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Everything posted by old_nick

  1. That's okay, people who think any action is justified if their imaginary friend tells them it is scare the hell out of me. Ah, the argument ad Nazium. You know who else liked to compare people to Nazis? Hitler. Who is advocating eugenics in the scientific community right now? Neo-eugenics perhaps, which I support myself, but not likely eugenics. Eugenics has too many problems, particularly when it comes to genetic diversity. It would run the risk of driving us extinct more easily. "Play god" is such an insipid, worthless, and utterly idiotic phrase. What god? No god exists? So which of humanities fictionalized gods are we playing at? The Abrahamic jealous, spiteful, vindictive god that condones and commands rape, torture, and murder? The Hellenic gods with their womanizing and petty grudges? One thing that never seems to change is that humanity has the potential to be infinitely more moral than the gods it dreams up and out of some well of stupidity draws forth the desire to worship these imaginings of barbaric and horrible times. No, no god exists to play as, and being a creature of conscience, I doubt most would choose to play as one anyway. Humans learn and apply that learning to our surroundings to survive and thrive. That is the animal we are. It is the animal we've evolved to be. The human race has done quite enough damage by those who believe in the insane ramblings of Bronze Age desert tribesmen as written by Iron Age politicians. Would you call the elimination of a mental illness genocide? I wouldn't. Removing the disease of superstition and theism is a good thing. Is a healthy man superior to a sick one? No, he is just in better health. I don't think I am your superior, just in a better state of health. I don't think that sentence means what you think it means. Eschew means to avoid. So you're telling me I avoid "the very same mentality" when I believe you're attempting to accuse me of having it. However, I do not. I have no faith, nore any need of a faith. I think that humans should indeed alter the human condition, it is what we are evolved to do and we stand to eliminate a great deal of suffering if we do so with care. And, more importantly, I am not suggesting anyone be lobotomized. Connection to the prefrontal cortex would remain and functionality would not be diminished. There are some enjoyable, even useful, effects in phenomena associated with "religious" experience. The problem comes with the religious continuing to confuse their neurological effects with some sort of reality. Coming from a woman who cannot separate her imagination from reality, that means less than nothing to me. Confrontation is systemic. I am comfortable with that, and my personality doesn't get harmed here at all. It may sound callous, but I do not have a deep enough emotional investment in anyone here to care what they think of me. At moments I am not even certain if I see you lot as people. Automations or an elaborate practical joke is more comforting.
  2. It says typically, it is not a hard and fast limitation of the definition. My use is still 100% accurate and will remain as emulate is a much more apt description for the processes undergone during an emotional state, at least in terms of state systems.
  3. I cited peer-reviewed cited documents arguing otherwise. And your evidence is where? Choice is the act of judging from a tree of options and selecting from among them. Consciousness is not required for that, merely evaluation. Evaluation does not require conscious effort. Indeed, the vast majority of choices we ourselves make do not even register in our consciousness. From the OED: As I said, pattern matching aptitude over accessed memory. Consciousness is not required. Merely the ability to access memory of events undergone and derive meaningful data from it. Because I am discussing the philosophy underlying the nature of personhood, an abstract concept. Whereas consciousness is not an abstract concept, it is a result dependent upon physical phenomena. If you'd like to quote the gentleman's thoughts on personhood, have at it, I'd like to hear what he thinks. But as consciousness is a physical phenomenon, it'd best be served by studies of such physical phenomena. A philosopher's view, however interesting, is really meaningless in terms of the underlying mechanistic processes. I'm not poisoning the well at all. I am not posting unsavory information about him as a person in an attempt to discredit him as a person. A poisoning of the well tends to sit a little close to an ad hominem. At best I would be using appeal to authority in my own sources, though even that would be a stretch on my part. No, posting that a philosophy professor is ill-suited to discuss an issue he is not trained in is not a poisoning of the well. A good try, though.
  4. Emulation is to match or surpass a given accomplishment. A sociopath doesn't emulate emotions. The word you're looking for is simulate which is an imitation of an action or quality. There is a distinction there and an important one.
  5. Coming from a collection of books that advocates selling one's daughter into sexual slavery as a result of her being raped, demands genocide on multiple occasions, and generally peddles stupidity, that quote means less than nothing to me. Your argument is a consequentialist argument. You'd have us believe the ends justify the means. They do not.
