Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc

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Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc

Post by flyhax on Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:10 pm
([msg=65109]see Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc[/msg])

I'm a programmer. Well... I try to become one. I came in 9'th in my country at this annual competition. So I have some insight into how computers work. I understand that they are nothing more than reactions on a circuit board made by ingenious people. I keep noticing this trend where people think that the next gen computers could be self aware. Like on of the other programmers I had to live with. He kept talking about how computers could store information etc. He didn't get it.

I think. I am self aware because I am not a bunch of circuits storing data. If I was, I might be incredibly sophisticated. I might even act the same way I do now, but I know I am not, because I can observe and experience. Its not just electrical signals going through a wire, or any other type of transmitter. Sure, there are nerves and there are muscles and brain cells. A computer could try to store data in some way, but it cant really understand it unless I tell it. So I came to the conclusion - There's definitely got to be something more to people right? If you follow simple logic... Not the kind of logic that people go to when they are really desperate, but simple straightforward logic, then you realize that no self awareness can exist. So this concept of making self awareness is flawed because it can never be done.

I know they say that the eyes are the gates to the soul or what not and I have indeed found this weird thing. Just stand in front of a mirror and look into your eyes for a few minutes. It's unbearable! Maybe because I am a horrible person or something but I don't really think anybody can endure starring into their own eyes for so long.

I know this might not seem to fit into the ethics forums, but I believe it does, because people keep talking more and more about AI and artificial self awareness. They are dehumanizing people and humanizing robots. This is EXTREMELY dangerous.

Please discuss.
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Re: Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc

Post by Dahaar on Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:55 am
([msg=65193]see Re: Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc[/msg])

Actually, I think it is exactly the other way round. A computer could someday become as selfaware as we are, because our selfawareness itself is an illusion. All our decisions, our thoughts and everything that makes us "human" goes the way it does because of our experiences, our stored data. It is difficult to find the link between the two, but I also spend alot of time thinking about it. Fact is, we learn, even unconsciously, we are influenced by all that is around us. Even our character is made up from parenting, education and experience. I mean, we ourselves, our brains are just a giant working computer (speaking in performance), processing data and evaluating everything we see. If we could make positronic brains strong enough to watch and learn, they could themselves create a (fake) consciousness, but it wouldn't be any different from our one. It is difficult or maybe impossible, of course, because our consciousness has been develped through millions of years, starting with little microorganisms that did far less than todays computers. They started with small "programs" lie movement and eating, but it developed through the time to a point where we are now able to think about all that.
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Re: Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc

Post by Bren2010 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:04 pm
([msg=65194]see Re: Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc[/msg])

This is a very interesting subject. :)

The Human Brain Project is a FET Flagship Initiative that aims to model a complete human brain. One big goal of the project is to identify the mechanisms of cognition. How thoughts, feelings, and understanding emerge out of patterns in neurons. If the project is successful, then hopefully we will have a link between billions of neurons just "doing their job" and self-awareness. And, after all, if a computer can simulate a whole human brain, creating an intelligent, self-concious being, then your entire post is debunked.

flyhax wrote:I know they say that the eyes are the gates to the soul or what not and I have indeed found this weird thing. Just stand in front of a mirror and look into your eyes for a few minutes. It's unbearable! Maybe because I am a horrible person or something but I don't really think anybody can endure starring into their own eyes for so long.

Your brain craves every bit of stimuli it can get (especially if you are a programmer). Not only is staring at yourself a creep move if somebody catches you, you get bored quickly.

flyhax wrote:I know this might not seem to fit into the ethics forums, but I believe it does, because people keep talking more and more about AI and artificial self awareness. They are dehumanizing people and humanizing robots. This is EXTREMELY dangerous.


No it is not. It's fabulous! Projects like the one mentioned above help humans understand themselves on so many levels. How brains evolved, what goes wrong with them (how to fix it), and how to mimic (neurorobotics, AI).

Knowing the paradigm to implement in a neural network to recreate creatures like an ant all the way to a human fascinates me. However, it also creates interesting questions for ethics. If you have something that is the intelligence of a human, what makes that different from a human? Would "it" still receive rights? And what about computerized models of animals? They are all exactly the same creatures, they have just escaped the cell.
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Re: Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc

Post by Dahaar on Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:26 am
([msg=65202]see Re: Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc[/msg])

Bren2010 wrote:
flyhax wrote:I know this might not seem to fit into the ethics forums, but I believe it does, because people keep talking more and more about AI and artificial self awareness. They are dehumanizing people and humanizing robots. This is EXTREMELY dangerous.

No it is not. It's fabulous!


I think what he means with this theory being dangerous is that it may be starting some debates over ethics and might afflict emotional problems for some people. For example, if we can make computers "self-aware", then why is it bad to kill people, when it is okay to destroy machines. Or some people might find it depressive when they think that it gives them some sort of "proof" of the nonexistence of deities and therefore of the valuelessness of life itself.
Of course, I don't think that way and I think flyhax doesn't think so as well, but there will always be people like that when we bring humans and machines to the "same level".
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Re: Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc

Post by flyhax on Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:12 pm
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The way I see it, I think therefor I am.

