Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby LastLegend » Sat May 11, 2013 1:35 am

Jesse wrote:Comprehension is simply data that we have conceptualized, and stored in our memories. We associate things, places, events, concepts, and ideas then build a network between the data via our neurons. It's the ultimate functionality that matters, not the pieces that comprise it. If you looked at all the pieces that make up the human body, you could easily say the same things about them. How does a mass of meat, water and electricity allow for sentience?


A human being is sentient from birth thus "that" which is sentient comes with meat, water, and electricity. How can you replicate that to a robot?

Also, philosophically it does not make sense why matter needs to be self-aware in the first place. What is its purpose and reasoning?
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby undefineable » Sat May 11, 2013 1:51 am

Jesse wrote:There is no intelligence without data. A baby learns simple rules by observation. Baba means bottle, I can drink it. It makes me not hungry. Before that it simply cries. Sure there are instincts which probably are passed along through DNA.

As far as we know, there are no intelligent beings whose only mentations are data. It's mind-boggling to contemplate what 'bottle', 'drink', or 'hungry' mean and even feel like in the absence of adult conceptualisation and language. Anyone who has instincts can reflect on how the experience of instinct feels and easily conclude that it's never one of data.

Jesse wrote:I'm sorry but just something isn't fully understood, doesn't mean it can't be objectified.

_ _ _

I am a Buddhist, but, have my own opinions which I base in fact and logic. I somehow suspect that the Buddha did not have an opinion on artificial intelligence, nor many of the philosophical questions it begs. It seems people are rather afraid of breaking from traditional beliefs, even when they are absurd. I'm sorry my beliefs offend you.

There shouldn't be any offence, but the fact that *you* seem to have fixed beliefs -based on dogma rather than on first-hand knowledge (including empirical knowledge btw)- might raise eyebrows on either a Buddhist or a *serious* philosophy forum (if there are any out there).

By 'dogma', I'm referring to the belief that 'objectification' is a) completely non-subjective (whereas meditation begins by one's looking objectively at subjective experiences), and -more importantly- b) something that ends with a final level of 'substance' (fundamental particles/space) that's somewhere 'out there' and can't be further analysed by the human mind. I appreciate that the quantum/particle physics jury is still out, but other scientists and laymen often seem to see the picture in absolutist terms still.

At my current level of understanding, the sunyata of mahayana Buddhism is more genuinely objective (to the point of being supra-objective) in seeing the transparency of everything - not as a belief, but as a practice of 'seeing through' the apparent objects of the inner and outer world to the degree one is able to.

So in this analysis, it's philosophical materialism that posits something spooky inside things that's beyond objectification.
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby undefineable » Sat May 11, 2013 2:09 am

Jesse wrote:As for your intuition claim:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzzy_logic

Irrelevant. I was describing what intuition feels like, not what it does.
Jesse wrote:
People here are more likely to respond based on the findings of lived experience rather than on belief in theories they've read.

Interesting, because I'm seeing the exact opposite behavior.

Given the Buddhist 'beliefs' in karma and rebirth, you were more or less bound to say that, but there are countless threads (including this one) on this forum in which you'll find arguments that such 'beliefs' are a) based on the findings of some lived experience (which we're invited to try and share in), and b) that the alternatives to the beliefs -rather than the beliefs themselves- are absurd. In particular, materialism's failure to account for consciousness (which really has been done to death on this forum :tongue: ) involves either invoking a 'supernatural phenomenon' (i.e. that consciousness is experienced while being somehow absolutely nonexistent) or simply the refusal (or ingrained inability) to think about the issue.
Jesse wrote:You're claim that my opinions are based solely on read theories is interesting, care to explain how you know this?

The 'opinions' of yours that I'm referring to *are* pretty standard AI theories as far as I've read and understood over the years; how you selected those opinions is your business alone :namaste: .
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby Jesse » Sat May 11, 2013 2:23 am

There shouldn't be any offence, but the fact that you seem to have fixed beliefs based on dogma rather than on first-hand knowledge.


