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Old 27th September 2017, 08:54 PM   #81
Aridas
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Originally Posted by Imhotep View Post
I've always been curious about "what goes on in heaven" to put it succinctly. This dates back to before the internet. But now we can search for this stuff... here goes:



So one could run ten cities with the main item on everybody's agenda being to praise god continuously. Here I was hoping for endless food, music, and dancing.
Forever. Not that there would be ten cities if you were to believe Revelation. As I noted recently elsewhere, if one takes the rather limited information in the Bible about heaven, it seems like it would basically be eternal bliss-drugged slavery, though I suppose that if Lucifer could rebel in the theology, maybe the relatively few souls that make it to heaven could eventually exercise free will and rebel... with the knowledge that they would fairly certainly get sent down to hell for their trouble.
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Old 28th September 2017, 08:47 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
You're the one trying to limit things under highly questionable premises.
Still no clue what you're talking about.

Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
That's not trying to go *away* from the issues at hand, that's trying to keep things where they belong.
You're pretty far in left field.

Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
That you simply don't like it and desire to try to negate it by applying it to other questions than it's intended to address is not the same thing as it not being defined, and that "big paragraph" (those are some incredibly low standards for big) was there to help give some context that you seem to be missing that shows that it would indeed be a form of free will that addresses the question of whether or not people have free will in a way required for divine judgement (within that worldview, at least), which would be exactly what you specified.
Yet another paragraph where you totally fail to define free will.

Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
My apologies, then, for misunderstanding your focus on hell and its relation to free will. Shall I take it as you just being interested in trying to make a cheap shot without paying much attention to the larger picture and not minding if you fall into the same pitfall of conflating concepts?
No.
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Old 28th September 2017, 02:18 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
Okay I give up, off-topic ahoy:



I was raised Swedenborgian, and they picture heaven like Earth but better. So people have hobbies, and gardens, and things like that to entertain them. And yes, they spend a lot of time in church.

My question was "why not just lead with that?" like, why have this world first? Why not jump right to the perfect and fulfilling life? There was a sort of answer, to their credit, but it wasn't a particularly satisfying one.

Well I will have a go at answering this and yes the question of why didn't God create the good place right off is a good one.

The way I see it this God fella is somewhat limited in ability. We have examples of this in the Bible, (given this is the god we are talking about), where for example he was not even able to kill Moses when he wanted, being thwarted by a skilfully thrown foreskin.

God has this need for people to praise him and they must do this of their own free will (there we are - back on track), and he doesn't have it figured out how to do this right off. So he creates heaps of people and puts them here to weed out the duds, (as it turns out the duds far outnumber the ones that are up to spec.), and the ones that make the grade get to go to the good place.

I haven't figured out why we need Hell yet but am working on it.
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Old 29th September 2017, 11:51 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by MuDPhuD View Post
All quotes have been truncated by me. Highlighting by me.

An intriguing discussion, which I have attempted to condense.
Everyone I have quoted (except OP who asks the question) seems to agree (myself included) that there is a limited free will (call it compatibalist?) which makes us each personally responsible for choices we make (acting for reasons), while at the same time acknowledging that these choices are in fact made by unconscious activity within the brain (therefore not really "free" in the philosophical sense(call it "liberatarian?), but predicated on the complex web of activity states in unconscious neural circuits). It seems to be the equivocation between these two uses of "free" which leads to the endless disputation without result.

So, for example, the married devout evangelical Christian governor of South Carolina can secretly run off to South America with his beautiful mistress in blatant contradiction of every conservative principle he stands for, and yet self-justify this behavior as "love", and be held accountable for his actions, all the while recognizing that his "choice " was based on the apparently insurmountable biological imperative to reproduce (which his consciousness is not even aware of).

Or, for example, a junkie, driven by addiction who steals cash from a convenience store can still be considered responsible for the crime, although in such a case the just and prudent response should involve effective treatment for the addiction, rather than simple incarceration.

"Free will" can be said both to exist (compatibailist) and to not exist (libertarian).
In response to the OP then, there are multiple working definitions of free will and any fruitful discussion must first define which definition you wish to work with. Otherwise
and nobody wants to do that!
There is not a problem of definitions –not only. There is a problem of concepts. If we call “free” every action that we cannot determine his causes and is intentional, almost every human action will be “free” – parcially free, at least, and except reflexes. The concept of “irresistible impulse” is only legal. Free decision or determinated impulse are only philosophical concepts.

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Old 30th September 2017, 07:05 AM   #85
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I guess I should say something. It would probably be easier if we were friends or coworkers, if I actually knew the people here. Instead, we are strangers made of avatars and text on a page. We aren't exactly peers or colleagues. I suppose that leaves a lot of vacant space. I've noticed that people here often come to wildly inaccurate conclusions when they try to fill in that space. So maybe I should just say what's going on with me instead of having people guess.

