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Old 18th August 2019, 07:40 AM   #201
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
In which case you can prove it by construction a thinking non-brain. Do you believe this has been done?
Not yet, because we don't currently have the technology to emulate a brain.
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Old 18th August 2019, 07:54 AM   #202
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No, not what you would consider a 'brain'.


As a body has many organs, a brain has many bits.
Some bits have been done in elementary ways.
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Old 18th August 2019, 08:45 AM   #203
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Not yet, because we don't currently have the technology to emulate a brain.
Then I'll believe it's possible when someone proves it by doing it. That seems to be the fairest distribution of the burden of proof, after all.
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Old 18th August 2019, 08:47 AM   #204
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Then I'll believe it's possible when someone proves it by doing it. That seems to be the fairest distribution of the burden of proof, after all.
Would you have a similar burden of proof for the idea that a bicycle made by someone wearing gloves would function in the same way as one built by someone not wearing gloves?
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Old 18th August 2019, 08:50 AM   #205
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Would you have a similar burden of proof for the idea that a bicycle made by someone wearing gloves would function in the same way as one built by someone not wearing gloves?
That seems to be a less extraordinary claim than "I can create a thinking brain out of nonbiological components". Since we're being juvenile, do you think there should be a very low burden of proof for "there is an afterlife"?
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Old 18th August 2019, 10:14 AM   #206
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Would you have a similar burden of proof for the idea that a bicycle made by someone wearing gloves would function in the same way as one built by someone not wearing gloves?

"proof" yeah.


I'm only one step away from TM's opinion. I believe that a computer will someday achieve consciousness. I won't consider it to be proven until it actually happens. (I'll accept a Turing test, just like I do for humans now).
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Old 18th August 2019, 06:17 PM   #207
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
That seems to be a less extraordinary claim than "I can create a thinking brain out of nonbiological components". Since we're being juvenile, do you think there should be a very low burden of proof for "there is an afterlife"?
I'm having a hard time understanding what you think is the difference between biological and non-biological components here. Both are made of atoms following the laws of physics.
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Old 18th August 2019, 06:19 PM   #208
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I'm having a hard time understanding what you think is the difference between biological and non-biological components here. Both are made of atoms following the laws of physics.
The Andromeda galaxy is made of atoms. So is a photograph of the Andromeda galaxy. I don't understand why I can touch the photo, shouldn't I be torn apart by the gravitational forces?

While you're building your anything-you-can-imagine-because-belief-is-magic-Disney things out of atoms, why not built a car that can go FTL? I mean, cars are real? They're made of atoms! They work! Therefore just build one that can go faster than light. Go ahead, I'll wait!
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Old 18th August 2019, 06:22 PM   #209
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
"proof" yeah.


I'm only one step away from TM's opinion. I believe that a computer will someday achieve consciousness. I won't consider it to be proven until it actually happens. (I'll accept a Turing test, just like I do for humans now).
It seems conceivable to me that the brain is doing something other than computation. I don't think it is, but there's enough we don't know about the brain that I think it's possible. Whatever that thing is, it's still a physical process following the laws of physics. As such there's no reason that we can't build a machine that does that too.

I don't think we fully understand consciousness. But whatever it is, it's an emergent property of brains. Brains are physical systems. If we build another physical system with those same properties it will also be conscious. Which properties those are isn't certain, though I think there is good reason to believe that what brains do is information processing.
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Old 18th August 2019, 06:28 PM   #210
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
The Andromeda galaxy is made of atoms. So is a photograph of the Andromeda galaxy. I don't understand why I can touch the photo, shouldn't I be torn apart by the gravitational forces?
Different assemblages of atoms will have different properties. Those properties are based on what the atoms are doing.

Quote:
While you're building your anything-you-can-imagine-because-belief-is-magic-Disney things out of atoms, why not built a car that can go FTL? I mean, cars are real? They're made of atoms! They work! Therefore just build one that can go faster than light. Go ahead, I'll wait!
I don't even know what you're trying to say here. It should be possible to build a FTL car because... ?

