two?

And ditto for Chinese characters. Whether the computer natively understands Chinese (hint: none can) or it's emulating something that can, then that's that.

Frankly, the whole objection subthread strikes me as flippin' daft.
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Old 14th August 2019, 06:49 AM   #157
Dave Rogers
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Sure the program is running. But programming is not thought. Programming is a set of instructions.
[citation needed]

I can sum up all I have to say quite simply. Either the process we call thought is a process regulated by the laws of physics, or it isn't. If it is, then it is in principle possible to construct a system capable of doing it. If it isn't, then the laws of physics are not universally applicable. We can't say for certain which of those is true, clearly; but I'm not prepared to give up on the universal applicability of the laws of physics just because we haven't yet constructed a machine capable of doing something that corresponds to a suitable definition of thinking.

Dave
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Old 14th August 2019, 06:58 AM   #158
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
[citation needed]

I can sum up all I have to say quite simply. Either the process we call thought is a process regulated by the laws of physics, or it isn't. If it is, then it is in principle possible to construct a system capable of doing it. If it isn't, then the laws of physics are not universally applicable. We can't say for certain which of those is true, clearly; but I'm not prepared to give up on the universal applicability of the laws of physics just because we haven't yet constructed a machine capable of doing something that corresponds to a suitable definition of thinking.
In principle it should be possible, I agree. But I don't see it being done with current computer technology, or even by hypothetical vastly more sophisticated versions of current computer technology.
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Old 14th August 2019, 07:01 AM   #159
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
In principle it should be possible, I agree. But I don't see it being done with current computer technology, or even by hypothetical vastly more sophisticated versions of current computer technology.
I suspect you're right, but until we have a better definition of thinking it's difficult even to guess at what it might take.

Dave
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Old 14th August 2019, 07:43 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
I suspect you're right, but until we have a better definition of thinking it's difficult even to guess at what it might take.
In humans, it seems to be electrochemical feedback loops, giving rise to sensations, stimulated by external phenomena mediated by sensory extensions of the electrochemical core's biological substrate.

So it'll probably take some sort of hardware emulation. A very fine bimetallic lattice in a chemical bath, perhaps. Something along those lines.

Wire it up with input and output feeds, and experiment with feeding in different stimuli until it starts feeding something coherent back out.

It works in humans, but humans have millions of of years of evolution setting up today's babies for success.

I wonder how long it would take to retrace that evolutionary journey in a lab. I wonder at what point the prototype would be sentient enough that continuing to experimemt with different kinds of stimulus would count as torture.
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