  6. Yes. Yes it does. Bernard Baars. "The conscious access hypothesis: Origins and recent evidence". Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6: 47–52 Ezequiel Morsella and John A. Bargh (2007). "Supracortical consciousness: Insights from temporal dynamics, processing-content, and olfaction". Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30: 100. Nichols, T. Grantham (2000). "Adaptive Complexity and Phenomenal Consciousness". Philosophy of Science 67: 648–670. John Eccles (1992). "Evolution of consciousness". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 89: 7320–7324. Bernard Baars (1993). A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness. Cambridge University Press. J. Kevin O'Regan and Alva Noë (2001). Acting out our sensory experience. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24 , pp 1011-1021 Francis Crick and Christof Koch(1998) Consciousness and Neuroscience Cerebral Cortex, 8:97-107 Francis Crick and Christof Koch(2003) Nature Neuroscience 6, 119 - 126 Mind: introduction to cognitive science By Paul Thagard(2005) The quest for consciousness: a neurobiological approach By Christof Koch(2004) Rodolfo Llinás (2002). I of the Vortex. From Neurons to Self. MIT Press. Yes, I concede to being biased towards what the best available evidence indicates. Not true on both parts. If you wish to see examples of the first, I suggest you read on choice blindness, inattentional blindness, and generally anything you can find on cognitive faults. For the second, "experience" is merely pattern matching aptitude over accessed memory. Consciousness is not required. Unless you're telling us the neural indexing algorithms used by Google have become self-aware? Further to the point, the link you provided was to a philosopher, not someone involved in neuroscience and the actual study of the biology behind consciousness.
  7. The evidence as it stands indicates that consciousness(or more appropriately the illusion of consciousness) is merely a byproduct of other actions. A simplification of the data we are processing and the mechanisms by which we process it. Perceived consciousness is relatively easy to alter. In some cases even rather specific alterations are achievable. The more we learn, the more we see things such as consciousness and free will are at best illusions cast by those wetware computers in our skulls. Your emotions are merely response to stimuli. They can even be forcefully induced. I've made mention that my significant others and I choose to induce a continuation of that feeling people get when first falling in love. Naturally, that feeling wanes and the love itself changes over time. We've found we have that as well as that primary feeling of the first fall due to our own self-experimentation. We're altering our wetware computers to induce an electrochemical state. That is all emotion is, electrochemical response to a given stimulus. We're controlling that stimulus. Experiencing it on our own terms.
  8. Currently, sentient and sapient AI are not a reality. We haven't created an AI comparable to human intelligence and interaction. There are some AI which do have aspects on the level of humans, or even better than humans. But no full comprehensive general intelligence. As for the possibility of one, every indication is that consciousness is merely a side effect of the processes our brain has evolved such as pattern recognition, action determinism, et cetera. As a result, there is no reason why a fully capable machine intelligence would be impossible. A great project on it that I highly recommend is OpenCog. I'll post a link at the end of this post for any interested. Don't let me fool you. I don't have one. Where do you draw a distinction between a biological machine emulating emotion(us) and a mechanical machine emulating emotion? If the machine is feeling and responding to emotional stimuli, how is it merely mimicing emotion? How would it be any different than our own processes of emotional response to stimuli? Partially efficient, and then within the niche to which they have evolved. Evolution is a rather inefficient process as it has no overal concern for efficiency, just functionality. Which can, at times, be a very fine line. But it is definitely there. Just look at the host of atavisms we have. Evolution is an ever-continuing process. There is no "finish". We have humans now. Humans will go on and become transhuman and some day posthuman. It is one of the reasons I support transhumanism as I do. I want to see us become intelligent designers where each individual may decide what is finished for him, her, or it and have access to the technology to make it a reality. The perfect me is not the perfect you. Strength through diversity. The answer is a resounding "depends". There are several proposed models for achieving a hard machine intelligence. Though most of them do indeed require training. At least for the initial generations of the intelligence. There would come a point where they could copy desired aspects of themselves when reproducing. Yes, but we do so in order to minimize our mistakes. For the same reasons I hope we'd want to be around it. To grow, learn, evolve, better ourselves, take joy and pleasure in life, to be less alone in our particular portion of the universe. To be peers and co-conspirators in making this world and all worlds better. Unless we augment ourselves making use of what we'd learn from our machine friends and how their minds work. I highly recommend looking into Theodore Berger's work on neural prosthesis. http://opencog.org/ For the OpenCog AGI project And http://www.neural-prosthesis.com/ for a more layperson friendly read on Berger's work and other related researchers' work.
