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## When does an algorithm turn alive?

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88 replies to this topic

### #61Sneftel  Senior Moderators

Posted 03 January 2006 - 09:21 PM

Quote:
 Original post by busymeWhen you know your self and understand, then you can develop such AI. Otherwise it just fruitless, it may emulate but never be it no matter how automated it is.

Despite our lack of knowledge regarding how humans navigate through mazes, we nonetheless have developed algorithms to allow computers to navigate through mazes. Understanding the inner workings of a process is a requirement for simulating it, not for emulating it.
Quote:
 So you first you must understand yourself, your inner working, and your "I am" identity then you can talk about this. Other wise like someone here said this "REDUNDANT"!

I think you guys need to look up 'redundant' in a dictionary.

### #62NQ  Members

Posted 03 January 2006 - 09:38 PM

Well said, Sneftel.
As a comment, I chose to not refer to highly technical terms such as 'dualism' since I thought that would make people feel negatively about the text. Refering to fun things like movies and completely new terms instead, i hoped, would decrease the negative-and-boring factor.

### #63Sneftel  Senior Moderators

Posted 03 January 2006 - 09:47 PM

I dunno. As an academic, I prefer precise and well-defined jargon to "fun" terms, since it isn't subject to unraveling when you want to go deeper. Now, introducing dualism--in particular, the uneasy standoff between emergentism and biological naturalism--in the context of Blade Runner is a great idea. But I don't think you should worry about scaring people off with the jargon. Just ease them in with the pop culture references, and hit them with the jargon once they're all limbered up.

### #64NQ  Members

Posted 03 January 2006 - 10:04 PM

Ahh... very good point.
(rating++)

### #65HemoGloben  Members

Posted 03 January 2006 - 10:45 PM

Well first off, I'm glad that the actual of intent of my statements, and their implications was noticed.
Sneftel
Quote:
 Seems a little weak. Are you saying that things cannot be alive unless they are comprised of parts which are alive? That seems to break down. Carbon and hydrogen atoms can't really be said to be alive. Concurrently, humans display much more capability for adaptation and intelligence than the cells of which they are composed. They can, by some measure of "alive", be said to be MORE alive than those cells: they display traits above those which the cells themselves can "run".

Touche I suppose. Though my statement was really only intended to be an occum's razor of sorts.

Then again, we are arguing when systems become humanistic, so trying to deduce when humans become humanistic is probably a pretty good place to start.

NQ
Quote:
 I'm having trouble giving examples of complex systems - like France - which are not run by living beings, so I cannot counter the argument.

I'd say, that in large part, you're having trouble because there aren't any. Well, outside of humans themselves, which brings us back to arguing about when humans become humanistic.

### #66HemoGloben  Members

Posted 03 January 2006 - 10:51 PM

Quote:
 Despite our lack of knowledge regarding how humans navigate through mazes...

To be fair, humans aren't really competent at navigating mazes. We're a tad to relative, a tad too stuck in the here and now.

Which is why I'd say we have so much trouble emulating, ourselves. We've somehow evolved with such a here, now mentality, but are somehow capable of there, then thought. Which is quite a large contradiction, but I've come to think of it as quite accurate. All of our senses are good at relative sensing rather than absolute sensing. Hotter, colder, softer, louder, harder, faster, slower. The only sense mildly absolute is sight, and even that is quite shoddy with absolutes.

But I digress.

### #67Sneftel  Senior Moderators

Posted 04 January 2006 - 07:19 AM

Quote:
 Original post by HemoGlobenWhich is why I'd say we have so much trouble emulating, ourselves. We've somehow evolved with such a here, now mentality, but are somehow capable of there, then thought. Which is quite a large contradiction, but I've come to think of it as quite accurate. All of our senses are good at relative sensing rather than absolute sensing. Hotter, colder, softer, louder, harder, faster, slower. The only sense mildly absolute is sight, and even that is quite shoddy with absolutes.

Hm... seems like two separate ideas here (correct me if I'm wrong), both interesting. As for the first one, I'd argue that "here, now" versus "there, then" is not necessarily a contradiction. It may well be that we humans are permanently stuck in the hypothetical and the subjunctive, and that those hypotheticals which happen to be generated directly by our experience simply get a VIP pass of sorts to our frontal lobe. Recent research on mirror neurons, while preliminary and limited, lends support to the idea that we comprehend a real apple in the same way as we comprehend an imaginary apple that we want to obtain.

