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Do you think Artificial Intelligence could have awareness?

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I know some of you might be smiling already, as this is something that might sound very fictional to you, and like something that you only see in movies. Still, read if you are interested at all about this subject. First thing many might think of when talking about this subject is how just something like a "soul" could get transfered into a computer system. Well, let's exclude everything that does not have scientific proof, like souls. If you think about the subject from the point of view that there is nothing that gets transferred, it is much easier to think about. Do we know more about our own awareness than that it could be "just" an illusion created by our brain? I know some of you are still thinking about how some kind of awareness gets somehow magically "transfered" into the human body when they start existing or something. Well, don't think like that for a moment now... I know it might be hard as you think about "how a certain awareness, or soul, appears in a certain human body". That is the whole problem here; I don't believe that there are awareness' floating around waiting to appear in something material. If there is no other side than the physical side, and the illusion created by it, which is our mind and awareness, computer AI having an awareness sounds possible. If there is no true I that appeared in this physical I, but the true I is the result of how my brains work, and actually the illusion of the physical brain, and not an illusion of some kind of soul, then a similar awareness could be created in a computer system. If we are not transferred to a body and brain, but we are a physical brain that exists and how it works creates a feeling of awareness for _it_, not some kind of external us, and we are the physical brain, the creature, everything seems logically simple to me. Now, a similar kind of awareness could thus possibly exist in a computer... it could exist in anything that makes decisions or... this is something that I don't have words ready, so I'll just talk about computer AI now. The way a computer makes logical decisions based on different factors could result in a small awareness that is not complex, nor can do much decisions or think on it's own, as it is the illusion of the physical computer. If you think about the complexity of the human way of making decisions and feeling (let me get to this later), you can realize how hard it would be to create a computer system that would act the same way. When a human mind makes a decision, every memory affects it, the time affects it, the people around the human affect it, everything affects it... if a computer system would be programmed to take all these things into consideration, the code that would just make the decision about what to drink with the food (not that in a system there would be own codes for each decision, but one general code that makes everything; this is just an example here) would be longer than all operating systems' codes together. But, if a system like that could be created; what would be the difference between it and the human mind? Based on what I said before, the difference would be only that the human brain, the mind, is made out of organic material, and the computer brain out of things the human race call artificial. Still, the way of operating could be exactly the same; and if there are no souls or awareness that gets magically transferred from a garden of free souls ready to be moved to a physical living being (what is living anyway?), the awareness would have been created inside the computer as a result of it being able to make decisions and feel... feel, which could just be a register that is affected by memories and surroundings and thus affects decisions. Thus, the artificial intelligence in the computer could be aware of itself just like we are, and thus, in a way, not be artificial any more than we are. If this is hard for you to think about, don't think of the computer system raising to the level of us, but think of us dropping to the level of that computer... what would be the drop? I don't see any drop there... maybe we are not that magical in the end... we are just like anything that can make decisions. As a summary I could say that because we are so far away from any kind of artificial intelligence like that, and probably never will get even close, this text was only theoretical consideration of things. Still, it also means that if things are in any way like what I presented here, even the smallest decision making systems would have a very simple and small awareness, but an awareness non the less. I also want to note that I just sat down here, wrote the topic of this thread and started writing without any previous material or text, and did not stop before finishing; I, again, also want to note that I have no kind of scientific proof about anything nor am sure about the correctness of anything presented here, and that this is just my own speculation (I also did not read the text trough :p). I hope you enjoyed it or it made you think about something :) Pauli [Edited by - Pelikaruga on April 24, 2005 9:04:49 AM]

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This is something scientists and software engineers have been asking for years, wont find any answers here my friend.

ace

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As clayasaurus says it, yes, an AI can have awareness, but only if it is programmed to. This can be related to how the human brain was designed to be "aware."

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Interresting point. I don't think there will be Arnold Schwarzenegger robots conquoring the world in all of a sudden, unless we program them to do like Soga said. But the awareness thing is pretty vague, we can't even discribe our own awareness. I don't think it has to do anything with the complexity of our brains. Simple animals have awareness as well so a very simple computer program that's too stupid to calculate 1+2 could have awareness as well, in theory of course.

When is something aware? A tree is a living organism but as far as we know, it isn't aware that it is living. Well, maybe it is but it can't think of it. If we think about awareness we think of our name, our current position, feeling, smell etcetera. A tree doesn't have the 'tools' (a brain) to think about that but then again, maybe a 'soul' is just some chemistry that can't do anything so a tree might have a soul just as well. A machine on itself isn't an organism so I don't think it could be aware. Of course, you can program it but that would be fake I think. But what if we had the technology to replace our brains with a computer? I think the brain is nothing more than a tool to calculate, store and control. Just like a CPU and RAM does for a computer. If that's true, we could replace brains with a computer. Would we be 'dead zombies' or would we still have a awareness? I think the answer is yes.