  9. All things are an argument, in the end. Life is war. We are at war with our very surroundings. Each moment there is other life waiting to fill the niche in which you stand. It's brutal, it's hard, it'd be cruel if nature were a thinking feeling thing. I do believe, though, that we have a moral imperative to use the brain knowledge has given us to find a way to minimize the brutality of life(Human driven intelligent design). But, as long as there are people who waste it on things such as superstition, we'll be stuck in that war. It'd almost be worth deliberately modifying the human brain to be incapable of "religious" experience as it is neurological phenomena and nothing more.
  10. This actually brings up the question of "what is life". Contrary to popular conception, there is no singular definition for what life is(typically approached in when life begins in terms of layperson discussions). So while they may not be biologically cellular life, they could still be to a large degree considered life. I do like the sound of inorganic intelligence, though. A great descriptor for electronic lifeforms! Can I ask why you feel that would exempt them from souls and, in your mind, would that make them worse or better off, not having all that worry over destination and afterlife that accompanies soul beliefs. I imagine their pickup lines would be incredible. "Do you prefer I perform my sockets interfacing through the big endian or little endian format?" Or, "baby, you spool my posix threads, my stack is thoroughly allocated!" In seriousness, I do think it a rather important question as the rights and liberties to which we allow others is reflexive of us and our own rights and liberties. Personally, I'd rather enjoy seeing human/machine intelligence marriages. I think it would signify a great leap in how we see personhood and as a result how we see people. I'm aware that that is a Star Trek reference. But that is really the extent of my knowledge on the series. I've often asked myself what kind of self-respecting woman would want me. And I've got two of them. Sentience does amuzing things. What real thing? That really touches on why I began this thread. Do you feel a machine intelligence would be less deserving than a human intelligence? If so, why? And an amusing link for those interested. A conference is being held in the coming year addressed at the legal issues surrounding robotics. http://boingboing.net/2011/12/07/we-robot-conference-legal-and.html
  11. It's still quite hypothetical now, though a technical possibility. Let's say, for the sake of argument, there were fully mature mind uploading to the peak of technical possibility. That would allow for exact copying as well as transfer of consciousness. So in such a case you could have multiple copies of yourself, a copy of yourself in meatspace with a copy that lives in an online world, or transfer of yourself to other bodies in meatspace or to and from online worlds. What would interest me in that is the possibilities. For one, it would give us an actual afterlife. A real life possible afterlife to where one could go when their bodies passed. One in which their living relatives could see them. It even opens up the possibility for reincarnation where the dead in their afterlife are brought back to new bodies. Another fun possibility would be a hive mind built of copies of yourself. Imagine 40 copies of you sharing consciousness each living in a different city. Though that sort of technology is a great big long way away, assuming the species lives long enough to attain it. Shorter term, the first generation would likely ride the coattails of a developed machine intelligence using whatever system on which they run to provide an emulator of sorts for the uploaded mind. In which case, it'll most probably be a copy.
  12. We're discussing personhood which would arguably include sentience. Otherwise you would be left with an emotionless intelligence(which would have benefits as well as deficits). So I am discussing machine intelligence with an emotional depth at least similar to humans in that our basic emotional range occurs. Happiness, sadness, anger, wonder, et cetera. Many cognitive models see sentience as a required trait for intelligence at our level(or at least a biproduct of it) especially in terms of learning and motivation. So several of the current AGI attempts include at least aspects of emotional depth as goals of their project. Offhand, some OpenCog contributors are doing some interesting things with risk/reward as emotional motivation and actually weighting memory based upon it.