The second thing is interesting because it seems to apply on a number of levels. Humans are no good at perceiving absolute sound volume, light intensity, temperature, etc... we are informed only by recent changes in sensation. But at higher levels the same thing seems to hold. It's something that marketers have known for a long time: If you advertise something as $29 marked down to$19, it'll be more attractive than simply selling it for \$19 to begin with. It may be a reflection of our role as social animals that we are so keenly influenced by norms and perceived deviations from them. The question then, of course, is whether that's an innate element of sentience, or merely an oddity of our particular situation.

### #68Sneftel  Senior Moderators

Posted 04 January 2006 - 07:20 AM

Quote:
 I meant to play on the recursive nature of self-representation. if you were to fully describe the process by which sapience occurs, you'd have to describe the understanding of sapience, and so on...

Ahhhh, got it. I misunderstood.

Posted 10 January 2006 - 08:59 AM

Quote:
Original post by NQ
Quote:
 Original post by Horatius83When my car is not functioning correctly I may say that it is "being stubborn" and perhaps a few other things that I won't repeat. This anthropomorphism is a way for me to cope with the fact that the machine is very complicated and I don't understand it. (...)

Sorry, but I must cincerely object. This style of thinking is not evident in all humans, and certainly not within myself! I do never match peoples actions to my own way of thinking, and I also never call my car 'stubborn'. This is because I understand the workings of the car. People who do not understand it, thus superimposes their own view of things upon the car. (...)

huh?

Horatius83 says:
-I antropomorphize my car because I don't understand it
NQ says:
-I don't antropomorphize my car because I understand it
These aren't conflicting at all... and then NQ goes on with:
-...but people who don't understand it superimpose their own view of things upon the car.

which could be by antropomorphizing it. (a15g if I was a copy-paste less person :P )

### #70Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*  Guests

Posted 20 January 2006 - 12:51 PM

Well, this my belief, make what you want of it.

Going back to the thought experiment of copying yourself atom by atom - without killing yourself (the original). You are in effect creating two "you"'s both with the belief they have a soul, are alive, and are "you". For me this really breaks down what humanity really is - a clever animal with a huge brain full of beliefs, all of which are nothing but inter-connected neurons. My answer to the question of this topic is, we are alive, but we are just a self-replicating algorithm of amino-acids so we are no more alive (more advanced though) than an ant or a piece of dust. The only difference is a piece of dust will never replicate and improve itself into something as advanced as us. This ghost or ego we believe we have is an evolved solution to the world, as with emotions, humans with more of this "ghost" would have survived more. Similarly the belief in God and afterlife has an advantage over the obvious truth we will be nothing in 100 years.

So to sum up my belief, we are the product of a genetic algorithm, the best solution so far to earth.

Please feel free to criticize, I would love to be proved wrong.

### #71Sneftel  Senior Moderators

Posted 20 January 2006 - 12:53 PM

If consciousness was only something we believed we had... then what, exactly, would be doing the believing?

### #72/ owl   Banned

Posted 20 January 2006 - 03:04 PM

Quote:
 Original post by Anonymous PosterWell, this my belief, make what you want of it.Going back to the thought experiment of copying yourself atom by atom - without killing yourself (the original). You are in effect creating two "you"'s both with the belief they have a soul, are alive, and are "you". For me this really breaks down what humanity really is - a clever animal with a huge brain full of beliefs, all of which are nothing but inter-connected neurons. My answer to the question of this topic is, we are alive, but we are just a self-replicating algorithm of amino-acids so we are no more alive (more advanced though) than an ant or a piece of dust. The only difference is a piece of dust will never replicate and improve itself into something as advanced as us. This ghost or ego we believe we have is an evolved solution to the world, as with emotions, humans with more of this "ghost" would have survived more. Similarly the belief in God and afterlife has an advantage over the obvious truth we will be nothing in 100 years.So to sum up my belief, we are the product of a genetic algorithm, the best solution so far to earth.Please feel free to criticize, I would love to be proved wrong.

I'm not going to try to prove you wrong, because, objetively, what you say is irrefutable.

But... You gotta agree with me that, many times, things are not just what they seem to be. And most of the time we discover we are wrong about our cientific conception of the universe, and we are pushed to evolve our understanding.