I think the fact that birds can fly demonstrates that heavier than air flight is possible. This is necessarily true unless there is some magic in biology. That analogy to the argument that machines capable of thought are possible should be obvious.

I'm not arguing that anything is possible. I'm arguing that things that are possible because we see them being done are necessarily possible. I don't think there's something magical about biological systems such that the things they do can't be replicated by other means.
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Old 18th August 2019, 06:33 PM   #211
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I think the fact that birds can fly demonstrates that heavier than air flight is possible. This is necessarily true unless there is some magic in biology. That analogy to the argument that machines capable of thought are possible should be obvious.
We agree that demonstration is the best proof of a thing's possibility!

Therefore in light of this:

Quote:
I'm not arguing that anything is possible. I'm arguing that things that are possible because we see them being done are necessarily possible. I don't think there's something magical about biological systems such that the things they do can't be replicated by other means.
I invite you to build a living thing. You don't think it requires magic, you believe biological systems can be replicated by other means, and you agree that demonstration is proof. So go ahead. Make a living thing, from nonliving parts. It doesn't have to be fancy. I'll accept an insect. Just video the construction from the raw materials, and explain how you assembled it and gave it life. Bonus points if you use a Frankenstein lightning table!
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Old 18th August 2019, 06:44 PM   #212
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I've made a living creature. I can't show you video of it, though I'm sure you can find plenty of videos of simulations of the process on the internet.
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Old 18th August 2019, 06:47 PM   #213
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I've made a living creature. I can't show you video of it, though I'm sure you can find plenty of videos of simulations of the process on the internet.
I suspect you used already living parts, though. Which is cheating. It will only count if assembled from nonliving components.
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Old 18th August 2019, 06:52 PM   #214
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
We agree that demonstration is the best proof of a thing's possibility!
Sure, demonstration is proof, but that doesn't mean that lack of demonstration is proof of impossibility. There are plenty of things that we haven't done that we know are possible.


Quote:
I invite you to build a living thing. You don't think it requires magic, you believe biological systems can be replicated by other means, and you agree that demonstration is proof. So go ahead. Make a living thing, from nonliving parts. It doesn't have to be fancy. I'll accept an insect. Just video the construction from the raw materials, and explain how you assembled it and gave it life. Bonus points if you use a Frankenstein lightning table!
That work is actually being done. Synthetic biology is an active field. We're still working on building bacteria from molecular precursors. Some would claim that artificial life has actually been achieved, though it depends on your definitions, but there is certainly a lot of work going on in the field.

For instance Craig Venter's team synthesised a bacterial genome, put it into a cell, and that cell functioned.

I recently listened to this podcast featuring synthetic biologist Kate Adamala who:
Quote:
Kate Adamala is one of a number of scientists engaged in the ambitious project of trying to create living cells, or something approximating them, starting from entirely non-living ingredients. Impressive progress has already been made. Designing cells from scratch will have obvious uses is biology and medicine, but also allow us to build biological robots and computers, as well as helping us understand how life could have arisen in the first place, and what it might look like on other planets.
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Old 18th August 2019, 07:12 PM   #215
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There is an interesting question, I think, along the lines of how similar to the biological systems found in nature will our technology need to be if it's going to replicate the things that those biological systems do?

To get modern computers has required a great deal of miniaturisation. To reach something approximating the power of the human brain will require more miniaturisation. So certainly we're going to have to be working on the same scale. What about component materials? Modern computers use silicon, but I wonder if the carbon based system, or even the protein based system that life uses is simply better for such small scale technology? All life that we know of requires water. Will we end up using a similar technique with complex molecules in water using enzymes to catalyse reactions?

So, TM, I think you do have a valid point that we don't yet know fully which aspects of biological systems are necessary to achieve the functions that they are achieving. It seems possible to me that our technology could achieve the same functions in very different ways, but it's also possible that anything that achieves the same functions as biological systems will tend to look a lot like biology because the constrains imposed simply require certain solutions. Those constraints include working on the nano-scale for instance, and the issues imposed by quantum mechanics that are related to that.