  13. This is the first of a few philosophy forum threads I have in mind for transhumanist issues. This one is, the clever may have noted, on AGI. AGI is artificial general intelligence, artificial intelligence that has at least a human level of intelligence and emotional depth, if not moreso. I thought it would be fun to discuss here and I's like to lead with a few questions for everybody on it. 1)First the use of artificial, should the word artificial be used? Especially given several iterations when it would then be reproducing of its own accord without typically requiring human design or interaction. It seems we're lumping everything into either natural or artificial and that strikes me as a false dichotomy. I prefer the phrase machine intelligence, which is in somewhat common use already. Any thoughts? 2)For those who believe in souls and other similar superstitions, do you think a machine intelligence would have a soul? Is there some vital distinction in our wetware computer versus their hardware computer? Could the pray, get saved, need to get saved, perform magic, et cetera? I do not believe in such things myself and make no effort to hide that. But I am genuinely curious about how those who do believe in such things would approach it. 3)Marriage. Should "adult" machine intelligence be allowed to wed other machine intelligence? How about humans? If so why? If not why? I personally have no issue with sentient sapient operators capable of informed consent wedding one another be it human and/or machine intelligence. As they are(in our hypothetical questions) capable of intellectual and emotional depth, I see no reason to limit their personal freedom for arbitrary distinctions. These are my questions for now. After a bit I want to do some posts on mind uploading, cloning, and general modifications as well. Anyone interested in those can have at it and message me.
  14. Only when dealing with those who choose to be ignorant. More pity than anger. But there is definitely contempt. How dare a person choose to squander the tools we have evolved that they were fortunate enough to be born with when there are so many lesser fortunate out there. Would you throw away good food in front of the starving? Pour out a bottle of water because it is lukewarm when there is someone dying of thirst nearby? Then why would you waste natural inclination for intelligence when there are so many without? Wasting our greatest evolutionary trait on superstition, wishful thinking, and intentional idiocy is not something that should ever be respected. But you, others here, and society in general want people to do just that. Neither is allowing the weeds choking of the garden to thrive. You're confusing my phrase and making a straw man from it. I did not say imagination is bad. I did not say creativity is bad. I said imaginary(adjective) nonsense(noun). Now, to what nonsense directed? Clearly the context of discussion indicates that nonsense would be superstition, theism, and foolishness of that vein. Believing in a god is not a gift. It is not a good thing. It is not a tolerable thing. Theism and superstition take with them attrocity everywhere they choose to show their vile head. How very far has scientific and medical advancement been set back over the past 1800 years because of Christianity, as an example. How many people have been tortured, brutalized, and killed because they did not fit some faith's description of what is good or right. So no, the context is clear, the imaginary nonsense is not the work of Dali or Grieg as your strawman would indicate. It is the very dangerous nonsense of superstition. I like the potential of people. I love puzzles. And I do enjoy studying religion and superstitions. I find them fascinating and fun. The problems come when people confuse them for reality.
  15. In my opinion, an ignorant person choosing to remain ignorant is one of the most vile of all personality traits. Even worse is an ignorant person choosing to spread their ignorance to other. That is the very basis of superstition and theistic religion. It's frankly disgusting. I often feel physically ill around such people. There is so much unlimited potential in the human animal, so very much we as a species could do if we took the opportunity. Seeing that wasted is both sad and revolting. Seeing it wasted on imaginary nonsense is all the worse.
  16. I am happy when happiness is warranted, sad when sadness is warranted, angry when anger is warranted, etc. Each serves a useful purpose and each should be experienced without excess. As for content, that depends upon the subject itself. The world is filled with vile ignorant people and as long as that remains great amounts of positive potential are squandered. I want to see humanity live up to its potential. As long as superstition and a hundred other problems remain, that will never happen.
  17. There is an Epicurean quote addressing the second part of the Tetrapharmakos that always helps me when I lose someone I care about: "death is nothing to us. For all good and evil consists in sensation, but death is deprivation of sensation. And therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not because it adds to it an infinite span of time, but because it takes away the craving for immortality. For there is nothing terrible in life for the man who has truly comprehended that there is nothing terrible in not living. [Death] does not then concern either the living or the dead, since for the former it is not, and the latter are no more." Life hurts the living. Death hurts the living. Neither life nor death hurt the dead. Do those we love want to add another hurt to those we already have? I don't think so. It's okay to hurt and to mourn, but I think we have to remind ourselves that that pain isn't something our loved ones would want us to carry around. So, for what it is worth, I hope you feel better soon and grow stronger for it.