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When does an algorithm turn alive?


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#81 Iftah   Members   -  Reputation: 409

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 11:37 AM

Quote:
Original post by Daerax
No, you simply misunderstood me. I simply meant that he is not correct. He works only, from a suppostion among many. The burden of proof need not be proof of infalliability of theory but rather that it is your task to show that your theory has correctly made accurate predictions. What he stated was not fact nor has there been any experimantal evidence in its favor and is thus mere conjecting. Occam's razor is a common sense principle and any scientific theory which requires it is inherently flawed. Intepretation of measurement in Quantum mechanics for example. I do not see what the existance or lack of, of God or evolution figures into what I said.

Note also that a theory which makes many correct predictions and then one wrong one is not necessarily declared to be wrong or thrown out. In fact no physical theory can be *True* or correct (where correct strictly means Not Wrong) since they are in essence nothing more than approximations since a~b => a <> b


Maybe I did misunderstand you, I thought you are attacking his theory of "brain is a machine" and not just the experiment he suggested, if thats not the case then please ignore my response.

I think you focus too much on the experiment he suggested and ignored the idea of his theory (which is what I tried to protect). While the experiment to clone a human atom by atom is problematic (to say the least) the idea he tried to describe is that the brain is just a machine, made up of matter just like any other machine; and that the feelings and such are just states in the machine.

That theory may not be tested by copy pasting a human, but it is supported by many other experiments, for example the brain malfunctions or interaction of medicine or CT scans and such. They all support the theory that the brain is a machine (made of atoms and nothing more) and the spirit or feelings are just states in the machine. So I would say there is plenty experimantal evidence in its favor.

I dont have any knowledge in the spirit world so I dont know how they explain the effects of chemical medicine on the state of the "spirit" or how they explain a physical damage to the brain affect the nature of the "spirit".

What I said about evolution is that it explains how this brain machine came to be without any need for a God or for a special spirit in us humans. Again, it has nothing to do with the experiment he suggested, only with the main idea he described and I tried to protect.

edit:
Quote:

You cannot answer for me: Are all subatomic particles truly the same? Yes? Then beyond arrangement we are no different, you and I. We are entirely indistinguishable at small enough scales. Why, are we even seperable?

I dont know if all subatomic particles are truly the same, but I dont see the problem with idea that we are indistinguishable at small enough scales, or with the idea that beyond arrangement we are no different. Is that so impossible? beyond arrangment a truck and a spaceship are (almost) the same yet you have no problem telling them apart. Not to mention that a computer running windows and a computer running linux are almost entirely the same but are seperable. I think you agree that beyond arrangment my tricep muscle is the same as your tricep muscle (well, sort of) so why should the brain be different?

Iftah.

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#82 Daerax   Members   -  Reputation: 1207

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 12:33 PM

But you see, the key is not in the possibility of atom by atom copy but rather in whether or not such is a sensible thing to imagine and if so, if such an action would result in the same person with the same memories. It seems such an assumption would be safe but it is only that and too often are assumptions shown wrong. When it comes to the subatomic we are more mere chefs with recipes than chemists with reactions or scientists with understanding. So such an offering in support of brain is machine argument is doubtful at best.

You cannot say the brain is a machine until you define what a machine is. Regardless of what you state, it is likely that the extracted essense would be similar to a requirement of a Completely deterministic system in the classic sense. You take a view that the sum is no greater than its parts. You make an assumption and so what you say is not true nor is it a fact. And volition, where does it place in this connective analogy? Please keep in mind that I have not stated my opinion on the matter. For or agaisnt, it is more useful if i keep it apart from this discussion.

Your last paragraph! Filled with so many intricately connected and complicated concepts whose unraveling would be most tasking. What do you have to say on this: Not only is everything indistinguishable but it is also inseperable.

Also Iftah, look again at this statement of yours and consider its implications in its entirety.
Quote:
I think you agree that beyond arrangment my tricep muscle is the same as your tricep muscle (well, sort of) so why should the brain be different?


[Edited by - Daerax on January 22, 2006 6:33:21 PM]

#83 Timkin   Members   -  Reputation: 864

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 06:50 PM

I really wanted to stay away from this discussion, but like any good black hole, it eventually grew to encompass that portion of the universe that included me!

Anyway, I wanted to offer a response to something Sneftel mentioned a page or so ago...