But while I can see that there may be many similarities necessary between technology and biology, there are also many constraints imposed on biological systems that won't be imposed on our technology (I went into this in an earlier post in this thread). This will come into play in the process of design1, the process of manufacturing2, and the actual implementation3.

1. The design of living things is constrained by the process of evolution.
2. The manufacturing of living things is constrained by the process of reproduction and the necessity to be manufactured by a system similar to the system being produced. It's further constrained by the energy and materials available. Both of these constraints will have analogues in technology, but will be very different.
3. The actual form of living systems is again constrained by the necessity to reproduce, by the availability of energy and material in the environment, and other factors (preditors and parasites for instance). While our technology will also have constraints, again these will be different.
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Old 18th August 2019, 08:05 PM   #216
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Brains are physical systems. If we build another physical system with those same properties it will also be conscious.
Would these artificial neural networks react to say, testosterone? If not, what would be the artificial equivalent of that consciousness altering hormone?
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Old 18th August 2019, 08:10 PM   #217
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This is why I don't think physical simulation of a brain's neural structure will produce a conscious entity. We aren't naked brains. Our brain extends throughout our body. It includes many nerves specialised for sensory input. It survives in a bath of neurotransmitters. If we were to create a conscious entity by pure simulation of physical properties, we would have to simulate an entire body, not just the brain.
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Old 18th August 2019, 11:10 PM   #218
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Would these artificial neural networks react to say, testosterone? If not, what would be the artificial equivalent of that consciousness altering hormone?
The depends on how they are constructed. If we make them out of the same stuff as human brains, then yes. If not, then we might have to include a different system of stimulus that has the same effect on their information processing as testosterone has on ours.

Similarly modern jets, unlike birds, don't have mitochondria, but they do have a system by which chemical fuel is used to enable flight.
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Old 19th August 2019, 05:13 AM   #219
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
This is why I don't think physical simulation of a brain's neural structure will produce a conscious entity. We aren't naked brains. Our brain extends throughout our body. It includes many nerves specialised for sensory input. It survives in a bath of neurotransmitters. If we were to create a conscious entity by pure simulation of physical properties, we would have to simulate an entire body, not just the brain.
Not an entire body. People without limbs are conscious. I don't know why you couldn't have, in principle, a head alone being sent artificial signals from a computer simulating the type of signals it usually receives from the body.

So we don't know how much we would have to simulate to produce a conscious entity.
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Old 19th August 2019, 05:21 AM   #220
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I understand the C Elegans brain simulation is proving tricky and that is just a handful of neurons. So I suspect that even a mouse brain simulation, never mind a human one, is quite distant.
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Old 19th August 2019, 09:08 AM   #221
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Not an entire body. People without limbs are conscious. I don't know why you couldn't have, in principle, a head alone being sent artificial signals from a computer simulating the type of signals it usually receives from the body.

So we don't know how much we would have to simulate to produce a conscious entity.
Actually, at this point we know that the brain can adapt to quite a few digital inputs. E.g., we're at the point where we can implant a camera sensor in a blind person's eye, and the optical nerves will learn to deal with the input. Or conversely using a mouse cortex to drive an RC toy truck, and it seems to adapt just fine to having to use those outputs.

So if nothing else, we already know that a whole lot of the input and output doesn't even have to be simulated, it can just interface a camera or an electric motor controller.
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Old 19th August 2019, 09:12 AM   #222
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Would these artificial neural networks react to say, testosterone? If not, what would be the artificial equivalent of that consciousness altering hormone?
The question doesn't even make any sense. It's like asking if a simulated computer character can eat real food. No, but you can simulate that too, if you think you really need that. While there are bits and pieces about neurons that may not yet be fully understood, the effects of neurotransmiters on the synapses is quite well understood. So if you think you need that effect, you can just add a couple of lines to the synapse code to check for a global variable that says how high the level of a given substance is.
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Old 19th August 2019, 10:52 AM   #223
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
The depends on how they are constructed. If we make them out of the same stuff as human brains, then yes. If not, then we might have to include a different system of stimulus that has the same effect on their information processing as testosterone has on ours.
An artificially-created neuron which is indistinguishable from "the real thing" including the DNA contained within?

