Time for a deep discussion.

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HAGART
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Re: Time for a deep discussion.

Postby HAGART » 06 Feb 2014 02:39

I have a good thought experiment I've been toying with.
It got long, but the basic idea is, if life on earth evolved to create the emergence of consciousness, why can't 'artificial' life evolve the same way anywhere in the universe? (The rest of this is me banging out the idea and trying to show that it's feasible).

What if you make a nano-bot and program it to gather heat energy and transform it into electrical energy for it's ability to process and move and function. You supply it with the proper organs to do so. An energy converter of some kind, (heat to electricity), a battery to store a surplus in times of drought, a central processing unit to oversee it all. (This is just preliminary, but I've already touched on digestion, fat cells, and central nervous system). Since robots can be susceptible to computer viruses you can also add other 'organs' or 'hard-ware' to deal with that. I haven't planned out every detail but I believe that a robotic life form can be created. And it's as natural as any other life form, following the same rules. It's a basic micro-organism

That's just the start. Now program it to, not only preserve the further functioning of itself (Self Preservation), but also add a program for it to seek out other materials, to make a copy of itself. (Procreation). You add a twist though. Whenever it makes a copy and programs another replica it uses it's own copy as a blue-print, but changes a few 0's and 1's around. (Mutation).

Now you let this one, lone, microscopic nano-bot loose into nature, into the universe.
What will happen?

(I was going to write my prediction, but realized it would be a whole book!)
I'll just give some key notes:
- Because it's only heat to electricity and not specific, some will evolve to tap into solar energy where as others may adapt to vulcanic areas. Not to mention many other habitats.
- Due to mutation, they will evolve. Perhaps faster than another life forms we know of thus far. Some will be duds and go in circles, while others adapt and procreate faster and dominate. Using their own blueprints as models, their numbers will explode until the others are obsolete (Extinction).
- They may even start to form groups of small colonies or swarms. (Survival in numbers).
- They will find it easier to take apart other robots to get the materials they need instead of mining for them in nature. (Hunters and Prey will emerge).
- They may even reach a point where they start to specialize and have some of them explore and gather materials, while others work in factories producing the new ones. (sounds like a beehive or ant colony).
-It's amazing how this 'artificial life' is as alive as any other life form in nature.

NOW FOR THE BIG ONE!
If all this is feasibly possible and doesn't break any rule in physics, how long before these nano-bots evolve to create a larger organism with specialized cells that have a complex organ for remembering and decision making? How long before it develops a 'brain' and questions.... "who am I?" and becomes self aware? Is it inevitable?


It happened in nature once with us, and maybe even several other times, so why couldn't it happen again with robotic based lifeforms? What would it look like? It may not be humanoid at all but sill have a consciousness like ours and exceed it. (Given how time is a really long time, infinite some say, perhaps it has already happened elsewhere and the universe is full of it. We are the minority!)

(MORE DEEP THOUGHTS to ponder. I got to work out the details; it could be an entire book!)
One last thing I wonder... the old ones will never die unless they're deemed obsolete and cannibalized. How would they coexist with biological life forms? And how would they evolve, not needing "male" and "female" to procreate?

To keep it relevant to this topic, think about the consciousness that would arise from such a thing. IF it's inevitable, then consciousness and self awareness is not a fluke at all and very common in the universe. We just haven't found those black swans yet!
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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Peter
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Re: Time for a deep discussion.

Postby Peter » 06 Feb 2014 07:29

It happened in nature once with us


And if we these become self aware they could be organic machines (humans) :?

So what are we ?
Who are you I asked, the reply "dont be silly, we are your daughers" many years before they were born

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Summerlander
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Re: Time for a deep discussion.

Postby Summerlander » 06 Feb 2014 12:11

The evolution of machines, more precisely, computers, is already happening and is evinced in Moore's law. This is something I first learned about when I read Stephen Hawking's "The Universe in a Nutshell."

The law states that the power of computers will double every eighteen months although this clearly cannot continue indefinitely but it will probably continue until computers have a complexity similar to that of the human brain.