It seems to me that awareness is some kind of part of the body. Maybe it are just a couple of atoms, maybe its something spiritual, I don't know. But if we know what it is we might be able to implement that 'soul' into a machine to give it awareness... But I don't think that will happen (soon). None of the great thinkers of the last few thousands years were able to explain this stuff so. Maybe its better, I can't live with robots that are aware and smarter than me ;)

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Original post by clayasaurus
Yes, if programmed correctly on the right hardware.

Hahaha... tell me, is consciousness big-endian or little-endian?

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spek wrote: "I don't think it has to do anything with the complexity of our brains. Simple animals have awareness as well so a very simple computer program that's too stupid to calculate 1+2 could have awareness as well, in theory of course."


Exactly. This is how I have explained it to a few people personally, as they asked about it and did not get the point. Our awareness is huge in the scale of our world. A squirrell has awareness too, but it is less intelligent and less aware. A computer program could have an awareness too, but just way simpler, way way simpler, but an awereness nevertheless; the point of this topic.

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This sort of assumes that we as humans know why we make our decisions. But in most cases we don't. Most of the time the answer to "why?" is "because." There seems to be processes in our minds that we just don't have access to. Those little impulses that make everyone unique in some way. You can't really program that. No mathmatical formula will give you impuless that are consistent with eachother over time and in different situations like we see in people or animals.

You can give a computer personality and possibly a concept of itself but it will never be a close aproximation of the human mind. We are more complicated then even we know.
"I think therefore I am" is not a good explanation of the human mind. There is so much more to us then thinking.

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Original post by Pelikaruga
A squirrell has awareness too, but it is less intelligent and less aware.

Why directly correlate intelligence and awareness? What evidence do you have for that claim?

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Well, I think that, not being a very mainstream-spiritual person, our awareness is really just how we interpret data that we get through our sensory input (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell). We don't know something if we have never seen it before, and we can become confused about something and have other people think we are doing things right. For example:

What if there was a man who was color-mixed-up. He saw all colors backwards, so where a normal person sees red, he sees green, and where a normal person sees white, he sees black. Now, if this were true, because we define color in terms of what we see, not in terms of a verbal definition ( just try and put what a color is into words!), he could play "I spy" with a normal person and be as effective at it as they are, even though he is seeing all the trees in a shade of red.

Because of this, when a computer, for example, is told that "a chair is a type of furniture", it can "know" this as well as we do, because even if we went on to tell it that furniture is a kind of fruit, the same would happen to a human if told the same thing ( assuming that this is a young person inexperianced with english). Also, we recognize objects by visual patters - a chair has about four legs, you can sit in it, its usually made of wood, etc. If the computer had an excellent sight/speech recognizer that let it recognize characteristics and correlate them with words - like seeing a curly piece of hair and recognizing similarities with a curly piece of wire, if programmed to use those results well, it could acheive as good a simulation of intelligence as we have.

After all, if I kept you locked in a box for twenty years, then brought you out and told you that the sun is purple and Barney is gold, you would believe me.

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red 625-740 nm 480-405 THz
orange 590-625 nm 510-480 THz
yellow 565-590 nm 530-510 THz
green 500-565 nm 600-530 THz
cyan 485-500 nm 620-600 THz
blue 440-485 nm 680-620 THz
violet 380-440 nm 790-680 THz


Theres a little bit of overlap. So greenish blue would close to 500nm.

From,
Nice coder

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Wasn't there a program a few years back that learned via "IS-A, HAS-A, IS-RELATED-TO, OPPOSITE-OFF" and all that kind of relationships, which eventually asked "What am I ?".

Although probably this program was also given a hardcoded amount of abilities...

Does anyone remember?

Edo

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Well, what ilverphyre673 sais is true I think... at least, if we would know what the truth is. Luckily, most humans think the same about most things, like the sky is blue, rain makes you wet, a bang on your head hurts etcetera. But the truth is a relative thing. Just because our brains work in a certain way, we think coffee smells good and 2x4==8 (I'm sorry for those who disagree, but you get the point). But when someones brains are set up differently (we call it mental ill), his/her truth might be very different. You can't blame him, its just the way he sees things.

But again, I don't think it has anything to do with awareness as brains are jus a tool to do stuff. We thinkg awareness is to 'reqognize' the world and events around us, like somebody calls your name. Its (too) difficult but a pc good be programmed to be aware as well with stuff like voice detection, sight reqognition and a large memory to store happenings. But does that make a computer 'aware'? In my eyes, its still just a machine, an intelligent one though. Awareness is some kind of feeling that you really exists, or as spiritual persons may say, a soul. No matter how smart a machine gets, it wouldn't be 'alive' until that soul thing (whatever that might be) is implemented.