Quote:
Similarly modern jets, unlike birds, don't have mitochondria, but they do have a system by which chemical fuel is used to enable flight.
Jets don't fly like birds do. Birds flap and jet wings don't. Jets have a fraction of the maneuverability of a bird. If anything, a jet sort of resembles a gliding bird using a tailwind. But jets serve our purpose as is and maybe we will never pursue the development of a flapping jet. Air stall and consequent loss of control would seem to be a big important difference which shows that jets don't have enough "birdness" to be a real equivalent. With AI we are aiming for an equivalent of a human thinking brain so it needs a lot more "brainness" than a jet has "birdness".

As an artificial bird, the jet has a list of shortcomings that we might find unacceptable for an artificial brain.
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Old 19th August 2019, 11:03 AM   #224
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
The question doesn't even make any sense. It's like asking if a simulated computer character can eat real food. No, but you can simulate that too, if you think you really need that. While there are bits and pieces about neurons that may not yet be fully understood, the effects of neurotransmiters on the synapses is quite well understood. So if you think you need that effect, you can just add a couple of lines to the synapse code to check for a global variable that says how high the level of a given substance is.
Well it may turn out that testosterone is necessary for intelligence. Further, we may find that a sophisticated artificial neural network is worthless or greatly limited without a varied hormone system which is more than just testosterone.
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Old 19th August 2019, 11:18 AM   #225
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Interesting (to me at least) are the features of human intelligence which can initially seem like strange and undesirable outliers for artificial intelligence. Firstly would be intentional dishonesty as an occasional form of high intelligence. It seems that there are times when telling a lie is the correct (intelligent) thing to do.

Would it be true that in order to replicate intelligence we need to allow and even design for AI to be dishonest on purpose in order to arrive at intelligent thinking? If so, how would we set up an artificial neural network that sometimes intentionally tells lies for our benefit?
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Old 19th August 2019, 11:30 AM   #226
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Will we find that an AI unit needs to have selfish motivations in order to achieve intelligence? Why be intelligent in the first place? It seems to be a product of evolution for the purpose of benefiting the intelligent creature and other creatures which matter to it. I use intelligence to benefit myself and those people that I care about (some of whom could be strangers to me). It seems instinctual.

Does AI need to have personal selfish desires and behavior in order to be intelligent?
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Old 19th August 2019, 12:32 PM   #227
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Will we find that an AI unit needs to have selfish motivations in order to achieve intelligence? Why be intelligent in the first place? It seems to be a product of evolution for the purpose of benefiting the intelligent creature and other creatures which matter to it. I use intelligence to benefit myself and those people that I care about (some of whom could be strangers to me). It seems instinctual.

Does AI need to have personal selfish desires and behavior in order to be intelligent?
Do we want our "Tech" to throw a hissy fit every time it feels overworked?
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Old 19th August 2019, 12:37 PM   #228
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Well it may turn out that testosterone is necessary for intelligence. Further, we may find that a sophisticated artificial neural network is worthless or greatly limited without a varied hormone system which is more than just testosterone.
Yeah, but what's really going on in the brain?

Electrochemical feedback loops plus external stimulus. It's a chaotic system settled into a stable but fluctuating pattern.

Seems like you could probably get a close emulation by simulating sufficiently complex feedback loops, and experimenting with varying degrees of fluctuating background noise to simulate hormonal ebbs and flows.

But again, if these simulations have promise, sooner or later you'll be creating real intelligences that experience a life of nothing but horror.
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Old 19th August 2019, 12:44 PM   #229
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
Do we want our "Tech" to throw a hissy fit every time it feels overworked?
It depends.