I've been at this for four years. It has been far more grueling than I would have imagined; it grinds you down. It was my expectation in 2016 that I would stop in early 2017 and publish the progress up to that point. I doubted I was going to keep working on it after that. And then .. things happened ... and publication was put on hold, indefinitely. There have been times in the past where I've set the work aside but I kept getting drawn back into it. So, stopping hasn't happened; I'm still working on it.

I have human limitations and to whatever extent I can reach, it isn't enough. Since I don't have people to exchange ideas with, I go online to find other points of view. As you can imagine, this is typically unproductive. Asking questions here is a two-edged sword. There are some smart people here but the hostility is difficult to deal with. It's kind of like coming across a large crocodile with its mouth open and you notice that it has a sizable diamond setting on its tongue. If you make a grab for the diamond you might get it or you might get your arm bitten off. It's like that.

Before this thread deteriorated into a rather inane discussion about religion, it did spark some inspiration. I was finally able to understand the computational/knowledge paradox.

I don't know how much to fill in here. I became interested in understanding human reasoning, originally because I didn't agree with Harris on free will. Since my background was in computer science I looked at it from the point of view of AI theory. And, I made no progress. Nothing worked until I finally focused on cognitive evolution. Then I was able to identify the subsystems that are responsible for awareness and problem solving. That seemed like a tremendous breakthrough but I became aware that it wasn't connected to anything. I looked for a theoretical foundation but couldn't find one. That led me to create knowledge theory. And that contained the paradox.

According to knowledge theory, only a cognitive device would be able to process knowledge. However, knowledge is a subset of information and computational devices can process information. So, they should also be able to process knowledge. That's the paradox. I've been working on that for over a year. What I finally understood was that knowledge is only a structural subset of information. From the point of view of computation there is nothing distinguishable about knowledge; it looks exactly the same as any other information.

That changes the question. So, I went back and watched Pamela Hieronymi's lecture on agency at the University of Alabama again. I can see the flaw in reasoning that I couldn't see before. It fits into cognitive theory like a missing puzzle piece, with supporting evidence that I was already aware of. I've been looking for free will in the wrong place. I don't know why I couldn't see it before. Maybe the 10,000 hour rule is true or maybe not.

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Old 30th September 2017, 09:26 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Such an algorithm is not theoretically possible.
There is a disproof that consciousness can be created computationally
Originally Posted by barehl View Post
I was finally able to understand the computational/knowledge paradox.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...0#post10620540


You seem to be content in making claims about having proofs, that you are not willing to share even when repeatedly asked. What's the problem, stealing of ideas?

Originally Posted by barehl View Post
There are some smart people here but the hostility is difficult to deal with.

How are those smart people supposed to comment having no details about what those "proofs" are?
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Old 30th September 2017, 09:12 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by wea View Post
You seem to be content
You might look up 'grueling' in the dictionary. It's kind of the opposite of content.

Quote:
in making claims about having proofs
I don't mention proofs that I don't have. I can run down the list.

I have disproofs for life-after-death, telepathy, Boltzmann Brains, and solipsism. I suppose telepathy would include presupposition and the idea of universal consciousness. I can prove that your brain wasn't removed from your body without your knowledge and put into a vat. I cannot prove that you haven't been in a vat since you were an embryo.

I have a disproof of Strong AI or the idea that a computer can be conscious. This also disproves emergence. This does not disprove machine consciousness.

I can't think of any way to prove that a sentient machine couldn't be hooked up to a computer simulation. I suppose I could prove that the simulation and the sentient can't be on the same machine and probably that other sentients could not share machines. Much like the brain in vat idea, that would still allow for the possibility of simulated reality. So the Matrix is possible? It's possible except for when Neo wakes up. If that actually happened, he wouldn't be able to move or speak.

I don't have a disproof of God except for William Lane Craig's version.

I have a disproof that consciousness can be distributed. So, a collective consciousness for bacteria or nanites is not possible.

Could something like Skynet emerge on the internet? No, there are multiple disproofs of that.

Could a machine intelligence be composed of multiple machines linked together by networks? That seems possible.

I don't have a disproof of Weak AI. I think I will have one at some point but that's only a conjecture.

Could you have a consciousness with a human personality in a machine of some kind like in the movie, "Her"? No, that's laughable. What if she was linked to a robotic body? That might work but the networking requirement would be extremely high. What if she had a simulated body and simulated environment and communicated with him as though he was in another room, physically separate from her? That's an interesting concept.

How close are Kurzweil's estimates of hardware in his book, "How to Create a Mind"? Not very. His estimate of computational power is off by at least an order of magnitude and his estimate of memory is off by several. And, he apparently wasn't aware of most of the other requirements.