I'm sorry but I'm finished with this conversation.
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby undefineable » Sat May 11, 2013 2:34 am

For the benefit of any1 still here:
Jesse wrote: I understand the topic. I believe the "Why and how we understand", is based on rules and logic, rather than Intelligence being some supernatural phenomena.

I meant to say that it seems as if you're refusing to bring to bear all your appreciation of that topic to the discussion, probably out of the widely-held conviction that the qualia (the subjective "what-it's-like" of experience) of understanding or of any other mental process is irrelevant to any valid conclusion about anything at all. Others will object that any complete understanding of reality must -by definition- explore all possible avenues.

I'd agree that understanding is based on rules in as much as it's just as coded as it would be for AI ( :focus: ) - We draw conclusions -for example that your baby is happy because it is smiling- based on data that is usually categorically different to the data it 'codes' for. The understanding itself (on the other hand) is experienced as anything but such a 'logical rule'.
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby Wayfarer » Sat May 11, 2013 2:41 am

Intelligence is undoubtedly supernatural in the sense that you designate what is to be considered 'natural' by an act of judgement. The basic ground or constituents of 'nature' cannot however be demonstrated scientifically. The atom itself is a mental construction. There is no sense in which the atom can be demonstrated as a mind independent reality. So physics has cut the ground our from under materialism.

Intelligence is not constructed from data. It is intelligence that renders data into information, and information is not something for which there is a materialist explanation.

You said elsewhere that humans are machines. You say here that intelligence or consciousness is something which can be 'explained by science'. I put it to you that this is de-humanising. Whether you're conscious of that or not, your approach devalues the human, equates the human with either a machine or a species of animal.

I suggest such views are irreducibly antagonistic to any form of spirituality.
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby shel » Sat May 11, 2013 3:34 am

jeeprs wrote:You said elsewhere that humans are machines. You say here that intelligence or consciousness is something which can be 'explained by science'. I put it to you that this is de-humanising. Whether you're conscious of that or not, your approach devalues the human, equates the human with either a machine or a species of animal.

I suggest such views are irreducibly antagonistic to any form of spirituality.


Rather, apparently antagonistic to any large form of ego. Why should it disturb to be on a par with machine or beast?
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby shel » Sat May 11, 2013 6:48 am

undefineable wrote:As far as we know, there are no intelligent beings whose only mentations are data. It's mind-boggling to contemplate what 'bottle', 'drink', or 'hungry' mean and even feel like in the absence of adult conceptualisation and language. Anyone who has instincts can reflect on how the experience of instinct feels and easily conclude that it's never one of data.

It depends on how you wish to define data. Sense input is commonly referred to as sense data. Instincts could be defined as biologically encoded data.

There shouldn't be any offence, but the fact that *you* seem to have fixed beliefs -based on dogma rather than on first-hand knowledge (including empirical knowledge btw)- might raise eyebrows on either a Buddhist or a *serious* philosophy forum (if there are any out there).

People are often slow to change their views, but science is by nature not dogmatic. If it were dogmatic it would not be science. You are projecting.

By 'dogma', I'm referring to the belief that 'objectification' is a) completely non-subjective (whereas meditation begins by one's looking objectively at subjective experiences), and -more importantly- b) something that ends with a final level of 'substance' (fundamental particles/space) that's somewhere 'out there' and can't be further analysed by the human mind. I appreciate that the quantum/particle physics jury is still out, but other scientists and laymen often seem to see the picture in absolutist terms still.

Some scientists believe that substances have a final base level which cannot be further analyzed by the human mind? That's an awkward belief, because no one knows what the most fundamental level of substances are, or if the human mind is capable of analyzing unknown levels.

There are of course functional or reliable views of fundamental substances.

Objectification, by the way, means expressing an abstraction in concrete terms, or degrading the status of something or someone to that of a mere object.

At my current level of understanding, the sunyata of mahayana Buddhism is more genuinely objective (to the point of being supra-objective) in seeing the transparency of everything - not as a belief, but as a practice of 'seeing through' the apparent objects of the inner and outer world to the degree one is able to.