You say a piece of dust doesn't has the chance to evolve into something like us, but we were also just star-dust once. Even now, most of the matter that composes our bodies belonged to the stars.

Now I ask to you, if the rests of the dead stars can arrange themselves into something like us, why cannot us become someday into something "more" than what we are today?

If the atoms can give birth to tought, why can't the tought give birth to soul?

Can you say 100% sure to me, what tought is? Or how it works? Not yet. So there you have, we have yet lots of things to learn about life, and ultimately, death.

### #73Daerax  Members

Posted 20 January 2006 - 03:08 PM

Quote:
 Original post by SneftelIf consciousness was only something we believed we had... then what, exactly, would be doing the believing?

In your statement it seems, conciousness is a neccassary condition for an ability to hold beliefs. Or,If an entity is not conscious then it can hold no beliefs. Before I give a response, is the converse as well true?

### #74Daerax  Members

Posted 20 January 2006 - 03:18 PM

Quote:
 Original post by Anonymous PosterWell, this my belief, make what you want of it.Going back to the thought experiment of copying yourself atom by atom - without killing yourself (the original). You are in effect creating two "you"'s both with the belief they have a soul, are alive, and are "you". For me this really breaks down what humanity really is - a clever animal with a huge brain full of beliefs, all of which are nothing but inter-connected neurons. My answer to the question of this topic is, we are alive, but we are just a self-replicating algorithm of amino-acids so we are no more alive (more advanced though) than an ant or a piece of dust. The only difference is a piece of dust will never replicate and improve itself into something as advanced as us. This ghost or ego we believe we have is an evolved solution to the world, as with emotions, humans with more of this "ghost" would have survived more. Similarly the belief in God and afterlife has an advantage over the obvious truth we will be nothing in 100 years.So to sum up my belief, we are the product of a genetic algorithm, the best solution so far to earth.Please feel free to criticize, I would love to be proved wrong.

There is no need to prove you wrong, what you have is theory. The burden of proof lies on you. That is, we have no means beyond conjecture on what it means to make an "atom by atom copy" of an individual and what sameness is in such an enviroment. 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? If not then what is an atom? People bringing in particle physics when discussing AI are only making a mess for themselves. Learn windmills before airtracks is what I say.

NQ, I would have, when does an algorithim become self aware? No one algorithim can ever be alive or even self aware. But I do assume that a series of algorithims over a set of actions in which there exist an infinite amount of combinations might at least become self aware though.

### #75Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*  Guests

Posted 21 January 2006 - 03:36 AM

Dust does not have the chance to evolve into life because it lacks the necessary reactions (lighting + CO2 + NH3 + CH4 + H2O -> Amino acids :|), while stars and planets, it seems, do.

I did not mean to bring particle physics into this, an exact copy of you is still you, your soul would not be magically linked to your copy, you would be able to live seperate lives with the same initial memories.

I think language is the vital part of consciousness that we think of as this soul that animals do not have (at least on the same level we do). I also believe the brains mechanism for learning is the explaination for all beliefs in God, Miracles, Ghosts. But saying this leaves the possibility open that I am entirely wrong.

owl - "If the rests of the dead stars can arrange themselves into something like us, why cannot us become someday into something "more" than what we are today?"

Of course we can, and will. We have reached a stage where our evolved learning process is capable of amazing things. God has been an easy answer to things throughout history. Saying humans have a special soul to me is the same as saying there has been intelligent design or that the earth is the center of the universe.

### #76/ owl   Banned

Posted 21 January 2006 - 03:49 PM

Quote:
 Original post by Anonymous PosterSaying humans have a special soul to me is the same as saying there has been intelligent design or that the earth is the center of the universe.

That's absolutely fair. Just like Science, which is based upon an understading we don't understand, it's a matter of faith. Faith on that we are right, or that we will be right some day. And the most important of all: Faith on that it's something worth pursuing. :)

### #77Iftah  Members

Posted 22 January 2006 - 12:27 AM

Quote:
Original post by Daerax
Quote:
 Original post by Anonymous PosterWell, this my belief, make what you want of it.Going back to the thought experiment of copying yourself atom by atom - without killing yourself (the original). You are in effect creating two "you"'s both with the belief they have a soul, are alive, and are "you". For me this really breaks down what humanity really is - a clever animal with a huge brain full of beliefs, ...... [cut out to save space]So to sum up my belief, we are the product of a genetic algorithm, the best solution so far to earth.Please feel free to criticize, I would love to be proved wrong.