I do believe that if molecular complexity in human beings can make them intelligent, then the same must be true for electronic circuitry regarding computers. If supercomplex computers are intelligent enough then presumably they can design computers with greater complexity and intelligence. Remember the Terminator series of films?

Electronic circuits have the same complexity-versus-speed problem as the human brain but in computers the signals are not chemical, they are electrical, and teavel at the speed of light, which is superior. But we must also remember that the speed of light is already a limit on the design of faster computers too. Electromagnetic waves everywhere in the universe do not exceed the speed of light, period. Anyway, we have a long way to go and although we may not know everything, and even what we know cannot be known with 100% certainty, we do have practical knowledge and our best scientific theories have predictive power.

Here's a reflection on how much computers have evolved though: 3500 calculations per second in the early 70s; 28000000 " by the turn of the millennium; 400000000 " in 2007. It's still rising! Your thought experiment is already taking its baby steps, Hagart.
Thanks for the input guys!

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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Summerlander
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Re: Time for a deep discussion.

Postby Summerlander » 06 Feb 2014 12:24

Another thing. I don't believe the universe had any intention or purpose of evolving to produce consciousness. It's a non-living thing that stumbled upon living, conscious "crumbs" due to atomic and molecular complexity.

On machines, if they do end up conscious in the future, I'm not sure we can recognise it with 100% certainty and this is the problem with the Turin test. How can we tell the difference between real objective consciousness and simulated consciousness? How do we know that the machines are not just emulating it?

After all, when we look at other people, we assign consciousness to them, or presuppose that they have a mind too due to our personal theory of mind which we have been developing since infancy. Although when it comes to humans our theory of mind is strong enough to render solipsism absurd, I feel that the solipsist will have a point in regards to machines in the distant future. I hope you catch my drift.

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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Thinker
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Re: Time for a deep discussion.

Postby Thinker » 06 Feb 2014 17:53

I didn't read the stuff about the black swan theory but what's the big thing about it? The theory says that there are events that are highly difficult to predict. Didn't we already know that? If we knew a lot more variables, if we had a lot more vigilation of the people's behavior and knowldege about the functioning of brains, the efficiency of predictions in economy, sociology, etc., should increase, in principle. Or there is something about this theory that I, with almost no study of it ( xD), I'm not grasping?

You guys are saying that there's nothing we can know to be 100% sure. I'ts the same to say that we cannot know truth's. Note that if you say that, you are stating a paradox because you mean that your statement ('there's nothing we can know to be 100% sure'') is also true. I'm going to post something in the forum about this today, I hope you enjoy and participate :) Stopped believing in''think, therefore, I am'' Hagart? :)

About the appearing of consciousness, I think that if scientists, in the future, discover all the things about the brain fisiology, is a possibility that they can replicate that fuctioning and create artificial brains, A.I, etc

If we develop a machine and throw it into nature, the machine would develop consciousness? I don't know... scientists even don't know why It first occurred in the first place

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Summerlander
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Re: Time for a deep discussion.

Postby Summerlander » 06 Feb 2014 20:06

Thinker wrote:I didn't read the stuff about the black swan theory but what's the big thing about it? The theory says that there are events that are highly difficult to predict. Didn't we already know that? If we knew a lot more variables, if we had a lot more vigilation of the people's behavior and knowldege about the functioning of brains, the efficiency of predictions in economy, sociology, etc., should increase, in principle. Or there is something about this theory that I, with almost no study of it ( xD), I'm not grasping?


No, you're right. You pretty much grasped it. You put it differently but you pretty much stated my views on the Black Swan theory. (Well, you captured the gist.) There is nothing special about it, but, its proponent, Taleb, likes to use that against the scientific method as though it somehow degrades it. It doesn't. It is almost like a modern way of claiming miracles but without actually saying it because we live in a scientific age. So it turns into "unusual events" that we can't predict, or "Black Swans," almost alluding to the erroneous picture that scientists arrogantly claim to know it all. Scientists humbly do quite the opposite. For Taleb, complexity is bad and people in the Middle Ages were supposed to have been wiser.