Couldn't an intelligent machine just reprogram itself to make itself smarter? No.

Okay, but couldn't you make an intelligent machine super, super smart just by clocking it faster and giving it more memory? No, that again is laughable.

Quote:
that you are not willing to share
Darwin came up with the idea of natural selection in 1838. He first published a paper on it in July, 1858 after receiving a letter from Wallace with similar ideas in June. It took Darwin another 13 months to write Origin of Species which was published in November, 1859. That's 21 years from conception to publication. Actually, Descent of Man wasn't published until 1871. That's 33 years from conception to publication. Although I had worked on the problem as early as November, 2013, I didn't conceive of the theory until about August, 2015. So, ten years from now, I'll still be well ahead of Darwin.

I've never heard of an author or movie producer giving away details before publication. Governments and military have classified and secret information. Almost all corporations have confidential information and trade secrets. And that doesn't bother you but somehow I'm in a different category?

Are you saying that if I were John Grisham you would be pouting and saying that I should release details of my next novel before it was published?
Do you have a good argument why I don't deserve the same rights that Darwin had?
Do you have an argument why I should publish now?

Quote:
How are those smart people supposed to comment having no details about what those "proofs" are?
I guess that would be true if I were looking for a critique of the proofs. Have there been other researchers that have asked for critiques of ideas in this open forum?

If you have a question about something I've said then you can ask me about it. Not everything that I talk about is confidential. It is perhaps unlikely but possible that I could find someone here to exchange ideas with in private which is what most researchers actually do.
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Old 30th September 2017, 09:32 PM   #88
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What I finally realized about free will is that it is not related to decision. And I feel stupid because I already knew this. A Prolog program can make decisions and so can a neural network. Neither of these have free will. So, I would assume that there is no experiment that can be designed involving decision that will distinguish between free will or a lack of free will.

I guess an analogy would be a trial. Imagine that a crime was committed and the investigating officer suspects Fred. This officer plants evidence and coerces witnesses. The prosecutor agrees with the investigating officer and engages in several violations of criminal trial procedure. However, the judge also thinks Fred is guilty and allows these violations. Fred gets convicted.

So, someone takes up Fred's case and uncovers all the irregularities and legal violations. Fred's conviction gets overturned. A new investigator takes over. However, Fred is guilty so he turns up new evidence. The new prosecutor makes a strong case and the judge follows the rules of law. Fred gets convicted.

So in the first case, Fred does not receive a fair trial, but in the second, Fred does even though the verdict is the same. In other words, the fairness of the trial is not dependent on the verdict. Likewise, you can reach the same decision whether you have free will or not. So, free will is not dependent on what decision you make or whether you could or would make a different decision.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 07:17 AM   #89
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I'm just going to pick the one that bugged me the most:

Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Could you have a consciousness with a human personality in a machine of some kind like in the movie, "Her"? No, that's laughable. What if she was linked to a robotic body? That might work but the networking requirement would be extremely high.
So a machine can't have a human-like personality... unless it's shaped like a person? Huh?
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Old 2nd October 2017, 07:18 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
What I finally realized about free will is that it is not related to decision. And I feel stupid because I already knew this. A Prolog program can make decisions and so can a neural network. Neither of these have free will.
Well, is it really making decisions, then, or just switching?
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Old 2nd October 2017, 08:16 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Well, is it really making decisions, then, or just switching?

"Making decisions" isn't a physical process that actually happens. Ever.

"Making a decision" is a feature of the narratives we create and tell about what's going on. Without those narratives there are no decisions, just causes and effects and actions.

The bear saw me and decided to walk away instead of attacking me.

The bear sees me. If I wave my arms and shout, it's more likely to decide to walk away instead of attacking.

The market decided to go up 400 points. I decided to sell my stock.

Our narratives can become very metaphorical. "It got cold but not cold enough for the furnace to decide to turn on." "So, of course, the tree limb decided to fall just when my car was parked under it." But we know those decisions aren't real events. We haven't quite figured out yet that none of them are.

Free will is a feature of decisions in narrative. (Specifically, of our own decisions, but we include it in narratives about others as well, such as the bear in the above examples.) Asking whether we really have free will is like asking whether we really are protagonists.
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Old 2nd October 2017, 11:03 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
"Making decisions" isn't a physical process that actually happens. Ever.
This is not true. You cannot tell what are the causes of your behaviour. If you knew the causes of a human decision you would be able to predict it in the same way that you predict the phases of the moon. You cannot predict most of human acts, therefore you cannot say that they are predetermined.

“Free will” is the name we give to a human action without known causes. It is different to mere chance in that it is intentionally oriented by an evaluation of reasons. Even when we have strong reasons -usually desires-, we feel that we are able to do an effort to change our decision. This is "free will".

