the Buddha in the Machine

Anything goes (almost).

the Buddha in the Machine

Postby dumb bonbu » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:09 pm

hey peeps, was wondering if anyone's heard of this guy - Masahiro Mori? he's a robitics engineer who studies on the rather unusual subject of religion and robots, and has this to say -

"I believe robots have the buddha-nature within them--that is, the potential for attaining buddhahood"


if we just take that for what it is, a belief, then pretty interesting no? would self-awareness constitute sentience? and if so, whilst still (currently) in the realms of sci-fi, what would this imply for AI and tathagatagharba?

just a bit of fun noodling...don't take it too seriously :smile:
Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and
illumines me always.
- Shinran


Namu Amida Butsu
User avatar
dumb bonbu
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:29 pm
Location: East Yorkshire, UK

Re: the Buddha in the Machine

Postby thornbush » Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:58 am

Debated to death and some have interesting responses on the subject.
An automated response is not sentient as it is a product of artificial electrical/chemical sensors that operate as programmed like a shopping centre's programmmed auto sliding doors or when water turns to ice under freezing temperatures.
So....I have heard/read from various sources coming out with these propositions:
1. Such responses are lacking in the criteria of having conscious thought or intention as how the Pali texts (speaks of citta (consciousness) and cetana (volition). The 'Buddha Nature' is found only in sentient beings where 'Bodhicitta', the important element of one's cultivation (as how Mahayana/Vajrayana defines it), is found and capable of being made manifest.
2. So, unless a 'being' has the 5 aggregates (the formless ones lacking form, so it will be down to 4), technically speaking, no, it is an 'automaton', living yes but not sentient, no matter what smiley or Barbie or Dr Spock's face that one paints on it, it is not equaled to the above 'definition'.
3. Another one is if a being is not capable of experiencing (as opposed to being indifferent) dukkha, sentience is ruled out.
4. It is said that because of sentience, we are somewhat motivated to cultivate, understanding the imminence of transcending Samsara and suffering, hence we cultivate the Buddha Dharma, the source of our liberation.
5. No where in the Buddha Dharma's 'cosmology', as taught in the 3 Traditions, does it mention that one takes birth as a plant or as Data (in Star Trek). I cannot imagine how vegetarians/vegans would cringe if they were ever told that plants were sentient!
6. Despite the 'un-sentient' quality of plants and programmed machinations, we nevertheless show respect and conservation of them as part of our Dharma practice and cultivation. One example is found here.

An interesting read though an old experiment is the Turing Test and its 'refutation' here.
Is a 'sentient android' possible? :rolleye: As here? :shrug:

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
thornbush
 
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:21 am

Re: the Buddha in the Machine

Postby dumb bonbu » Tue Apr 21, 2009 1:36 pm

thankyou for your interesting response old cat! it's interesting to mull over purely for kicks if nothing else. i think there's the making of a good sci-fi novel in there too. what would happen if a machine were to programme itself though?...yes, i know really that from a Dharma standpoint then a robot would not have tathagatagharba but it throws up some entertaining questions...questions that may not lead anywhere but entertaining none-the-less.

i wasn't aware of the Turing test and its refutation so thanks for drawing my attention to that. i'm not very knowledgeable about robotics or anything science/tech-wise so it's helpful for me to have a little background info.

Despite the 'un-sentient' quality of plants and programmed machinations, we nevertheless show respect and conservation of them as part of our Dharma practice and cultivation. One example is found here.


great advice, great link. i think this pretty much says it all! cheers old cat :smile:
Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and
illumines me always.
- Shinran


Namu Amida Butsu
User avatar
dumb bonbu
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:29 pm
Location: East Yorkshire, UK

Re: the Buddha in the Machine

Postby Luke » Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:32 pm

It doesn't directly relate to Buddhism, but if you want to read a neat sci-fi story about the nature of intuition and robots meditating, there is a neat story named "Zuckuss and 4-LOM" in the Star Wars book "Tales of the Bounty Hunters." I would normally expect crappy writing in this kind of book, but many of the stories are actually fairly good. There is another story in the book about the robot bounty hunter IG88 who copies his consciousness to other robots and machines. It's not an accurate depiction of science or Dharma; it's just pure wordly fun.

http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Bounty-Hunt ... 637&sr=1-1
User avatar
Luke
 
Posts: 1669
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm

Hold on to your hats, folks...

Postby Luke » Sun May 03, 2009 9:01 pm

During a discussion that His Holiness Dalai Lama had with scientists, he was asked whether computers could become sentient beings: Could computers one day have minds? He answered in an interesting way, saying that if a computer or a robot reaches the point at which it was sophisticated enough to serve as the basis for a mental continuum, there is no reason why a mind-stream could not connect with a purely inorganic machine as the physical basis for one of its lives. This is even more far-out than Darwin!

This is not saying that a computer is a mind. It is not saying that we can create a mind artificially in a computer. However, if a computer is sophisticated enough, a mind-stream could connect with it and take it as its physical basis.


from the Berzin Archives
http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... birth.html

This just shows that both Buddhism and the Dalai Lama are so cool it almost hurts (Keanu Reeves: "Whoa!"). It would be interesting if someone could find the original words of the Dalai Lama on this topic which Alexander Berzin is paraphrasing here.

So the Dalai Lama seems to be saying that a machine cannot create mind, but a sophisticated enough machine might be able to contain it.

I can picture a time in the future when a group of lamas are in a circle around some amazingly sophisticated computer praying for a mind to be reborn in it. Whoa!
User avatar
Luke
 
Posts: 1669
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:04 pm

Re: the Buddha in the Machine

Postby Drolma » Sun May 03, 2009 10:43 pm

Hi Luke,

I think it is from the book Gentle Bridges, conversations with HH the Dalai Lama on Sciences of mind.
I have read something similar in another book, I will check and see if I can find that excerpt, it may take a day or two.

You can always contact the people at Berzin Archives and ask them directly for the source, they are always happy to help.

:twothumbsup:
http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/about/about/message_from_holiness_dalai_lama.html
Drolma
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:07 pm


Return to Lounge

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests

>