Quote:
Original post by Sneftel
Humans are no good at perceiving absolute sound volume, light intensity, temperature, etc... we are informed only by recent changes in sensation.


Certainly evidence from machine learning shows us that adaptation requires a persistent excitation signal and that learning (in dynamical systems) with the inclusion of differential information is more efficient than without it. However, what is most important for survival is our ability to detect change, which is more easily obtained by sensing or inferring differential signals than absolutes. For example... let's say you notice a 5% increase in the temperature in your bedroom. Just knowing the absolute values isn't very informative. What if you noticed that this increase occured in less than 1 second. Now THAT is informative (and suggestive of danger). If it happened during a 12 hour period though, we wouldn't worry so much (particularly when the daily temperature variation might be as much as 50% or more).

In actuality though, we have a combination of differential and absolute sensors, each designed to give feedback on information important to our survival and function.

Cheers,

Timkin

#84 Mizipzor   Members   -  Reputation: 247

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 12:13 AM

The things Timkin said got my brain started. Up until now Ive always designed my nets to take absolute inputs. Absolute speed, height, angle and so on. If I also gave it inputs with the changes, the change of speed in the last tick, change of height and angle, it would probably be able to respond to changes much better. For example, a flying craft compensates by thrusting upwards when its on its way down. Im gonna try it out as soon as I can... I just have to get the back propagation algorithm for my net to work first, lol. :P

Anyone else thought of this? Have anyone tried it? Or maybe its the standard way to do it. :P And I just have done it wrong to this point... hehe...

#85 Iftah   Members   -  Reputation: 409

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 08:17 AM

Quote:
Original post by Daerax
...
You cannot say the brain is a machine until you define what a machine is. Regardless of what you state, it is likely that the extracted essense would be similar to a requirement of a Completely deterministic system in the classic sense. You take a view that the sum is no greater than its parts. You make an assumption and so what you say is not true nor is it a fact. And volition, where does it place in this connective analogy? Please keep in mind that I have not stated my opinion on the matter. For or agaisnt, it is more useful if i keep it apart from this discussion.


Im sorry but Im having trouble understanding what it is you try to say (my English isnt perfect so I choose to blame my bad vocabulary).

The way I see it there are only two options:
1) option One: the brain is a machine, meaning its built only from matter (like any other physical thing in the world) and the mind (including feelings, consciousness, volition and all) are just states in the machine. Sort of like a software+hardware computer where the feelings are states in the software (except in the brains case the software and hardware arent clearly seperated). The self awareness I feel is hard to understand but I think its just a state in this brain machine.
2) option Two: the brain is a combination of a physical machine and some spritual out of this world element. This element is what defines me as a person and is what my self awareness is all about.

option two is what often suggested by religious people and is what I am fighting against. They dont provide any tests to check this theory or even define it well. This option is what I call a bad theory (using Ocassm's razor). Surprizngly many (intelligent) people trust that option two is the real thing only because we have this subjective feeling of self awareness that we cant believe a physical machine can produce.

Self awareness is something subjective and hard to measure but I can imagine being less self aware or more self aware. I believe evolution pushed us to being more and more self aware (but we are still not aware of many things).

If you think about it, it makes sense this self-awerness illusion makes the brain machines act better (survive more). I know Im just speculating and not offering scientific tests here but just think about it.

Quote:

Your last paragraph! Filled with so many intricately connected and complicated concepts whose unraveling would be most tasking. What do you have to say on this: Not only is everything indistinguishable but it is also inseperable.

what?? of course things are distinguishable and seperable! And if we are indistinguishable at very small scales so what? we are certainly distinguishable at bigger scales. Can you distinguish two programs by a single statement or expression? maybe not. can you distinguish between two programs by seeing 1000 lines of code? probably. I imagine our brains as a computer program with 10 billion lines of code. Certainly two different brains are distinguishable and seperable.

Quote:

Also Iftah, look again at this statement of yours and consider its implications in its entirety.
Quote:
I think you agree that beyond arrangment my tricep muscle is the same as your tricep muscle (well, sort of) so why should the brain be different?