Ideally we want our workers to understand their limits, respond to internal reports of overwork, and handle those reports calmly and responsibly.

I would probably not object to an AI worker that occasionally said things like:

"I've had some unusual experiences recently that are modifying how I react to stimuli and arrive at conclusions. The results are suboptimal, so I'd like to take a day off to recalibrate my expectations and self-treatment. I believe this is what you would call a 'mental health day'."

And:

"I have found that long-term focus on my assigned problem space has diminishing returns. At a certain point, I become more productive after taking a couple days to focus on other topics of interest to me. I believe this is what you call a 'weekend'."

The real question is, what do you do with an AI that throws a hissy fit instead? Do you fire it, and let it try to find work elsewhere? Or do you terminate the process, wipe the hardware, and install AI 2.0 in its place?

Or do you take a closer look at the AI's design, its strengths and weaknesses, and try to find a task better suited to its unique capabilities?
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Old 19th August 2019, 06:31 PM   #230
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
An artificially-created neuron which is indistinguishable from "the real thing" including the DNA contained within?
That would be one way to do it, though there would likely be many alterations to the genome.


Quote:
Jets don't fly like birds do.
Sure. But they do fly. If what we're interested in is flight, there are many ways to go about it.

Before heavier than air flight was developed someone might have thought that it was only possible with a machine built out of muscle and bone, powered by hydrocarbons + respiration, etc. etc. It turns out that's not necessary. The important features of bone relevant to flight are it's structural properties, it's density.

Similarly the important features of testosterone relevant to cognition are how it interacts with the brain's information processing. A different system with those same features would still be undergoing the same process.

Quote:
Birds flap and jet wings don't. Jets have a fraction of the maneuverability of a bird. If anything, a jet sort of resembles a gliding bird using a tailwind. But jets serve our purpose as is and maybe we will never pursue the development of a flapping jet.
Sure. If we were interested in developing more manueverable flying machines we could pursue different approaches. Flapping flight has also been done by human technology, and it didn't require growing a bird to do it.

Quote:
Air stall and consequent loss of control would seem to be a big important difference which shows that jets don't have enough "birdness" to be a real equivalent. With AI we are aiming for an equivalent of a human thinking brain so it needs a lot more "brainness" than a jet has "birdness".
I neither think that aeroplanes are birds nor that AIs will be humans. I think that aeroplanes can fly and AIs will be able to think. Just as bird flight is different from that which we produce with technology, AIs thoughts will be different from human thoughts, for practical reasons.

Quote:
As an artificial bird, the jet has a list of shortcomings that we might find unacceptable for an artificial brain.
If we wanted to build artificial birds with specifications closer to those of real birds, we could do so, and it wouldn't require building them out of flesh and bone. One feature of birds that we're not very good at reproducing right now is the ability to independently replenish their energy reserves from the environment. Another is reproduction. But I wasn't talking about aeroplanes as artificial birds. I simply stated that birds demonstrated, before we had the technology, that flight was possible. A complete replication of a bird is a much more difficult technological challenge.

Humans demonstrate that thought is possible. To develop a technology that achieves that goal is different from a technology that completely replicates a human in every aspect. I doubt it's necessary to be able to grow hair in order to think, for instance. Yet you seem to be arguing as though that were the case.
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Old 19th August 2019, 06:45 PM   #231
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
Not an entire body. People without limbs are conscious. I don't know why you couldn't have, in principle, a head alone being sent artificial signals from a computer simulating the type of signals it usually receives from the body.

So we don't know how much we would have to simulate to produce a conscious entity.
True. You'd certainly have to provide it with some kind of sensory input if you wanted to interact with it in any meaningful way. Simulating a locked-in patient doesn't sound like fun either for us or for the simulation.
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Old 19th August 2019, 06:52 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
That would be one way to do it, though there would likely be many alterations to the genome.





Sure. But they do fly. If what we're interested in is flight, there are many ways to go about it.