This is what we can say about free will. The rest are metaphysics -idealist or materialist.

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Old 3rd October 2017, 11:17 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
This is not true. You cannot tell what are the causes of your behaviour. If you knew the causes of a human decision you would be able to predict it in the same way that you predict the phases of the moon. You cannot predict most of human acts, therefore you cannot say that they are predetermined.

ďFree willĒ is the name we give to a human action without known causes. It is different to mere chance in that it is intentionally oriented by an evaluation of reasons. Even when we have strong reasons -usually desires-, we feel that we are able to do an effort to change our decision. This is "free will".

This is what we can say about free will. The rest are metaphysics -idealist or materialist.

I don't mean (and didn't say) that decisions don't happen because they're pre-determined. Pre-determined decisions would presumably still be decisions. I'm saying decisions don't actually happen at all. They're not things or events in reality. They're retrospective abstractions. They're a narrative device, a feature of a model of the world that's chunked into narratives of agents (including ourselves) acting with volition.

The supposed contradiction between deterministic and/or random physical processes and free-willed decision-making is no more a real contradiction than Narnia having blue skies and green trees despite being printed in black ink on white paper. Decision-making takes place in abstract narrative space. We can give such a narrative event a description such as "free-willed" (or for that matter "pre-determined") quite independently of whether the physical substrate behaves predictably or not. Declaring that determinism or predictability of the substrate means that the decision lacks free will is like declaring that the forests of Narnia must be black because the ink is.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 12:26 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
So a machine can't have a human-like personality... unless it's shaped like a person? Huh?
It isn't the body shape that is the problem. How do you think and identify as human if you don't have human limitations and characteristics? This has been discussed in science fiction for quite some time.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 12:44 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
They're not things or events in reality. They're retrospective abstractions. They're a narrative device, a feature of a model of the world that's chunked into narratives of agents (including ourselves) acting with volition.
I know what that reminds me of:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

If your ideas were correct someone would have solved the problem long ago. This is something like Dennett's Multiple Drafts model, but that can be disproved.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 12:52 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Well, is it really making decisions, then, or just switching?
Could you explain what you mean by switching?
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Old 3rd October 2017, 01:11 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
It isn't the body shape that is the problem. How do you think and identify as human if you don't have human limitations and characteristics?
You just said "consciousness", you didn't specify that it would have to think like and identify as human. If you want it to think exactly like a human does it would obviously need to be a human, but that's an arbitrary restriction.

For consciousness in general there's no reason it would need to have a robotic body of any kind. It could be a big immobile box or a car or whatever.

Originally Posted by barehl View Post
This has been discussed in science fiction for quite some time.
Well in science fiction there are plenty of conscious AIs that don't have robot bodies of any kind. There's also a lot that do, but mainly because it makes for fun sci-fi rather than it being some sort of logical necessity.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 02:40 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
You just said "consciousness", you didn't specify that it would have to think like and identify as human. If you want it to think exactly like a human does it would obviously need to be a human, but that's an arbitrary restriction.

For consciousness in general there's no reason it would need to have a robotic body of any kind. It could be a big immobile box or a car or whatever.

This is overlapping my "Consciousness/Self Awareness" thread.

Interesting concept - the idea idea that you need to have a human body to think like a human. I would have some slight reservations about dismissing it entirely however. The old TV series "My Mother the Car" comes to mind.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 03:31 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
You just said "consciousness", you didn't specify that it would have to think like and identify as human.
Is that what I said? Let's check:

Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Could you have a consciousness with a human personality in a machine of some kind like in the movie, "Her"? No, that's laughable. What if she was linked to a robotic body? That might work but the networking requirement would be extremely high. What if she had a simulated body and simulated environment and communicated with him as though he was in another room, physically separate from her? That's an interesting concept.
In fact you knew that I had said human personality because you repeated it in your reply:

Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
So a machine can't have a human-like personality... unless it's shaped like a person? Huh?
But then you flip flopped and agreed with me:

Quote:
If you want it to think exactly like a human does it would obviously need to be a human
Yes, that's what I said.

Quote:
but that's an arbitrary restriction.
I agree. The set of all possible intelligences should be much larger than just the human version. So, we can talk about non-human personality machine consciousness if you like.

Quote:
For consciousness in general there's no reason it would need to have a robotic body of any kind. It could be a big immobile box or a car or whatever.
Uh, well. How does this box get information about the world? A car would be similar so we can just go with box.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 08:27 PM   #100
Aridas
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
It isn't the body shape that is the problem. How do you think and identify as human if you don't have human limitations and characteristics? This has been discussed in science fiction for quite some time.
Why would one need to have human limitations and characteristics to be programmed to work/"think" as if one did? There's a good case to be made if the intelligence arose in some form of "naturally," but when you're dealing with AI, it's poor practice to underestimate how arbitrary the base programming can be.