Why should it be different? its built the same way cell by cell when we were embryos (excuse my spelling, Im too tired to check the dictionary).
The brain is maybe a billion times more complex but its what Im trying to say its still just a bunch of cells.
If you somehow plug out my muscle and plug it into you arm you will get my strength (or rather weakness [smile]) and my speed and my flexability and whatever characteristics the muscle contains.
If you somehow plug out my brain and plug it into you head, you will (I know its not proven or testable, but this is what my belief suggest) gain my personality memories and self awareness. Or rather *I* will gain your body.
Yes, its not possible to test with current technology, but why should it be different then the muscle? These are just organs grown when we were tiny ball of cells floating in our mothers stomach.

Iftah.

#86 klayAlloy   Members   -  Reputation: 150

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 11:05 AM

Quote:
Original post by HemoGloben
Uhh...Isn't a more likely option to the whole internet seemingly alive, france being alive thing the fact that both happen to be in large part run by humans that are alive? I mean, ...meh.

Ok, focus on the france thing. It acts like a living entity because it's run by living entities. Doesn't that make more sense than trying to pretend that france itself is a living entity? Your entire thought experiment attempts to grapple the idea of seperating acts like an entity and is an entity, but somehow manages to miss acts like entity because it's run by entity.

Meh, again.

I apologize for the incoherence, but I think my general thought is there.


A quick thought, if in fact France is a living entity, which is made up of little entities, meaning that that make up is possible. Look at what a human is:

a human is a collection of several entities all working together to form a human. We have several cells(entities) in our make up that are all different yet work towards the same result; a human entity. You know what i'm saying?

What is a collection of humans then? France? The internet? God?


#87 Daerax   Members   -  Reputation: 1207

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 02:55 PM

This thread has motivated me to try again on my modern approach to physics series of articles. I think it is time again that physics remembered its ties with philosophy and cognition. Iftah, nothing you say is incorrect, at least not on the surface. But the reality is far more detailed than the image you sketched. Your last paragraph though... the first thing you learn in science is never to speak definately. Never say This Will behave like That. Instead, say, it is highly probable, based on the current state of knowledge that X might behave as such given conditions Y. [smile].

#88 silverphyre673   Members   -  Reputation: 454

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 08:42 PM

I haven't read the entire set of posts, but I just wanted to point something out about the whole "what makes it up determines whether it's alive" debate. In biology, things display properties that are more than the sum of their parts. These are called "emergent properties," and are essentially what allow us to function. On our scale, a tree, iron nails, and glue aren't really good for much (well, except maybe for air [grin]). Put them together in the right way, and you have a chair to sit in. You can't sit on a tree, nails, or glue.

This may be a slightly weak analogy, but I think that simply because an entity is made up of something other than organic compounds doesn't mean it couldn't exhibit many of the same properties (in this case, life, or intelligence). Robots could reproduce themselves, if they figured out how to mine, refine materials, and put them together properly into a new robot. This is, in essence, the same process we follow: eat, break down the food and turn it into new, useful compounds, and then use instructions coded inside us to make a new person.

The debate shouldn't really be over whether a machine can truly be "alive," since the scientific definition of "alive" is already defined and can clearly be met by sufficiently advanced machines. Nor should it be over whether a machine can be "intelligent," because if a machine can cope and react to all the situations a human can to the best of its physical abilities, it would have to be intelligent. Where the territory gets rougher is when you get into the philosophical/semi-spiritual realm of emotions and soul, where the facts and the beliefs are impossible to separate. Debate that all you like, but it is hard to come up with a conclusive answer.

All my two cents. Nice post, for the most part, though.

#89 Timkin   Members   -  Reputation: 864

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 01:42 PM

Quote:
Original post by silverphyre673
if a machine can cope and react to all the situations a human can to the best of its physical abilities, it would have to be intelligent.


...and yet a lot of very dumb human beings manage to live and procreate (my cynical side emerging ;) )! Higher intelligence clearly isn't needed for life... what we need though is to recognise the spectrum that the word intelligence is applied to and define intelligence based on the complexity of interactions with ones environment and the ability to manage them. Thus, the average human is probably more intelligent than the average cat, because the human's interactions with its environment include a whole range of social interactions that cats don't share. When it comes to self-propelled flight (without external apparatus), the common house-fly would be considered more intelligent in its ability to execute flight, but the human (not the average human mind you) would be more intelligent in their ability to explain flight (which, again, is a social interaction! ;) ).

Basically I agree with silverphyre673 though.

Cheers,

Timkin




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