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Think about it, the brain of an ant is more powerful than the most powerful super computer. It would take countless processing power to simulate it. Awareness spurs from sences. So if you have sences, you have awareness.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
First of all I like to think about computers as systems.They have inputs(close to our sensations), reason(not so close to ours in nature, but pretty close as result).I think knowing about other things is like processing notions(which is doable).
What people express by awareness I am not really certain(I am not a native English speaker and the concept somewhat eludes me) but I am pretty sure is a dynamic inside a notion world. That is the world of conceptswhich include all sensations and thoughts at a given time), changes as a result of smth.,and yields another nebula of information. One of these changes can be modelled to follow the flow of human reasoning being aware of smth.(the question is what is aware).
So there you go, you have awareness.Pretty rudimentary demo, but can it be accepted as such. The only thing is what is awareness?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I will to point you to a resource on the web that may hold the clue on ai modelled as relations(high end ai)in the future, much like neural nets.(base end ai).
Intermixed , I think we can have a virtual brain.


(I won't sign this)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
www.daml.org

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well, obviously the brain is a _MUCH_ better processing tool than a computer is. Nature has been working on us for like 10,000 years, we've had computers for about 50. :) In addition, VERY little has been done so far to give computers visual or audio capabilities, much less smell or touch. This makes a big difference, as it limits the amount of learning a computer can do to text, for the most part. But it can do this fairly well, especially when simulating what (we think) the brain works like.

Also, emotions and feelings (pain/love/fear - all those) stem from electronic pulses from nerve to nerve, and are interpreted by the brain. In theory, if your brain were really screwed up, you could interpret pain as pleasure. But nature has designed us (for good reason) to interpret it negatively, so we don't kill ourselves.

All in all, I think natural selection has such a force of time, in addition to a very effective and objective way of judging which of a crop is the best and improving it, that there is no other way to go about developing a "life-like", emotional, pattern-recognizing AI. They aren't the only way to go, though. In many situations, it would make more sense to use some other kind of AI that is more specialized to a certain application.

This may generate flames, but in my opinion, the way to go with this highly experimental and theoretical AI would be a genetic algorithm + ANN, both the best ever invented. It may never be achieved. Why don't more n00bs ask about how to make one of these :) ??

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"But when someones brains are set up differently (we call it mental ill), his/her truth might be very different. You can't blame him, its just the way he sees things."

This reminds me... truth is my favorite topic... I have talked about it so much.

Oh, and people, I was not talking about creating anything humanlike; just about if any kind of thing that processes could have awareness, no matter how simple.

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As a future AI researcher, i whould like to point out some things.

AI (not the practical part including automated mars landers and games) are used as a tool to do research on the human intelligence (not copy it).

For example, somebody asked themselfe "what is learning?"

Then AI researchers developed rule-based systems, ANN, classification, case-based systems, and we got a nice understanding of what learning is (in its simples form). This was possible because someone defined some messurements on learning. (Improve on task T, by experience E. or something like that).

A great first step for the computer-awareness, would be to define some demands for us to say that something have awareness. If we got these somple rules for is-aware/is-not-aware, we could try to build simple structures and systems that had these features. The rules would not need to be correct, but should point in the right direction. The simplest (theoretical) form for awareness, should not be that complex.(and therefor could be understanded much better then the human brain)

As i see it, we have totaly disabled people (no sensory intact) witch stil are aware.

We got people who lost their ability to make new memories, that are aware.

Are children under 12 moths of age aware?

I think awareness in some way is a memory, with some input, and a while(true){} loop. the system must be programmed to explore its memory, and reason over it. Just like Descartes, it could find proof of existance of god, the world, and itselfe :-) (This was done by reason).

So, a chalange:

--------------
Describe atomic features you think are needed for something to be called aware!
--------------

(Example: Remembering stuff, is not atomic, and my camcorder can do it)

My contribution:

--------------
1, The system should newer stop, and should be able to supply itselfe with tasks to reason around, == no idle status. (try to not think, its almost impossible)
--------------