Dahaar wrote:Of course, I don't think that way and I think flyhax doesn't think so as well, but there will always be people like that when we bring humans and machines to the "same level".

I have never understood people who think that robots are/will be supperior to humans though. Billions and billions of neurons functioning all the time. Even subconsciously. Billions of nerves. Sure, you could throw a robot into space, but is society so primitive that it decides superiority by the physical durability of it's inhabitants?

I think, there is something otherworldly about being human. The difference between being alive and being sentient is the same as being alive and being in a coma. For a moment imagine, that the human brain connects to some far off entity that we call the soul. This means that there is a property to humans that is REALLY classified as being sentient and alive. Then consider, not all things are sentient and humans arise from basic elements. Therefor, at some point before birth, some part of the brain develops that connects humans to this entity. Consider then, the possibility if someone realized this and studied it. Imagine creating a robot that can simply be connected to a "soul" entity and given knowledge and input/output via simply copying what the brain does. Of course, great weapons will be invented. A bomb that explodes quietly, destroys nothing and all it does is disconnects every living thing within a radius from its "soul". Then there would be ways of transporting the consciousness from one container to the other. Like free thought. Imagine, instead of traveling 2000 miles, you simply trans connect your soul from one body to the other. Of course, there would be people who look at this as an abomination. And it probably would be in a sense. There would probably be a few sick experiments/accidents. One consciousness in many bodies or many consciousnesses in one body. Imagine future slavery. Slavers would utilize this via somehow trying to capture the sentience of a human being into some form and then forcing them to work somewhere constantly. This means that mechanical means will guarantee that the slave never dies and never escapes. Someone will invent a way to disconnect a consciousness and still guarantee awareness through conceptual space. Spying will be unsurpassed. You would not know if a consciousness was observing you or not. Prisons would be cut down the size of a room filled with classified sentience containers since murder would now be considered the complete disconnection of sentience any physical container. This is a direct route to creating master personas. A single person who, through technological means, no longer relies on society or other sentience in any way or form and thus considers himself to have transcended society and become superior to the rest of the universe. A purely synthetic race would be plausible since reproduction and selective alterations in code would not be the generator of "original" self awareness but rather, the simple summoning of a conceptual entity into a physical machine, there for bestowing it self awareness. In the end, all life becomes equal since consciousness is the only thing that defines life. Everything else would be considered robotic and disposable. I can't imagine what would happen next though.

So yeah, just my speculation on the study of human self awareness.
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Re: Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc

Post by Bren2010 on Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:04 pm
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flyhax wrote:I have never understood people who think that robots are/will be supperior to humans though. Billions and billions of neurons functioning all the time. Even subconsciously. Billions of nerves. Sure, you could throw a robot into space, but is society so primitive that it decides superiority by the physical durability of it's inhabitants?


Computers can be superior to me. :| There is nothing upsetting about that. In order to be superior to me, you need to supersede me in all ways. There are plenty of people I am superior to, there is an incredible amount of people who are simply different than me, and there are plenty of people who are superior to me. However, at the moment and for the foreseeable future, no computer will be superior to me. Even the Human Brain Project will render thoughts in slow motion relative to us, and have a fairly crippled body.

flyhax wrote:I think, there is something otherworldly about being human. The difference between being alive and being sentient is the same as being alive and being in a coma. For a moment imagine, that the human brain connects to some far off entity that we call the soul. This means that there is a property to humans that is REALLY classified as being sentient and alive.


What religion is that? I've heard those ideas before, but I have never found a name for it. Anyways, due to the "out there" nature of that idea and its unfalsifiability, any intelligent person would reject it and the rest of your post. Nothing makes a human more special than a machine running the same paradigm as a human. Just how skin color does not make one person better than the other, or a machine out of one metal function better than a machine out of a similar metal. All of our current knowledge and Occam's Razor shows that the brain is an interchangeable part.
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Re: Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc

Post by VadimCool on Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:58 pm
([msg=65254]see Re: Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc[/msg])

First of all I would like to say this is an interesting topic and all. But why do people talk so much and do so little? What if there is a God? Have anyone considered that option? And if so why not research that area first before going all scientific into 1billion years ahead of your lifetime? Simply put, this is beyond dreaming, it's a complete madness what you guys are talking about. And creationists are considered to be ignorent or out of their minds? Read this for more info: viewtopic.php?f=67&t=8483