Originally Posted by SOdhner View Post
You just said "consciousness", you didn't specify that it would have to think like and identify as human. If you want it to think exactly like a human does it would obviously need to be a human, but that's an arbitrary restriction.
Err... the relevant part of what you had quoted to this was...

Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Could you have a consciousness with a human personality in a machine of some kind like in the movie, "Her"?
The "with a human personality" would seem to directly contradict your assertion here, SOdhner, among all the rest of the points that could be made.
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Old 3rd October 2017, 11:43 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I don't mean (and didn't say) that decisions don't happen because they're pre-determined. Pre-determined decisions would presumably still be decisions. I'm saying decisions don't actually happen at all. They're not things or events in reality. They're retrospective abstractions. They're a narrative device, a feature of a model of the world that's chunked into narratives of agents (including ourselves) acting with volition.
I don’t understand.
(a) After a long deliberation you decide to chose a car instead other.
(b) Somebody throws a stone and you protect automatically your head.
Don’t you see any difference between (a) and (b)? Are they not two different kinds of behaviour?

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Old 4th October 2017, 07:13 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
In fact you knew that I had said human personality because you repeated it in your reply:
Note to self: don't post when tired.

Okay, my bad, lemme try to clarify: I think there's an important distinction between human consciousness, human-like consciousness, and consciousness in general.

I think a truly human consciousness is partly defined by it being literally part of a human and couldn't, therefore, exist without a human brain. But that's self-referential and obvious so I'm assuming that's not what we're talking about.

I think a human-like consciousness would be one that that humans could relate to on a surface level, regardless of whether or not it has any resemblance to human consciousness in deeper ways. This is typically what we're talking about when we talk about AI and stuff, we care about whether or not we can talk to it but if it's totally alien "under the hood" then we wouldn't know or care in most cases. I don't see any reason this would require a human-like body.

Consciousness in general could refer to either of those, or to things that aren't even remotely human-like.

Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Uh, well. How does this box get information about the world? A car would be similar so we can just go with box.
There's lots of ways to get information. Plug an ethernet cord into it. I'm just saying it doesn't need to have moving parts or a human-like body.
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Old 4th October 2017, 07:22 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
Could you explain what you mean by switching?
What I mean is that for the same known input, the program will deliver the same known output, essentially "switching" from one state to the other without any sort of decision-making process beyond the broadest possible meaning. Of course, the brain works that way too, but because much of the process (which is of a different nature and much more complex) and input is unknown, I wouldn't call it "switching".
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Old 4th October 2017, 11:46 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I don’t understand.
(a) After a long deliberation you decide to chose a car instead [an]other.
(b) Somebody throws a stone and you protect automatically your head.
Don’t you see any difference between (a) and (b)? Are they not two different kinds of behaviour?

First, do you see the similarities between (a) and (b)? Let's start with, they're both narratives. Each is a little story, featuring a protagonist (me), a conflict, and a resolution. In each case, the resolution comes about through volitional action.

(Unless your story is in the comic book super-powers genre, I dispute the "automatically." Does this "automatic" head-protecting power work if I don't see the stone? Does it work if I'm on drugs that impair the normal functioning of my central nervous system? Would it work if the stone were a bullet instead? If I were barely holding onto the edge of a cliff with both hands, and moving so as to protect my head would also cause me to fall to my death, would that happen "automatically?" Pending more details in the narratives, I assume the common-sense answer, which is no in each case.)

Because they're narratives, you get to label the volitional action in one plot line with the descriptor "decision" and withhold that label from the other. That's the storyteller's or literary critic's prerogative (just as it is mine to give both of them the descriptor "volitional"). But such terminology doesn't create reality.

What's happening in both cases is my nervous system is performing a lot of very complicated computations to effectively negotiate my environment to my advantage. In one case the advantage is not being hit by a stone; in the other, it's securing future transportation. The latter case is clearly a far more sophisticated instance of negotiating my environment, and the computations involved are correspondingly more extensive, more metabolically costly, and take more time. Those are important differences. A mouse could avoid the stone but not effectively weigh the costs and benefits of one automobile relative to another.

(However, let's not underestimate the amount of computational power required even for the first feat. Interpreting retinal stimuli so as to recognize that a discrete moving object exists whose trajectory is a threat and then coordinating an effective muscular response, all in real-time, would take massive processing power to achieve in a robot. And that's after the first massively parallel processing task, the spatial sorting of incoming photons based on the direction they're traveling in, has already been accomplished by the lens of the eye or camera.)