Just to illustrate how those who claim with absolute certainty that a miracle has taken place are also making the temerarious claim of presupposed completion of knowledge about how reality works, here is an excerpt from Anatole France's Le Jardin d'Epicure (The Garden of Epicurus):

"If an observer of a genuinely scientific spirit were called upon to verify that a man's leg, after amputation, had suddenly grown again as before, whether in a miraculous pool or anywhere else, he would not cry: "Lo! a miracle." He would say this: "An observation, so far unique, points us to a presumption that under conditions still undetermined, the tissues of a human leg have the property of reorganising themselves like a crab's or lobster's claws and a lizard's tail, but much more rapidly. Here we have a fact of nature in apparent contradiction with several other facts of the like sort. The contradiction arises from our ignorance, and clearly shows that the science of animal physiology must be reconstituted, or to speak more accurately, that it has never yet been properly constituted. It is little more than two hundred years since we first had any true conception of the circulation of the blood. It is barely a century since we learned what is implied in the act of breathing."

Thinker wrote:You guys are saying that there's nothing we can know to be 100% sure. I'ts the same to say that we cannot know truth's. Note that if you say that, you are stating a paradox because you mean that your statement ('there's nothing we can know to be 100% sure'') is also true.


Actually, it's not quite how you put it regarding our epistemic predication. We stated that we can't know with a 100% certainty how certain things work. (And I would add something else to this statement, too, in order to avoid confusion: at present, based on what we have so far, a high degree of uncertainty is unavoidable and undeniable.) This is where Nassim Taleb should be given credit when he says that, when studying a particular occurrence, it is impossible to observe all contributing factors. (But I do abhor the bloke on every other account.)

Newton's laws have predictive power, as any surviving scientific theory does, and this gives rise to what we can regard as "practical knowledge," but, for instance, all the contributing quantum elements have not been considered because we simply don't know enough or have an incomplete picture of reality. (On the subject of quantum physics, I would also append that entropy and uncertainty enter the picture as one cannot know quantum properties prior to measurement, for measurement defines what is found by affecting the original states.)

Moreover, we may have some predictive power within the vicinity of our planet (but still uncertain about Butterfly effects) but we do not know how the universe as a whole, perhaps as an interconnected gravitational well, plays its role. Who knows, hypothetically, if we were to remove some unknown natural ingredients away from some far-off unexplored region of space, the observable laws of nature here on Earth could change radically (like "spooky action at a distance") and we'd have to do a fundamental revision (if possible).

So, to be clear, besides firmly evincing that science, as it currently stands, is not the be-all and end-all (there is room for improvement and it evolves as a methodology), I am also saying that we have an incomplete picture of how reality works - very incomplete (!), in fact, as baryonic matter - which we know something about - represents barely 5% of the universe. We can observe the impact of dark matter (just under 25%) and dark energy (just over 70%) but the properties of the latter two are still unknown.

So, currently, it is safe to say that we can't possibly know everything we appear to know with 100% certainty (to clarify in case we weren't clear before), but this, needless to say, is not the same thing as saying that we will never, or can never, know. Absolute certainty may be achievable if we do become the masters of the universe. So, no paradox. Or am I missing something? :mrgreen:

Thinker wrote:About the appearing of consciousness, I think that if scientists, in the future, discover all the things about the brain fisiology, is a possibility that they can replicate that fuctioning and create artificial brains, A.I, etc


Of course, but, if we still haven't got a clue about what causes consciousness and self-awareness then, we can't be sure that artificial brains of machines are really conscious. (Even the Turing test wouldn't help because the machines could simply be simulating the real thing based on its programs.) We can suppose a scenario where we know a lot about complex electronic circuititry that can mimmic the human brain, but, if those circuits do not have the same connections at the roots of reality as our brains do, there may be no real manifest consciousness. (Hypothesising within this scenario, of course, that quantum mechanics have something to do with sparking consciousness from the roots of evolved complex systems at the macroscopic level.)