The humans are not equal to machines for one simple reason which is machines are programmed by humans while humans are programmed by nature? Yet, humans can't even duplicate another human being yet? That says alot about our intellect in comparison to Nature, doesn't it? Not to mention it seems like not one of you considers the possibility of a very real and existing spirit world which we could be connected to??? So yes, our memories and a print of our soul, may be stored in our brains, maybe! But even if, our spirit and soul are not part of this world and as soon we are disconnected from our body, we can only go to a spirit world. Some may argue how can then a body hold onto a spirit. Well then I will say how can something come from Nothing? Or how can Nature be more intelligent than people? Why shouldn't there be a God which made arranged for things to function the way they do? We exist, don't we? Then so can God. So I very much like to dream too, but not when it comes to play God. Not to mention, by stripping away of what human beings are made off, we are stripping of LIFE it-self and by that nearing our own self-destruction and death from the inside. Our values of life will become no more significant than we value a rock. Since we are all matter in space, why are we not equal to a rock? Indeed there must be something more to life and our rights are measured by those values. That's why belief in a supernatural beings and God always existed. The only flaw people made was to seek less and less God and more of them-selves and their pride for their ignorance. So they figured, well, God is not telling me what to do, that means he doesn't exist. I can now do whatever I want, maybe even become God my-self. Do people not know the limit to their pride? Is there no humiliation left in us? Obviously not. Well one day if you stand before God and God will tell you to go to Hell, don't be angry, because you were wishing on Hell.

#1 Spending every second of your life doing things the way you wanted them to be without any concern for God's thoughts and not willing to spend a day seeking only God.
#2 Not seeking a life with God because you wanted to act like you are your own master for life and you decide where your life is headed.
#3 Not only you weren't ashamed of looking forward to a nice death without any concern for after-life, but also cursing God and stripping away every value a human being may have.


Don't tell me I didn't warn you. Why would anyone in their right mind support power-greedy destructive thoughts? If you wish for a spiritual death or simply don't belief in spirit which is practically the same. Then you have given your life a value by which you are living and acting upon. You wish to be Godlike outside of 1 possible God and a life free from God? Fine, all your wishes will come true. No love, no God, no spiritual life = Hate, rebellion/war, death. Sounds more like Hell to me.. Don't you think? I feel sorry for you guys.. I really wish you all knew what I know and experienced what I have. :cry:
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Re: Self awareness, consciousness, souls etc

Post by Bren2010 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:00 pm
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VadimCool wrote:1.) The humans are not equal to machines for one simple reason which is machines are programmed by humans while humans are programmed by nature?
2.) Yet, humans can't even duplicate another human being yet?
3.) That says alot about our intellect in comparison to Nature, doesn't it?
4.) Indeed there must be something more to life ... That's why belief in a supernatural beings and God always existed.
5.) Not to mention it seems like not one of you considers the possibility of a ... spirit world ...???

1.) Origin is irrelevant. Humans have created many things more grandiose than themselves. Simple computer programs have generated other programs capable of so much more.
2.) The duplication issue is primarily because stem cell research is outlawed because of the Christian belief that life begins at conception (making stem cell research murder).
3.) Intellect is a human characteristic (therefore, nature can not posses it), so I do not see your point. It is within the entropy of our large universe to cause something along the lines of us, so not much intelligence needs to be involved at all.
4.) Yes, we are that small, small probability with the ability to appreciate itself, and I am glad it got the chance to express itself in a gigantic, cold universe.
5.) If I have read correctly, flyhax does and possibly even Dahaar (but there is less evidence for it).

VadimCool wrote:1.) But even if, our spirit and soul are not part of this world ... we can only go to a spirit world.
2.) Well then I will say how can something come from Nothing?
3.) Why shouldn't there be a God which made arranged for things to function the way they do?

1.) We can not "only" go to a spirit world. That logic works on the assumption that there actually is a soul.
2.) If you understood quantum mechanics and the Big Bang Theory, you would know how. Also, if you understood quantum physics you would know that sub-atomic particles can simply decide they would rather be somewhere else. Or, perhaps, they would like to move in sync with another sub-atomic particle (spooky stuff); even at large distances (spooky stuff at a distance).
3.) Scientists and philosophers may not be keen on the existence of God, but it is not rejected. Science is humble enough to say "We do not know everything, but we are certainly trying to find out everything." As opposed to religion, which says, not only is there a God, it is this God, and he believes we should be like this, and do this, or suffer eternal hell and what not.

VadimCool wrote:Not to mention, by stripping away of what human beings are made off, we are stripping of LIFE it-self and by that nearing our own self-destruction and death from the inside. ...Since we are all matter in space, why are we not equal to a rock?

I reject God, and tonight I will go to sleep happy. I will not issue any declarations of war or kill or rape anybody. Sure, I can look at people around me and think about how easy it is to hurt them, or them hurt me. At some point, homo sapiens decided it was easier to cooperate. They became intelligent enough to realize that you get what you give, and that they have no desire to die. The logical conclusion was easy to come to: do not kill (or cause suffering). The Olympics have a whole committee dedicated to deciding the gender of a person. I hope forms of life come to that stage so that people have to ask the same questions regarding that, and in the process, form a more open society.

(I'm going to ignore the majority of the rest of your post because this is already arbitrarily large and it's mostly silly Christian babble anyways.)

After all, nobody here asked to be saved. If God wishes to turn away a person of fine morals because he would rather be humble and critical in his knowledge, that's fine with me. If Hell is simply the absence of God, it seems like a fine place to be. Intelligence and morals have always flourished in his absence.
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