Artificial Intelligence / Synthetic Consciousness

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caliban
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Postby caliban » Tue Mar 27, 2007 8:40 pm

sanscardinality wrote: I was thinking more of our attitude towards "lesser" beings.

History shows humans will use any excuse, no matter how distorted, to justify our treatment of "lesser" beings. If we have any theory of consciousness, we'll use it, but if we don't have a theory of consciousness, we'll still use that lack to justify our actions.

I just finished rewatching Paul Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers." Taken on its surface merits, it's not a great movie, but on the other hand Verhoeven's whole point is to not-too-subtly deconstruct Heinlein's ideology. Included are arguments--the vulgar kind--over whether or not "bugs" can be intelligent, including a TV pundit declaring, "I find the suggestion of bug intelligence to be offensive!" Although the movie is from the 1990's, it's amazing how it comments on our current administration and their justification for war in Iraq--and their dismissal of opposition viewpoints.

For a literary deconstruction, read Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War," which also dismantle's Heinlein's novel.

PS -- Although, thinking about it, and I think this is what SC was getting to (I can be slow sometimes), there is the interesting question: what will happen if and when we routinely have "fake" consciousnesses all around us? I mean, when Windows and our computer games (as SC suggested) and so on do a more thorough case of faking consciousness. By fake I mean the kind of tricks seen in some of the oldest programs and the contest SC alluded to--algorithms that pick up on verbal clues and respond to them, but not having any internal life. Although computer scientists would not imaging these are real conscious programs, what will it do in the popular imagination? Will it lead to a kind of popular pantheism, where people tend to believe that everything is conscious? It may not even be malicious, as SC worries, but it could distort the general view of the universe.

At the very least--a good germ of an idea for an SF story. Thanks, SC! :)
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Postby sanscardinality » Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:34 pm

Will it lead to a kind of popular pantheism, where people tend to believe that everything is conscious? It may not even be malicious, as SC worries, but it could distort the general view of the universe.


I chose the analogy to a statue for a reason - Golden Calves, Numens, etc. are the ancient equivalent in ways to "pretend" AIs. It is an intriguing area for lots of reasons!

Here's a great article from Spiegel that's right on the topics we've been discussing:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spi ... 89,00.html


Have fun!

SC
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

Oscar Wilde

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Windwalker
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Postby Windwalker » Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:53 pm

caliban wrote:what will happen if and when we routinely have "fake" consciousnesses all around us? By fake I mean the kind of tricks seen in some of the oldest programs and the contest SC alluded to--algorithms that pick up on verbal clues and respond to them, but not having any internal life. Will it lead to a kind of popular pantheism, where people tend to believe that everything is conscious? It may not even be malicious, as SC worries, but it could distort the general view of the universe.

Melissa Scott touched upon this exact issue in two of her novels, Dreamships and Dreaming Metal. The Blue Brain project that SC pointed out is fascinating -- a simulacrum, but an informative one. From the biological viewpoint (let alone the Buddhist one!), the question of what constitutes "internal life" is a key question. If a "fake" consciousness becomes advanced enough to develop intuition and emotions, it won't be fake any longer, regardless of the details of its innards.
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Postby Walden2 » Thu May 17, 2007 1:41 pm

Non-Computability of Consciousness

Authors: Daegene Song

(Submitted on 11 May 2007)

Abstract: With the great success in simulating many intelligent behaviors using computing devices, there has been an ongoing debate whether all conscious activities are computational processes. In this paper, the answer to this question is shown to be no. A certain phenomenon of consciousness is demonstrated to be fully represented as a computational process using a quantum computer. Based on the computability criterion discussed with Turing machines, the model constructed is shown to necessarily involve a non-computable element. The concept that this is solely a quantum effect and does not work for a classical case is also discussed.