Yes, this is objectification.
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby monktastic » Sat May 11, 2013 7:11 am

Jesse wrote:
Quoted from the book, Gentle Bridges: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on the Sciences of Mind by Jeremy Hayward and Francisco Varela. Shambala, 1992. pp. 152-153. (File courtesy pixel.txt weblog.)
...
DALAI LAMA: Yes, that's right. [DALAI LAMA laughs.] There is a possibility that a scientist who is very much involved his whole life [with computers], then the next life... [he would be reborn in a computer], same process! [Laughter.] Then this machine which is half-human and half-machine has been reincarnated.


Wow. Makes me wonder: how would one know that the computer had gained sentience? How could one check?
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby Wayfarer » Sat May 11, 2013 7:57 am

Maybe you could ask a psychic or a medium. They should be able to tell.
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat May 11, 2013 8:23 am

LastLegend wrote:Also, philosophically it does not make sense why matter needs to be self-aware in the first place. What is its purpose and reasoning?


You, i.e. matter, are self-aware, aren't you? What is your purpose, then?

:meditate:
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat May 11, 2013 8:25 am

monktastic wrote:Makes me wonder: how would one know that the computer had gained sentience? How could one check?

Look up "Turing test"

:coffee:
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby Wayfarer » Sat May 11, 2013 8:29 am

It's a valid point but I was listening to a talk by Chomsky the other day when he claimed that Turing never intended his 'test' to be taken seriously - it was more a whimsical remark than a serious suggestion.

I suppose there is some irony in the fact that this point is lost on many AI advocates.

I shall provide a summary of Searle's Chinese Room argument against AI later when I'm not typing via iPad.
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby Simon E. » Sat May 11, 2013 8:43 am

monktastic wrote:
Jesse wrote:
Quoted from the book, Gentle Bridges: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on the Sciences of Mind by Jeremy Hayward and Francisco Varela. Shambala, 1992. pp. 152-153. (File courtesy pixel.txt weblog.)
...
DALAI LAMA: Yes, that's right. [DALAI LAMA laughs.] There is a possibility that a scientist who is very much involved his whole life [with computers], then the next life... [he would be reborn in a computer], same process! [Laughter.] Then this machine which is half-human and half-machine has been reincarnated.


Wow. Makes me wonder: how would one know that the computer had gained sentience? How could one check?

I think HH is doing what he often does...being nice.
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby shel » Sat May 11, 2013 7:50 pm

jeeprs wrote:I shall provide a summary of Searle's Chinese Room argument against AI later when I'm not typing via iPad.

To cut and paste on an iPad simply hold your finger on the desired text until it's selected, and then tap the copy button that appears. Go to where you'd like to put the text and hold your finger down until the paste button appears. Tap it and you're done.

fyi: this helpful advise is not meant to suggest that you should try thinking more for yourself.
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby monktastic » Sat May 11, 2013 8:06 pm

Simon E. wrote:
monktastic wrote:Wow. Makes me wonder: how would one know that the computer had gained sentience? How could one check?

I think HH is doing what he often does...being nice.


It would be fascinating to know his real view on this. I'm quite familiar with the various suggestions and arguments about testing for consciousness (e.g., the Turing test and Searle's Chinese Room), and I've never found them very useful in this context, so I wonder if HHDL has anything in mind.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
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One will understand it in due course.

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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby undefineable » Sat May 11, 2013 10:50 pm

shel wrote:It depends on how you wish to define data. Sense input is commonly referred to as sense data. Instincts could be defined as biologically encoded data.

A central aspect of instinctive and sensory impressions is data, but they are rarely (if ever?) experienced as such. The conscious mind is not generally bothered about the precise classification and naming of its inputs, in the sense that a PC processes such information or in the sense that the term 'data' implies. What appears to the mind is 'known' by comparison with all previous inputs.
shel wrote:There are of course functional or reliable views of fundamental substances.

But how do we know whether (and how) the viewed substances are fundamental?
shel wrote:
*(my 'negative karma of speech' deleted :emb: )* _ might raise eyebrows on either a Buddhist or a *serious* philosophy forum (if there are any out there).

People are often slow to change their views, but science is by nature not dogmatic. If it were dogmatic it would not be science. You are projecting.