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I'm gunna be honest here and say that I haven't read the responses. Technically if you're talking about excluding souls because of lack of scientific proof, you've sort of got to rule out awareness... unless you mean something as simple as a bot in an FPS that is aware of its position in the world so it doesn't get shot, but that's not very complex. Key differences are in processing power. By sheer processing speed, the machine wins out, but our brain is made up of very simple processing units that all work in parallel, which means that while they're not doing much individually, they're all doing something at any given time, so overall the brain has more power. However, it is important to note that nevertheless these processing units (individual brain cells) do follow specific rules, which can be determined statistically. And emulated. On a computer. Now, chances are you won't be building vast numbers of tiny processing units, but rather software to simulate them on an ordinary computer, where they won't run in parallel and thus they won't be nearly as fast as a human brain. Still, you could copy the "programming" of the brain, the only thing that logically creates the mind (there's no room for a "soul" to communicate with the brain that controls your body), and thus have your mind on a machine. All very theoretical, of course. Could really happen, but we just don't have the technology for it yet. On the other hand, I can't help but think that there's got to be a simpler way we could create humanlike consciousness on a machine, something that, through a slightly more intricate set of rules, could create human or better intelligence on current hardware. No evidence for this, just a hunch. We've been looking for 50 years or so, haven't found it yet. Don't hold your breath. For more information, check out my (no longer updated) blog, http://joshstens.blogspot.com

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By sheer processing speed, the machine wins out


The brain, according to Wiki, has at least 1000 times more processing power than a computer. I have never heard anyone say, before now, that a machine is faster at processing.

I think that the way we code AI for useful things is very different from the way the human brain thinks. However, with enough expertise, hardware power, and research into how the brain works, I believe we could simulate an AI that works like the brain.

I think I'm done with this thread now - but congrats on civil discussion!

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Here is something to throw into the mix, and again I'm late. :p

Scientists have done lots of research into awareness and what it means. On the simplest level, awareness is involved with self-image. Animals with well developed brains have a certain level of self image. Example? We recognize ourselves in the mirror. We know that we are looking at an image of ourselves. New borns take a while, but in about 12 months of development they know that looking at a mirror is equivalent to looking at themselves. Dolphins are known to be capable of looking at mirror and know that the reflection is of themselves. Some researchers found that dolphins actually like looking at themselves in the mirror. Dogs, for example, for the most part think their reflection in a mirror is another entity. Most animals don't realize that a mirror reflects an image of themselves. Some primates can't use mirrors either. So, personally, I feel the concept of awareness is connected very tightly to the concept of "self" and "self-image."

So, if we can develop a computer system that has vision and can look in a mirror and instinctively know or learn the fact that its looking at itself, then we "might" be able to say that, "yes, it has some level of awareness." That's just my opinion. The mirror test is actually a pretty good way to test consciousness too.

As for emotions, I believe strongly that all complex human behaviors and emotions can be boiled down to simple survival instincts. When a baby is hungry, it cries and gets upset, because hunger is a negative state. When you give him/her food, he/she will become happy. As for likes and dislikes on types of food, that may very well be a hardwired bodily reaction to certain chemical make-up in the food relating to taste, smell, texture, etc. But, basically, you can boil things down to very simple things.

MIT actually has an interesting project thats been going on for years with a robot called Kismet. Kismet uses the start from scratch approach. After playing with it for like the past decade, it seem to have grown to have the level of intelligence of a 1 or 2 year old. It has vision, hearing, and some very simple tactile and verbal skills. Though it still speaks mostly in gibberish baby talk, but it still is a very interesting project.

Personally, I believe that the inherent hardware architecture of computing is limiting the creation of intelligence. Computer systems are binary in nature, no matter how high level a language you have, everything boils down to being binary at the end. People are not binary. Our minds really don't process information faster than a computer. We probably can't calculate partial derivatives as fast as a computer, but we can definitely recognize our parents' faces faster. So, on a certain level, Our minds are more like complex relational databases. with very low processing power in general. We definitely don't think at 3GHz. In the end, human minds are capable of very abstract processing. We do very few operations per second as compared to a computer, but every operations is relatively complex for a computer.

So, can a computer system or an AI gain awareness? Yes, and no. On a certain level, the answer is most likely, we don't know. However, yes, suftware can be made to grow autonomously and gain some form of "awareness." However, the question is, will be recognize that as "awareness."

It should be noted as well, that for most AI researchers, if something can be boiled down to a deterministic formula, then its not intelligent. ELIZA, the first psychiatrist program was considered cutting edge and aweful "intelligent" until people realized that it was only a string parser.

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Quote:
Original post by WeirdoFu
Scientists have done lots of research into awareness and what it means. On the simplest level, awareness is involved with self-image. Animals with well developed brains have a certain level of self image. Example? We recognize ourselves in the mirror. We know that we are looking at an image of ourselves.

That only gets you so far. The question is, at what level do you "know" it? I can quite easily hook a computer up to a webcam, run pattern recognition tests against a stored picture of itself, and have it print "Hey, it's me!" on the screen when it "sees" itself in a mirror. Obviously that's not awareness, because the computer only takes that knowledge to heart on the most superficial of levels. To take the analogy further, I can have it check its own specs, do google image searches on the part numbers of its own monitor and case, and "intelligently" determine what it looks like. But I'd argue that that's still nowhere near awareness; the creation of the montage to match is an algorithm, not awareness, and the use of the montage is just another algorithm.

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