Comments:

10 pages, 2 figures, 1 table

Subjects:

Quantum Physics (quant-ph); Astrophysics (astro-ph); Artificial Intelligence (cs.AI)

Cite as:

arXiv:0705.1617v1 [quant-ph]

Submission history

From: Daegene Song [view email]

[v1] Fri, 11 May 2007 10:16:48 GMT (46kb)

http://arxiv.org/abs/0705.1617

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Postby Windwalker » Thu May 17, 2007 2:20 pm

Speaking of self-awareness and self-determination, Larry also sent me a really interesting link that describes recent biological research into such issues (Fruit flies and free will). Here are quotes from two of the scientists involved in the study:

"Free will is essentially an oxymoron — we would not consider it 'will' if it were completely random and we would not consider it 'free' if it were entirely determined." (neurobiologist Björn Brembs, Free U. of Berlin)

"We speculate that if free will exists, it is in this middle ground between randomness and determinism." (mathematical biologist George Sugihara, University of California at San Diego)
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Postby Windwalker » Fri Jun 01, 2007 2:58 pm

Everyone -- romantics and realists, optimists and pessimists; bloggers, livejournalers and forum visitors -- should read these two links, both by SF writer Charles Stross. The first is tongue-in-cheek, but very clever. The second is sobering and articulates concerns that transcend the boundaries of these issues.

Tough Guide to the Singularity (click on the brown terms to have them expand)
Shaping the Future (don't let the tech-heavy start distract you, read to the end)
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Postby fallen angel » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:29 am

My opinion if I may humbly speak, as I am only a medical vampire in the making, there is just life. How many landmines are there that little children a prone to injury, I say use the AI. By the same token a human is a divine creature, think of surgery. There would be no compassion, like in Revenge of the Sith, the birth of Darth Vader. There will always be pros and cons to everything in this world. If it was all perfect, personally it would suck, I'd be the first one to wreak havoc :twisted:
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Walden2
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A thermodynamic limit on brain size

Postby Walden2 » Tue May 26, 2009 9:41 pm

A thermodynamic limit on brain size

Posted: 25 May 2009 09:10 PM PDT

If our brains have to be cooled like computer chips, is there a limit on how big they can be?

In recent years, chip makers have conlcuded that the race to produce ever faster circuits is a fool’s game. As the clock speed increases, the amount of energy lost as heat becomes too large to dissipate efficiently and in any case, the waste is unjustifiable.

That raises some interesting questions about the human brain, says Jan Karbowski at the Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology at the California Institute of Technology. Karbowski points out that the problem of heat transfer could be a serious factor shaping brain evolution and so has embarked on a program to determine the relationship between brain temperature, its size, cerebral power generated and neural activity.

The question on Karbowski’s mind is whether there is any thermodynamic limit on brain size. And if so, does 5 kg, which Karbowski says is the mass of the largest mammalian brain, approach that limit?

Karbowski points out that brain cooling is not a classic problem of surface-area to volume. Instead, brain cooling is more closely comparable to that in a combustion heat engine where a liquid coolant removes heat.

“In the brain, the role of the coolant is played by the cerebral blood, but only in the deep region because there blood has a slightly lower temperature than the brain tissue,” says Karbowski.

But in the regions closer to the surface, it is the oter way round: brain tissue is colder than the cerebral blood which warms the brain.

This implies that the thermodynamics of heat balance does not restrict the brain size. And this in turn suggests that brains could be heavier than 5 kg, says Karbowski.

(And of course they do get bigger than this. The sperm whale’s brain can be 9 kilograms).

That leaves plenty of growing room for humans which have brains of only 1.5 kilograms on average.

Ref: http://arxiv.org/abs/0905.3690: Thermodynamic Constraints on Neural Dimensions, Firing Rates, Brain Temperature and Size

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Postby Windwalker » Tue May 26, 2009 10:16 pm

There are other parameters pertinent to brain size limit: speed of neuronal transmission (even with the saltatory capacity conferred by the myelin sheath), integration of input and, for humans, birth canal size that will still allow the mother to walk upright.
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