It's true that the practice of science cannot involve dogma, but human beings draw their own conclusions from its findings that go way beyond 'functional' results such as the earth orbiting the sun. -Other members on other threads here have of course asked whether philosophical materialism rests on central dogma.
shel wrote:Some scientists believe that substances have a final base level which cannot be further analyzed by the human mind? That's an awkward belief, because no one knows what the most fundamental level of substances are, or if the human mind is capable of analyzing unknown levels.

True, but I was really asking how people imagine these aspects of reality. Your suggestion that physical reality may be unknowable to us at some fundamental level is comparable to the theological concept of Divine Ineffability, although there is nothing in either argument's appeals to Mystery ('mysticism' is too loaded a term here) to suggest that they are false. Nonetheless, the mind is naturally suspicious of such defeatism, unless it's already 'reified' that which it's failed to understand - and followed the converse temptation to posit either monism (whether idealist or materialist) or dualism by granting an absolute ontological status to mind (particularly in the form of God), physical energy, or both.

It follows that if certain aspects of physical reality are completely inaccessible to any mind, then they are fundamental to reality as a whole, and whatever may have been said by Madhyamika teachers about the 'Mind-only' schools of Buddhist philosophy being provisional teaching tools -rather than final descriptions of reality- stands. I don't have enough positive karma to understand Dzogchen, but it seems to come up a lot on this forum, so I've recently read a little, and conclude that if it's really possible to access a base level of reality underlying both mind and matter, then endless debates such as ''Idealism v. Materialism' are ultimately null and void.
shel wrote:Objectification, by the way, means expressing an abstraction in concrete terms, or degrading the status of something or someone to that of a mere object.

I was trying to express that objectification can contain a hidden core of mysticism, because of the size of the leap from abstract/mysterious to concrete/'pinned-down'. So, 'objectifying' beings as physical energy manifesting as well-organised matter is all very well, but the questions of what constitutes and directs that energy remain unanswered. Even a cliched use of the term, like 'objectification of women', can have some of this sense ('feminine mystique' in this case, I guess :toilet: ).

Anyway, :focus:
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby undefineable » Sat May 11, 2013 10:52 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
monktastic wrote:Makes me wonder: how would one know that the computer had gained sentience? How could one check?

Look up "Turing test"

:coffee:
Kim

The only *proof* would be to be 'born' as that computer, surely?!
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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat May 11, 2013 11:28 pm

Is this a sentient creature or a robot?
Why?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-0eZytv6Qk

:stirthepot:

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Re: Artificial Intelligence & Sentience

Postby shel » Sun May 12, 2013 12:17 am

undefineable wrote:
shel wrote:There are of course functional or reliable views of fundamental substances.

But how do we know whether (and how) the viewed substances are fundamental?

This may sound strange to you, but we don't know what we don't know. :tongue:

It's true that the practice of science cannot involve dogma, but human beings draw their own conclusions from its findings that go way beyond 'functional' results such as the earth orbiting the sun. -Other members on other threads here have of course asked whether philosophical materialism rests on central dogma.

Yeah, philosophical materialism is probably not very practical for use in day to day activities. For the impractical uses, philosophical materialism is the dogma. Isn't that obvious?

Your suggestion that physical reality may be unknowable to us at some fundamental level is comparable to the theological concept of Divine Ineffability..

I guess, in the sense that an ant doesn't have the capacity to understand a man, as a man understands.

undefineable wrote:
shel wrote:Objectification, by the way, means expressing an abstraction in concrete terms, or degrading the status of something or someone to that of a mere object.

I was trying to express that objectification can contain a hidden core of mysticism, because of the size of the leap from abstract/mysterious to concrete/'pinned-down'. So, 'objectifying' beings as physical energy manifesting as well-organised matter is all very well, but the questions of what constitutes and directs that energy remain unanswered. Even a cliched use of the term, like 'objectification of women', can have some of this sense ('feminine mystique' in this case, I guess :toilet: ).

Perhaps you don't understand the moral aspects of objectification. In relation to AI, someone mentioned the film Bladerunner. You might want to give it a look.
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