Why, then, do you call the action of purchasing one car when others are available for sale a "decision," but not the action of avoiding a thrown stone? Just a whim on your part? No. You have good reason. The same reason we usually don't complain when someone says the sun is rising. Because it seems that way.

As I said, the latter computation is complex, slow, and metabolically costly. The factors being weighed are themselves sophisticated narratives. ("What if I need to move items of furniture? What if the price of gasoline goes up? What if I have more kids? What if I get in a collision? What if this dealer isn't honest? How would owning this or that car affect my social standing among my friends or neighbors?") And we're the protagonist of many of those narratives as well. To optimize the outcome of this action, then, requires processing the likely outcomes of multiple hypothetical narratives. Because those narratives feature ourselves as protagonists, we must experience self-awareness in order to accomplish this (which, keep in mind, in the end is still all about effectively negotiating our environment). The subjective experience of this processing, we call making a decision.
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Old 4th October 2017, 12:12 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by barehl View Post
I know what that reminds me of:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The Bard was a pretty smart guy. And a heck of a writer too. So, thanks for the compliment!

Quote:
If your ideas were correct someone would have solved the problem long ago.

I don't see that following. "If the idea that stars are other suns were correct, we should have achieved travel between them long ago." Says who, based on what rationale?

Almost all approaches have been from the wrong direction. For instance, most work on computer-generated narrative has focused on stringing words together in a way that resembles the way words are strung together in a narrative, rather than on modeling a series of events and then describing it.

Does a computer program processing a short video and resolving it into a compact representation, in text form or otherwise, of what's going on — "a man looking at cars has to duck when someone throws a stone at him" — sound like a simple problem that should or would have been solved long ago? Some useful findings might come out of all the self-driving car research.
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Old 4th October 2017, 10:21 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
First, do you see the similarities between (a) and (b)? Let's start with, they're both narratives. Each is a little story, featuring a protagonist (me), a conflict, and a resolution. In each case, the resolution comes about through volitional action.
(Thank you for the grammatical correction).
They are not “narratives” in the sense of a fictional account of a singular event. They are not stories in any Superman comic. Don’t make caricatures, please. They are descriptions of two habitual mental events.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Because they're narratives [sic], you get to label the volitional action in one plot line with the descriptor "decision" and withhold that label from the other. That's the storyteller's or literary critic's prerogative (just as it is mine to give both of them the descriptor "volitional"). But such terminology doesn't create reality.
Before putting any label I detect some differences between both behaviours: one happens after a deliberative process, the other not. Don’t you see this difference? I insist on my question.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
What's happening in both cases is my nervous system is performing a lot of very complicated computations to effectively negotiate my environment to my advantage. In one case the advantage is not being hit by a stone; in the other, it's securing future transportation. The latter case is clearly a far more sophisticated instance of negotiating my environment, and the computations involved are correspondingly more extensive, more metabolically costly, and take more time. Those are important differences. A mouse could avoid the stone but not effectively weigh the costs and benefits of one automobile relative to another.
These are your personal interpretations. I am still in the description level. Let us go to my question, please.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Why, then, do you call the action of purchasing one car when others are available for sale a "decision," but not the action of avoiding a thrown stone? Just a whim on your part? No. You have good reason. The same reason we usually don't complain when someone says the sun is rising. Because it seems that way.
At the description level I notice that the rising of the sun is different to the raising of the moon. I need a different word for each. At the description level I notice that the events that precede my behaviour “buying-a-car” are different to the events that precede my behaviour “head-protecting”. I see that the differentiating element is the presence/absence of a deliberative process. Therefore, I need a different word for each of them.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
As I said, the latter computation is complex, slow, and metabolically costly. The factors being weighed are themselves sophisticated narratives. ("What if I need to move items of furniture? What if the price of gasoline goes up? What if I have more kids? What if I get in a collision? What if this dealer isn't honest? How would owning this or that car affect my social standing among my friends or neighbors?") And we're the protagonist of many of those narratives as well. To optimize the outcome of this action, then, requires processing the likely outcomes of multiple hypothetical narratives. Because those narratives feature ourselves as protagonists, we must experience self-awareness in order to accomplish this (which, keep in mind, in the end is still all about effectively negotiating our environment). The subjective experience of this processing, we call making a decision.
Are you saying that the difference between (a) and (b) is some process that requires auto-awareness and evaluation of “hypothetical alternatives”? Then we can call the outcome of a mental process that implies auto-awareness and evaluation of alternatives “to make a decision”. Do we agree?