As it currently seems, based on all the evidence, consciousness may be a very elaborate and strong epiphenomenal illusion stemming from a combination of both Penrose's theory (quantum vibrations found inside neurons which also seem to source brainwaves - and need I tell you about 40 Hz oscillations associated with lucid dreaming (?)) and Tonomi's integrated information theory (complex systems and observed activity telling us about neural correlates).

But there is a lot of speculation in this thread, and, as you put it, Thinker:

Thinker wrote:If we develop a machine and throw it into nature, the machine would develop consciousness? I don't know... scientists even don't know why It first occurred in the first place


True, they don't. Consciousness is still a puzzle. Or, as some prefer, a mystery. :shock:
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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HAGART
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Re: Time for a deep discussion.

Postby HAGART » 06 Feb 2014 22:24

I was trying to reply, but then realized I don't have a strong definition of consciousness for any argument to hinge on. It's not self-awareness, that is different. I believe animals can be conscious without self-awareness.

It would seem logical to assume that any animal with a brain is conscious at some level.

But what about amoeba? They must sense their environment and make decisions on which direction to go, or else they would be no different than a drop of water gathering food by chance. (I'm going to read/watch some stuff about amoeba and learn more, for my own curiosity. They remind me of my nano-bots).

Think about a good definition of consciousness, but in the mean time...

As of right now, given the abundance of brains in this world, that generate consciousness, I'd say it was no accident at all. There's just a myriad of variables unknown to us required to create the perfect conditions. But it's no accident, and nothing in the universe happens by a miracle.

But why does consciousness exist at all is the philosophical question. Does it serve a purpose and is it needed? It seems some animals on this planet don't have it and live quite well. (Just look at Congress! 8-) :lol: )
OR does all life have a basic consciousness? We just need to define it which gets tricky because some argue that fire is alive since it breaths, feeds, grows, and replicates with embers.
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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HAGART
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Re: Time for a deep discussion.

Postby HAGART » 06 Feb 2014 22:48

Thinker wrote:Note that if you say that, you are stating a paradox because you mean that your statement ('there's nothing we can know to be 100% sure'') is also true.


This is a conundrum. Summerlander says it's possible, but we would have to know everything. What if we knew where every atom in the universe was, its mass, trajectory, and speed? If we did, everything would be predictable from weather (and the energy it produces), to the stock market, to even human behavior since brains are also composed of atoms and consciousness is sometimes compared to a lightening storm.

But that's all impossible. There are not enough atoms in the brain or a super computer to know since it too is composed of atoms. It would also have to know it's own atoms as it calculates it all which will be an impossible feedback loop. As soon as a computer tries to calculate where an atom is inside it's own circuitry many atoms move and it would need to recalculate again! :o

The only thing I can know with 100% accuracy is that I think I know.
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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Summerlander
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Re: Time for a deep discussion.

Postby Summerlander » 06 Feb 2014 23:56

The only thing I can know with 100% accuracy is that I think I know.


Agree. There is a sharp degree of agnosticism when it comes to understanding exactly how the universe functions, let alone its origins. I also agree that animals can be conscious but not necessarily self-aware. It is said that some chimps and gorillas have displayed self-awareness via that mirror test, but it may not be as prominent as in humans.

As of right now, given the abundance of brains in this world, that generate consciousness, I'd say it was no accident at all. There's just a myriad of variables unknown to us required to create the perfect conditions. But it's no accident, and nothing in the universe happens by a miracle.


This is where we partially disagree... :mrgreen:

The abundance of brains in the world is not a good enough reason to warrant purpose behind the emergence of consciousness let alone the goal of entelechy. Nature also decimates those brains with natural catastrophes (these are clearly accidental in nature so we must be careful how we read events around us which are far more difficult to describe and understand - such as the emergence of life).