Before heavier than air flight was developed someone might have thought that it was only possible with a machine built out of muscle and bone, powered by hydrocarbons + respiration, etc. etc. It turns out that's not necessary. The important features of bone relevant to flight are it's structural properties, it's density.



Similarly the important features of testosterone relevant to cognition are how it interacts with the brain's information processing. A different system with those same features would still be undergoing the same process.



Sure. If we were interested in developing more manueverable flying machines we could pursue different approaches. Flapping flight has also been done by human technology, and it didn't require growing a bird to do it.



I neither think that aeroplanes are birds nor that AIs will be humans. I think that aeroplanes can fly and AIs will be able to think. Just as bird flight is different from that which we produce with technology, AIs thoughts will be different from human thoughts, for practical reasons.







If we wanted to build artificial birds with specifications closer to those of real birds, we could do so, and it wouldn't require building them out of flesh and bone. One feature of birds that we're not very good at reproducing right now is the ability to independently replenish their energy reserves from the environment. Another is reproduction. But I wasn't talking about aeroplanes as artificial birds. I simply stated that birds demonstrated, before we had the technology, that flight was possible. A complete replication of a bird is a much more difficult technological challenge.



Humans demonstrate that thought is possible. To develop a technology that achieves that goal is different from a technology that completely replicates a human in every aspect. I doubt it's necessary to be able to grow hair in order to think, for instance. Yet you seem to be arguing as though that were the case.
Heavier than air flight depends on the energy available to the body relative to the weight of the body.

Birds get it done with food calories and light bodies.

Airplanes cheat.
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Old 19th August 2019, 10:55 PM   #233
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Heavier than air flight depends on the energy available to the body relative to the weight of the body.

Birds get it done with food calories and light bodies.

Airplanes cheat.
Pretty much.
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Old 20th August 2019, 04:02 AM   #234
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But at the end of the day all that matters is that they achieve the same goal. If what you want to do is fly, you can go with flapping wings, fixed wings, rotary wings (helicopter), or whatever. As long as it achieves the purpose in a satisfactory manner, that's really all that matters.

And also just to make it clear: we CAN make something fly by flapping wings. It's called an "Ornithopter". It's just not very efficient. We used fixed wings instead because it works better, not because of some inability to do it the nature way.

Anyway, nobody would say, "ah, but it doesn't count as flight if you don't have literal muscles reacting to literally chemical signals, pulling the wings up and down to flap them." Why? Because it would be the most daft objection imaginable.

Yet basically here we have the exact same kind of objection about thought. 'Ah, nah, see, you can't make it really think, because it doesn't react to testosterone.' Seriously, wth?
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Old 20th August 2019, 04:44 AM   #235
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
But at the end of the day all that matters is that they achieve the same goal. If what you want to do is fly, you can go with flapping wings, fixed wings, rotary wings (helicopter), or whatever. As long as it achieves the purpose in a satisfactory manner, that's really all that matters.

And also just to make it clear: we CAN make something fly by flapping wings. It's called an "Ornithopter". It's just not very efficient. We used fixed wings instead because it works better, not because of some inability to do it the nature way.

Anyway, nobody would say, "ah, but it doesn't count as flight if you don't have literal muscles reacting to literally chemical signals, pulling the wings up and down to flap them." Why? Because it would be the most daft objection imaginable.

Yet basically here we have the exact same kind of objection about thought. 'Ah, nah, see, you can't make it really think, because it doesn't react to testosterone.' Seriously, wth?
Because flight and thought are not really analogous.
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Old 20th August 2019, 05:41 AM   #236
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Well ... Wings of Thought.
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 20th August 2019, 05:52 AM   #237
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Because flight and thought are not really analogous.
Flight and thought are very different things. I was making a simple point: some things are physically impossible: for instance faster than light travel. But seeing a thing physically happening demonstrates that it's not impossible. For instance, the sun undergoes fusion, therefore fusion is possible. Birds are capable of flight, therefore flight is possible. Humans are capable of thought, therefore thought is possible.

