Coffeehouse Thread

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Let's get philosophical....

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  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Consider an electronic machine capable of consciousness (other things, like state and memory aren't applicable in this case).

    When it's running, it is alive in thought, exactly the same as us. To destroy the machine would be to commit murder. When you pause or shut down (if it had no state) the machine, the consciusness ceases, when you resume the machine it would resume from where it left off.

    If destroyed, the consciousness stops completely, but it's all electronic so we can inspect it.

    That said, how are humans any different? Our brains are deterministic machines, just like the electronic example above.

    With death comes the ceasession of brain function, our consciousness stops with no facility to resume.

    Doesn't this effectivly shoot down every concept of an afterlife then (bar Abrahamic ressurection)? If the religions are to be believed, we get an afterlife, so why not artificial consciousnesses? If we shut down an AC, have we killed it? But if we resume it, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't tell of stories of an afterlife, since we'd have its state to inspect.

    Discuss.

  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    phreaks wrote:
    
    Thasmudyan wrote:
    Let's turn the question around: taking the self-evident point of the original post into account, how would you go about implementing an afterlife?

    Since you already introduced the concept of "states", this means you reject the idea of an immortal soul that according to religion exists for some unexplained reason in every sentient creature. Barring the existence of that sould, the essence of every consciousness is a very fragile thing: namely the process that is continously being executed in the brain.



    Who says it's localized to the brain? How then do you explain quantum entanglement?




    "Spooky", That's how we've explained it for years, right? Big Smile Or was it "spukhafte Fernwirkung"!?

  • User profile image
    Yggdrasil

    You won't get far analyzing a concept that relies on presuppositions that you implicitly reject.

    "Our brains are deterministic machines, just like the electronic example above", you say, but that's the assumption you make. Others, particularly those who believe in an afterlife, believe there is more to a person's psyche than the sum of his electric impulses.

  • User profile image
    Sabot

    So how do we know that a computer doesn't have some sort of consciousness that dwells on another plain of existence that isn't created and destroyed when we switch the machine on and off?

    One of the dangers of being a developer is that you see the whole of existence in terms of reason and logic, so all solutions start to look like computers, then you are into 'Dancing Bear' territory (Alan Cooper)

    I believe you have to use the fully bandwidth of sciences to understand existence and even then newer sciences such as quantum sciences are re-writing what we know and our preconceived perceptions.

    So tell me using science and fact how you have managed to determine your view?






  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Yggdrasil wrote:
    You won't get far analyzing a concept that relies on presuppositions that you implicitly reject.


    I think it's a bigger assumption to make that there is something that we cannot detect than there isn't.

    Yggdrasil wrote:
    "Our brains are deterministic machines, just like the electronic example above", you say, but that's the assumption you make. Others, particularly those who believe in an afterlife, believe there is more to a person's psyche than the sum of his electric impulses.


    They believe that, but where is the evidence? As much as I want to believe there's an afterlife and a god, the believers base them on some really old texts.

    But you have a point which I twist into "how can consciousness exist within any machine? what instructions would facilitate it?" Well, I suppose Dawkins would argue consciousness evolved to improve individualist survival.

    Sabot wrote:
    So how do we know that a computer doesn't have some sort of consciousness that dwells on another plain of existence that isn't created and destroyed when we switch the machine on and off?


    How do you know they do? I find it absurd to suggest that a complex computer program can somehow "exist" elsewhere in the known universe. Just as before, there is no evidence for these "planes of existence" (it's actually a common theme and buzzword in New Age circles).

    At what point does a program develop consciousness?

    Sabot wrote:
    One of the dangers of being a developer is that you see the whole of existence in terms of reason and logic, so all solutions start to look like computers, then you are into 'Dancing Bear' territory (Alan Cooper)


    Only the metaphysical and mystic cannot be delt with logic and reason. This is often stuff that's spewed out. Anyone can make a metaphysical claim and you cannot refute it.

    Sabot wrote:
    I believe you have to use the fully bandwidth of sciences to understand existence and even then newer sciences such as quantum sciences are re-writing what we know and our preconceived perceptions.

    So tell me using science and fact how you have managed to determine your view?


    Quantum physics really doesn't come into this. You're sure you haven't been influenced by stuff like that awful "What the bleep do we know?" "documentary" film?

  • User profile image
    Minh

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    When it's running, it is alive in thought, exactly the same as us.

    So if a machine achieve only a cow-level consciousness, it's not alive?

  • User profile image
    Chadk

    If we look at the metaphysics aspect of it, we have theories about unified consciousness and reality.

    This breaks your point, doesnt it?

    EDIT: And are we talking self conscious, or just conscious?

  • User profile image
    phreaks

    That is the issue, what is consciousness, where does it come from?

    It is just there, so why couldn't it survive death?

    Not implying that I know the answer, just asking the question.

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    W3bbo wrote:
    Consider an electronic machine capable of consciousness (other things, like state and memory aren't applicable in this case).