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Old 4th October 2017, 10:59 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
They are not “narratives” in the sense of a fictional account of a singular event. They are not stories in any Superman comic. Don’t make caricatures, please. They are descriptions of two habitual mental events.
Without trying to intrude too much, Myriad was fairly certainly using narrative in a different and broader way than you seem to think. Narratives are far from solely fictional, after all. Would you immediately call the narrative of someone who lived through the hurricanes that hit the US and Caribbean Isle about what they experienced and how things have been for them since then to be fictional, simply because it's a story that they're telling? There are numerous other and notably varied forms of narrative that could be mentioned, too, but the simple fact is that your attempt to reduce narratives to a subset like the stories in any Superman comic is the caricature of the term here, not Myriad's usage.
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Old 5th October 2017, 08:03 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Are you saying that the difference between (a) and (b) is some process that requires auto-awareness and evaluation of ďhypothetical alternativesĒ? Then we can call the outcome of a mental process that implies auto-awareness and evaluation of alternatives ďto make a decisionĒ. Do we agree?

Yes, we can call the outcome of the deliberative process a decision, or call the process itself making a decision.

And we can call Frodo Baggins a hobbit. Why not? Everyone knows he is one.

Again, my point is that what we call things does not determine what actually exists. Some things, like Frodo and decisions, only occur in narrative. You can grind up a copy of The Lord of the Rings looking for Frodo but you'll only find paper and ink. You can trace out the functioning of a brain synapse by synapse looking for volitional decision-making but you'll only find cause and effect.
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Old 5th October 2017, 08:09 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post
.... your attempt to reduce narratives to a subset like the stories in any Superman comic is the caricature of the term here, not Myriad's usage.
"Unless your story is in the comic book super-powers genre..." These were not my words, but Myriad's sentence. Maybe Myriad wanted to say (an)other thing, but his "narrative" was not clear. Or the example was unfortunate.

According to the Oxford dictionary, a narrative is an account of a particular event linked to values and intentions. I was trying to describe a general event without any evaluation. My first aim is to describe two different behaviours as objectively as possible, without supossing anything.This is the difference between "narrative" and "description". In philosophy, the myth is narrative and the logos is explanatory -or "science", if you don't like Greek.
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Old 5th October 2017, 08:20 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Again, my point is that what we call things does not determine what actually exists.
PTB can we get this as a pop-up window that people have to click "I agree" to before entering the site?

But no Myriad is 100% correct. Stop acting like language creates reality. There's plenty of real things, processes, ideas, concepts, etc that we have never gotten around to applying some specific word to (usually because it's not necessary) and plenty of non-real things we have words for.

Language is a tool to describe reality. It's not a weapon you use to determine it.

Please people stop trying to win arguments by beating people over the head with language.
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Old 5th October 2017, 08:21 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
According to the Oxford dictionary, a narrative is an account of a particular event linked to values and intentions.
DICTIONARY FIGHT! *Throws dictionary, ducks someone else's thrown dictionary..*
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Old 5th October 2017, 08:30 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Yes, we can call the outcome of the deliberative process a decision, or call the process itself making a decision.

And we can call Frodo Baggins a hobbit. Why not? Everyone knows he is one.

Again, my point is that what we call things does not determine what actually exists. Some things, like Frodo and decisions, only occur in narrative. You can grind up a copy of The Lord of the Rings looking for Frodo but you'll only find paper and ink. You can trace out the functioning of a brain synapse by synapse looking for volitional decision-making but you'll only find cause and effect.
You seem a little obsessed with the name ďdecisionĒ.

There is a fact that you donít seem deny: many behaviours are the outcome of a process of deliberation between options that the subject evaluates before take one of them. Call it Gandalf the Grey or Morgan le Fay. But I donít recommend you to use these names because they can mislead people. This process of deliberation and subsequent behaviour is usually called ďdecisionĒ. It is a name like any other. The alternative is a behaviour type E-R, usually called reflex or instinct, according the circumstances.
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Old 5th October 2017, 08:38 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
You seem a little obsessed with the name ďdecisionĒ.

I'm obsessed with the topic of our conversation? Okay, I'm fine with that.

(Please recall that that conversation began with your quoting, and objecting to, this sentence of mine:
Quote:
"Making decisions" isn't a physical process that actually happens. Ever.
Note that the quote marks were in the original, indicating that I was talking about very specific terminology all along.)
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Old 5th October 2017, 09:01 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
DICTIONARY FIGHT! *Throws dictionary, ducks someone else's thrown dictionary..*
I am trying to understand what means Myriad with some words. Dictionaries are only a starting point.
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Old 5th October 2017, 09:05 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I'm obsessed with the topic of our conversation? Okay, I'm fine with that.

(Please recall that that conversation began with your quoting, and objecting to, this sentence of mine:

Note that the quote marks were in the original, indicating that I was talking about very specific terminology all along.)
Sorry; only a little obsessed with a problem of names. C'est pas grave.
I repeat my question: There is a fact that you donít seem deny: many behaviours are the outcome of a process of deliberation between options that the subject evaluates before take one of them. Do you agree?
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Old 5th October 2017, 09:55 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Sorry; only a little obsessed with a problem of names. C'est pas grave.
I repeat my question: There is a fact that you donít seem deny: many behaviours are the outcome of a process of deliberation between options that the subject evaluates before take one of them. Do you agree?