I remind you, it is an extremely flawed natural system despite its complexities. There is compelling evidence that the emergence of life on this planet was a random event. The SPONCH "cocktail" (look up the acronym), which is required for the emergence of like here on Earth, came about by chance due to the universe's cosmological constants and laws of nature therein permitted. Another reminder is that the universe has its own evolution in that quantum fluctuations gave rise to light elements and these elements gave rise to heavier elements. It is perfectly conceivable that a number of other universes, if they do exist, had the wrong natural coordinates for something like hydrogen to even form - let alone stars, galaxies, and planets bearing life!!

In essence, from the time of the Big Bang, everything has been happening by chance - and this is quite apparent at the roots of reality (the probabilistic framework of the quantum realm) - and, as you approach the classical, the resemblance of what happens after the break-off point in a game of billiards, which, needless to say, is pretty chaotic and the balls may accidentally be potted. What is not random, to differentiate this from what initiated the emergence of life, is evolution by the process of natural selection, as Darwin would tell you. Because after the initial random spark, as it were, things begin to follow a deterministic route based on existent conditions. Cause and effect, cause and effect, cause and effect...

From the start... no purpose, no plan, no intention. (These are anthropic excogitations, secondary phenomena as the conceptions of the human mind, not cosmic inherent aptitudes.) The universe has merely woken up through us because the laws of nature held such scenario as a possibility (however improbable). Also, if we were to truly grasp how much time has passed since the beginning up until the emergence of consciousness, we would probably say: "It's about bloody time!" (When was the jackpot going to come in after billions of years?) :roll:

I have a question for you, Hagart, and for me it doesn't matter how you answer this, I'll still respect you as an intelligent individual capable of valuable input, but: Are you some sort of Deist? Or Pantheist, perhaps? :o

On the subject of miracles, I, too, am tempted to say they don't happen with absolute certainty as I would say, with the same conviction, that I don't believe in fairies. I contend that, if a miracle did occur, we would not be able to recognise it and would most probably regard it as a natural event yet to be understood (refer to my Anatole France quote to see the irony). And, in all likelihood, it would be an abstruse natural event rather than a supernatural one. To claim, with absolute certainty, that you have witnessed a miracle, is to give the outstanding impression that you know all there is about the natural world in order to recognise a genuine miracle. :twisted:
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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HAGART
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Re: Time for a deep discussion.

Postby HAGART » 07 Feb 2014 01:08

I was trying to find where you disagree...

Summerlander wrote:The abundance of brains in the world is not a good enough reason to warrant purpose behind the emergence of consciousness let alone the goal of entelechy.


I never said there was a purpose at all and question that:
HAGART wrote:But why does consciousness exist at all is the philosophical question. Does it serve a purpose and is it needed? It seems some animals on this planet don't have it and live quite well.

So we don't disagree there.


Summerlander wrote: To claim, with absolute certainty, that you have witnessed a miracle, is to give the outstanding impression that you know all there is about the natural world in order to recognise a genuine miracle.

I agreed. Unless you were saying, "you" as in "one" and not directed at me.
HAGART wrote:But it's no accident, and nothing in the universe happens by a miracle.


I don't see how you disagree since everything you said is what I agree with! Then I found this:
Summerlander wrote:In essence, from the time of the Big Bang, everything has been happening by chance - and this is quite apparent at the roots of reality (the probabilistic framework of the quantum realm) - and, as you approach the classical, the resemblance of what happens after the break-off point in a game of billiards, which, needless to say, is pretty chaotic and the balls may accidentally be potted.


Billiards is not chaotic at all. If you know the mass, acceleration, velocity and trajectory of the Cue Ball you can predict EXACTLY what will happen. A computer could solve it easily. Now pretend instead of billiard balls they are the smallest particles. It's very predictable and nothing happens by chance and the universe is unfolding as it should. (At the quantum level, with probabilistic nature is where I have to end this analogy and I must say I am not informed enough to further). My billiard table outlook of the universe may be too simplistic.

As for my view on Deism and religion... I thought I made it clear. We are being manipulated by robotic overlords! ;) :lol:
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.


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