There is no need to prove you wrong, what you have is theory. The burden of proof lies on you. That is, we have no means beyond conjecture on what it means to make an "atom by atom copy" of an individual and what sameness is in such an enviroment. 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? If not then what is an atom? People bringing in particle physics when discussing AI are only making a mess for themselves. Learn windmills before airtracks is what I say.

NQ, I would have, when does an algorithim become self aware? No one algorithim can ever be alive or even self aware. But I do assume that a series of algorithims over a set of actions in which there exist an infinite amount of combinations might at least become self aware though.

Daerax, you misunderstood how scientific theories work, the burden of proof doesnt lie on the theory maker. There is no way to prove a scientific theory (only a logical/mathematical one). Scientific theory can and should explain things in a senseable manner and describe things that can test if its wrong or not. If its tested wrong - then its wrong and thrown out; if the tests work its *not* proven, but it may be correct. So in short - the burden of proof isn't on him, only the ability to survive under scientific tests, which he does. If you think he is wrong then the burden of proving him wrong is on you.

However, not all tests surviving theories are the same. There is a scientific principle that says if there are many ways to explain something the simplest one should be chosen (I forget the name of the principle). Simplest meaning it requires the least amount of unexplained outer things.
In this sense, the belief in God or or Spirits or ghosts or aliens is weak. Very weak. Even if it cant be contradicted its not a theory worth believing since it requires so much extraordinery out of this world creatures. It is much more "simple" to believe the "spirit" we are feeling to be just a side effect of high intelligence, which is a side effect of our evolution. No "out of this world" creatures needed, it explains alot and it survives under scientific tests. True its a theory, but its a much stronger one than "we have a ghost built in from God".

You may call "Our spirit was given by God" faith, but I call it a lousy theory that was handed down the generations from the time there wasnt any better theory around. (yes, "faith" is shorter [smile])

No offense to all you believers out there. I personally think we were formed by evolution and are just like any other animal (only we are smarter by luck) and all our society and beliefs and feelings are side effects of the intelligence.

Of course I over simplified... But entire books have been written on this so no matter if I write 1000 more words its still not enough.

PS. I said that the theory of "we are just like other animals only smarter" doesnt need to be proven only to survive attacks and explain things in a senseable and simplest manner, but if you consider the great amount of research gone into evolution and the vast amount of discoveries supporting it, its pretty much as proven as can be. There are even examples of evolution in our life time, recently I heard that because of the elephant hunting for their ivory there is a mutant elephant that has no tusks which is gaining percentage in the elephant hordes - that is pure evolution in action. Maybe if the hunting continues in a few decades all the elephants will be tusk-less. And if you dont see the connection - evolution is what convinces and explains that we are just a smart machine (animal).

Iftah.

### #78Rev0  Members

Posted 22 January 2006 - 04:56 AM

^ well said

(I am anonymous poster from the last 2 posts)

We have answered the question this topic was started about, but not I guess not in the way he intended. For an algorithm to become self aware it must be able to learn and adapt in every way, and then given enough time I'm sure it could become more and more developed. In my opinion a feed-forward neural net would not be sufficient, and im sure it much more complicated than just that. I think most important is the algorithms ability to modify itself on every level, but as you can see I am out of my depth, and this is also going beyond what this topic is about.

Posted 22 January 2006 - 08:34 AM

advanced forums.... you could try AI depot (http://ai-depot.com/)
but be sure to post in the philosophical forum, if you post something like this on the tech-related ones.... well, I'm sure they get a lot of those.

### #80Daerax  Members

Posted 22 January 2006 - 11:09 AM

Quote:
 Original post by IftahDaerax, you misunderstood how scientific theories work, the burden of proof doesnt lie on the theory maker. Iftah.

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*, since they are in essence nothing more than approximations; a~b => a <> b. In fact it is inappropriate to use the word correct (which here, strictly means entirely not wrong) with a theory since a theory can be shown to be not correct by simply showing that its members contain contradictions yet it remains not wrong. Theories can be accurate , inaccurate or wrong. Terms like partially or not entirely correct etc are ambigious

[Edited by - Daerax on January 22, 2006 5:09:12 PM]

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