Behaviors are real. The options are real, usually, The "process of deliberation," the "subject," the "evaluation," and the "taking of one of them" are elements of a subjective narrative description of what's going on.

To the extent that it's a narrative we all generally share and agree to apply, you can call it a "fact" if you want to. But because it's actually a narrative, it can't falsify other different narratives. For example, does the taking of one option occur after the process of deliberation? The narrative clearly says it does, but research in cognitive neuroscience suggests otherwise.
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Old 5th October 2017, 10:08 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
"Unless your story is in the comic book super-powers genre..." These were not my words, but Myriad's sentence. Maybe Myriad wanted to say (an)other thing, but his "narrative" was not clear. Or the example was unfortunate.
*raises his eyebrows* Let's take a better look at that part of Myriad's post.

Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
First, do you see the similarities between (a) and (b)? Let's start with, they're both narratives. Each is a little story, featuring a protagonist (me), a conflict, and a resolution. In each case, the resolution comes about through volitional action.

(Unless your story is in the comic book super-powers genre, I dispute the "automatically." Does this "automatic" head-protecting power work if I don't see the stone? Does it work if I'm on drugs that impair the normal functioning of my central nervous system? Would it work if the stone were a bullet instead? If I were barely holding onto the edge of a cliff with both hands, and moving so as to protect my head would also cause me to fall to my death, would that happen "automatically?" Pending more details in the narratives, I assume the common-sense answer, which is no in each case.)
The context shows pretty clearly that your interpretation is not supportable. The "Unless your story is..." part quite clearly has nothing at all to do with the events being fictional or not, for example, so your objection was nonsensical from the start. At best, if we twist things slightly, you could be referring to an implication that YOUR attempted narrative about "automatically" is a fiction, not that narratives in general were, but your response would have been entirely off base to address the actual case made for that, if that was indeed what you were seeing.
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Old 5th October 2017, 10:45 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
From an adaptation standpoint, it occurs to me that true arbitrary free will, separate from thought processes such as the weighing of risks and benefits, would be an extraordinarily dangerous (and disadvantageous) trait.
I'm not quite sure what you are trying to say. If you are talking about random behavior then that would obviously be detrimental. However, there is no reason to assume that free will is random.

Are you suggesting that free will implies that you could make detrimental decisions? That actually is a problem which I think the brain solves with an inhibition system. When it is defective, I believe you get things like Tourettes.
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Old 5th October 2017, 11:17 AM   #119
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Until someone provides a workable definition of "Free Will" that isn't just saying "There's a magic air gap in our mental processing between cause and effect" this is all pointless.

I spent the last 5 years of my life in a thread on this board where someone tried to talk about a soul without mentioning the word, this is just more of the same.
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Old 5th October 2017, 11:22 AM   #120
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Just to be clear, yes, I am and have been using "narrative" in a very general sense, not implying necessary fictionality (nor non-fictionality). Synonyms would include "report," "record," "description," and "account." "Fiction" is a related word (so it would appear in a thesaurus) but is not a synonym because many narratives are non-fictional. "Story" is a synonym, but one must keep in mind that while some usages of "story" imply fictionality, the word in general does not; e.g. the "lead story" in a news report.

Most simple English sentences are (usually very simple) narratives. That's the basic form of English: sentences have a subject that's a person or thing, and a predicate describing something the person or thing resembles or does. See Jane run. That's a narrative.

Other symbols besides words can also encode and convey narrative. Equations and theorems are narratives. Your tax returns are a narrative.

Most meaningful definitions of words are also narratives. You can try to define a chair in terms of its physical form ("an elevated, roughly horizontal platform with an attached adjacent rigid or semi-rigid vertical panel") but it becomes a meaningful definition when you include a reference to the act of a person sitting, which also makes it a narrative. (This, by the way, helps to resolve the seeming paradox of meaning in language: since the definitions of words are only formed out of other words, how do we manage to make sense of it all? The words of definitions form narratives, and perceiving and understanding narrative is the cognitive adaptation that underlies our uniquely human linguistic abilities.)

Dictionary definitions of narrative tend to be a bit narrower, for instance in requiring inclusion of actions or events (i.e. changes) rather than just descriptions of static conditions, or requiring causal connections. For casual usage referring to traditional storytelling that's fine, but such restriction don't hold up well to analysis. For example, the first restriction would have "Sally is five" as non narrative, but "Sally has reached the age of five" as narrative; yet they mean the same thing.
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