     Its impossible to be conscious without state or memory, that is how you reference point x from point y, i.e the passage of time. All our impulses are electronic. 

    W3bbo wrote:
    When it's running, it is alive in thought, exactly the same as us. To destroy the machine would be to commit murder. When you pause or shut down (if it had no state) the machine, the consciusness ceases, when you resume the machine it would resume from where it left off.)


    Would you be willingly switched off? If termination of the machine is murder, then the machine is human. Murder is a law, humans will have afforded the machine equal status to that of humans.


    W3bbo wrote:
    If destroyed, the consciousness stops completely, but it's all electronic so we can inspect it.


    Inspect what exactly?


    W3bbo wrote:
    That said, how are humans any different? Our brains are deterministic machines, just like the electronic example above.


    Your flaw is to have modelled machines on humans, which is symptomatic of the human condition. An inability to conceive beyond our exisitance.

    W3bbo wrote:
    With death comes the ceasession of brain function, our consciousness stops with no facility to resume.


    What else is there apart from consciousness? Either you die and know everything or cease asking!

    W3bbo wrote:
    Doesn't this effectivly shoot down every concept of an afterlife then (bar Abrahamic ressurection)? If the religions are to be believed, we get an afterlife, so why not artificial consciousnesses? If we shut down an AC, have we killed it? But if we resume it, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't tell of stories of an afterlife, since we'd have its state to inspect.


    What is the difference between artificial consciousness and real consciousness? This is a circular question. At what threshold does one equal the other? Is one better that the other and why so?

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    phreaks wrote:
    That is the issue, what is consciousness, where does it come from?


    A natural process in the brain?

    phreaks wrote:
    It is just there, so why couldn't it survive death?


    That's a big leap to make. Why should it survive death?

  • User profile image
    Chadk

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    phreaks wrote:
    That is the issue, what is consciousness, where does it come from?


    A natural process in the brain?


    Or physics?
    W3bbo wrote:
    

    phreaks wrote:
    It is just there, so why couldn't it survive death?


    That's a big leap to make. Why should it survive death?


    Because so does atoms.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Chadk wrote:
    
    W3bbo wrote:
    

    phreaks wrote:
    It is just there, so why couldn't it survive death?


    That's a big leap to make. Why should it survive death?


    Because so does atoms.


    I'm arguing that consciousness is a natural system; of course the component parts will continue to exist after the system has been dismantled, but the system itself won't.

    Your reasoning doesn't follow.

  • User profile image
    phreaks

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    Chadk wrote:
    
    W3bbo wrote:
    

    phreaks wrote:
    It is just there, so why couldn't it survive death?


    That's a big leap to make. Why should it survive death?


    Because so does atoms.


    I'm arguing that consciousness is a natural system; of course the component parts will continue to exist after the system has been dismantled, but the system itself won't.

    Your reasoning doesn't follow.


    Evidence?

  • User profile image
    jsampsonPC

    I thought we all know what "life" is? Does it move? Does (or did it) have the ability to reproduce? Does it eat? Questions like this.

    Life only comes from life. So no machine will ever live...unless of course we figure out someway to birth some cyborg-baby...that would be wild Tongue Out

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    phreaks wrote:
    Evidence?


    Just because I cannot cite any sources doesn't mean my assertion is false, neither does it mean the opposite must be true.

    Where is the evidence consciousness is metaphysical? Ultimately you can't prove anything metaphysical, so any metaphysical claims must be false because you can't assert it to be true without solid evidence. Anecdotal doesn't count.

  • User profile image
    Chadk

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    I thought we all know what "life" is? Does it move? Does (or did it) have the ability to reproduce? Does it eat? Questions like this.

    Life only comes from life. So no machine will ever live...unless of course we figure out someway to birth some cyborg-baby...that would be wild

    Crazy theory: Can we get a computer to "tap" into this energy some science guys thinks that consciousness is, and make a machine think?

    We can soon print organic beings and muscles, they already made prototypes. Cant we produce artitical brains?

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    Life only comes from life. So no machine will ever live...unless of course we figure out someway to birth some cyborg-baby...that would be wild


    Model the human brain in a computer, simulate each and every neuron. Create an artificial universe, the computer would be an implementation of a Laplacean Demon.

    Would that brain not be alive, considering it's a 1:1 model of a human brain?

  • User profile image
    Yggdrasil

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    Yggdrasil wrote:
    You won't get far analyzing a concept that relies on presuppositions that you implicitly reject.


    I think it's a bigger assumption to make that there is something that we cannot detect than there isn't.


    Possibly. But that still doesn't let you automatically ignore the possibility.

    W3bbo wrote:
    They believe that, but where is the evidence? As much as I want to believe there's an afterlife and a god, the believers base them on some really old texts.


    No, not really. For believers, the old texts aren't evidence because the texts' veracity can only be accepted if you already believe. It can strengthen an existing belief, but for the whole structure to function, you need that first acceptance.

    You're saying "I won't believe until I see proof". You're told "Proof requires belief". It's a deadlock until someone makes the leap of faith.

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