There was literally nothing else being compared here. The argument is simply that if a thing is being done, that demonstrates that it's physically possible. That humans are capable of thought demonstrates that thought is physically possible.

As I said earlier: to what degree any physical system capable of thought will necessarily resemble the only systems that we know are capable of thought (animal brains) is an open question. I gave some arguments for why I think that many characteristics of brains aren't necessary for thought (because there are different constraints), but I do suspect that some of the characteristics are necessary (I gave the example of the general size scale).
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Old 20th August 2019, 05:54 AM   #238
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
But at the end of the day all that matters is that they achieve the same goal. If what you want to do is fly, you can go with flapping wings, fixed wings, rotary wings (helicopter), or whatever. As long as it achieves the purpose in a satisfactory manner, that's really all that matters.

And also just to make it clear: we CAN make something fly by flapping wings. It's called an "Ornithopter". It's just not very efficient. We used fixed wings instead because it works better, not because of some inability to do it the nature way.

Anyway, nobody would say, "ah, but it doesn't count as flight if you don't have literal muscles reacting to literally chemical signals, pulling the wings up and down to flap them." Why? Because it would be the most daft objection imaginable.

Yet basically here we have the exact same kind of objection about thought. 'Ah, nah, see, you can't make it really think, because it doesn't react to testosterone.' Seriously, wth?
Well said.
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Old 20th August 2019, 06:01 AM   #239
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Flight and thought are very different things. I was making a simple point: some things are physically impossible: for instance faster than light travel. But seeing a thing physically happening demonstrates that it's not impossible. For instance, the sun undergoes fusion, therefore fusion is possible. Birds are capable of flight, therefore flight is possible. Humans are capable of thought, therefore thought is possible.

There was literally nothing else being compared here. The argument is simply that if a thing is being done, that demonstrates that it's physically possible. That humans are capable of thought demonstrates that thought is physically possible.

As I said earlier: to what degree any physical system capable of thought will necessarily resemble the only systems that we know are capable of thought (animal brains) is an open question. I gave some arguments for why I think that many characteristics of brains aren't necessary for thought (because there are different constraints), but I do suspect that some of the characteristics are necessary (I gave the example of the general size scale).
You're just selecting what you think is possible there. You declare fusion is possible because the sun does it, true enough, but that doesn't mean humans can build a cold fusion reactor. You declare thought possible because humans do it, but that doesn't mean computers can. The things you cite as examples of the possible are not proof that any conceivable mechanism can accomplish them. Mariah Carey can sing five octaves or whatever so it's possible, but I can't do that.
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Old 20th August 2019, 06:06 AM   #240
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
You're just selecting what you think is possible there. You declare fusion is possible because the sun does it, true enough, but that doesn't mean humans can build a cold fusion reactor. You declare thought possible because humans do it, but that doesn't mean computers can. The things you cite as examples of the possible are not proof that any conceivable mechanism can accomplish them. Mariah Carey can sing five octaves or whatever so it's possible, but I can't do that.
Agreed. Did you notice this part of my post:

Quote:
As I said earlier: to what degree any physical system capable of thought will necessarily resemble the only systems that we know are capable of thought (animal brains) is an open question. I gave some arguments for why I think that many characteristics of brains aren't necessary for thought (because there are different constraints), but I do suspect that some of the characteristics are necessary (I gave the example of the general size scale).
I tend to think that computers will be capable of thought because I think human brains are turing machines. But I agree with you that that's not yet clear: we need to learn more about brains before that is demonstrated. That doesn't mean that we won't be able to build systems that function in the same way as human brains though, but it may mean that thinking machines are further off than many of us think.

Do you disagree with that?

ETA Just to be clear, I understand that you disagree that computers will be capable of thought and as I said I think that's a valid opinion. My view on that is an opinion that while I consider well founded I don't think it's completely known yet. What I have been arguing is that it will be possible to build some sort of system that is capable of thought, even if it may function differently than computers.
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