Can robots be considered alive?

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by Marrik, May 4, 2004.

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  1. Marrik Registered Member

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    My friend and i had an arguement last night about weither or not robots can be considered alive. i said when they are self aware and can learn they should be considered alive, but my friend said robots should never be considered alive.

    what do you guys think?
     
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  3. crazymikey Open-minded Scientist Registered Senior Member

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    I think you should ask your friend, why he considers himself alive, then ask him, if the robot had the same qualities, would he consider it alive?
     
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Robots are not alive.

    Androids are not alive.

    Anything that isn't sentiant isn't alive.
     
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  7. Baal Zebul Somewhat Registered User Registered Senior Member

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    why no rephrase it?
    Are humans any more alive than machines?
     
  8. crazymikey Open-minded Scientist Registered Senior Member

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    It depends how you define being alive, it looks like this definition would be very subjective from how you expressed your opinion.

    If you look at it objectively: If a robot or android could mimic the attributes and qualities of sentient life, then why should it not be considered alive? Care to tell me.
     
  9. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    Simply, Robots are also called Automatons. They are autonomous, created to do a task and not to live.

    however it could be possible to create a sentient robot, one that has not just intelligence but Artificial life, it could perhaps be allowed to "live" although some people would consider it alive.

    There is also the possibility that in the future man might blend with machine to the point of having androids (rather than cyborgs), if a human psyche is floating around inside a robotic body then it (that person) should be allowed to continue to exist, shouldn't it?
     
  10. 420Joey SF's Incontestable Pimp Valued Senior Member

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    In my opinion, if it has emotion - it's alive.
     
  11. Logically Unsound wwaassuupp and so on Registered Senior Member

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    I think that machines now adays are not alive. Thats a pretty fair comment. They dont go down the pub and get drunk, do not convey emotions and so on.
    However, at a later stage (i.e. in the future) they might get to the stage where they are able to process emotional input like we do (only a matter of time i say).
    So i believe that the answer is:
    No, but someday (o beautiful day) Yes.
     
  12. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    if it can think or itself without being programmed it is alive; "i think therefore i am"quote: some famous guy
     
  13. Blindman Valued Senior Member

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    One of the prerequisites of life or being alive is the ability to reproduce at some stage in the life cycle. Once a robot is produced that can create a copy of its self, it would be considered ALIVE...
    The ability to think,have sentience, be intelligent, emotions and a host of other abstract human qualities have nothing to do with being labeled alive. A virus is about the bottom limit of life and has non of these attributes. Of course there are those that don't consider a virus as a living thing, but I don't subscribe to that school of thought.
     
  14. Baal Zebul Somewhat Registered User Registered Senior Member

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    Machine now a days are not alive. The ALICE chatbots are not alive, they are not even intelligent.
    How can one call something intelligent when it uses pre-programmed data. If it were to obtain all or most of that data alone then it could perhaps be considered intelligent.

    If it is intelligent then it is alive. Feelings have nothing to do with it.
    This also means that (lets say) 15% of the whole worlds population are not alive. I am talking about those stupid people who sees a training tool ad on the TV, call up the company and order one. Those people are brainwashed by the society and should not be considered intelligent. They merely use "pre-programmed" data.

    I bet that i am going to be hated for saying that.
     
  15. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    Actually Thats a reason why I decided to repost on this topic.

    I realised "Alive" is not having a Storage method that saves your position when you turn off. So theoretically if you were to create a live Robot, it would mean that the sum of all it's knowledge would exist in a constantly Cycling Neural processing grid, which if the energy is dispersed it would no longer know what it previously knew. (It would die).

    Current robotic architecture however uses storage methods to make sure that the robot maintains it's functions after it's stopped and started again, and therefore doesn't live (Intelligent or not)

    As for self-replication proving life, that isn't correct. Viruses aren't alive, however they can self-replicate by altering normal cell RNA patterns to their own.
     
  16. crazymikey Open-minded Scientist Registered Senior Member

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    I am not sure what you said there Stryder, care to elaborate for me?

    Are you saying a robot would have a limited storage ability, and if that storage limit were exceeded, it would die?
     
  17. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    No, What I mean is if a robot could store its settings on magnetic tape, or be hardwired to perform a function, it can not die as such, and therefore it doesn't really live.

    However if the robot's memory was like RAM where the information only exists while it cycles energy, you could suggest a preportion of the robot lives, as if the system stops and the cycles end, what ever it could have learnt dies with the off button.

    (If the robot can be turned back on and it "bootsup" though, it didn't live, because it didn't die. I take death as Absolute, so something to "die" means it must have lived.)
     
  18. Baal Zebul Somewhat Registered User Registered Senior Member

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    interesting concept
     
  19. Never_wanted_to... Registered Member

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    Living things have DNA. It’s like preprogrammed data. Emotions are preprogrammed responses caused by chemical reactions. People seem to have the same bevy of emotional reactions to the same things (aversion to pain, happiness toward acquiring something they wanted) until they learn to control them, and unless they had birth defects affecting the function of their minds. People record data in their minds and based on how their prior experiences affected them react to the world accordingly, like a preprogrammed AI that was programmed to adapt to changes and learn from them. Learning is kind of like programming in progress isn’t it? So if a machine could expand by programming itself, I think it would be alive. People are to some extent preprogrammed by their inherited DNA in the beginning anyway. Also, when people go to sleep, their minds shut down, except for autonomous actions like breathing, and unless they are dreaming. If a machine would have to have a rest period like this, and not forget anything (as I agree with Stryder that “If the robot can be turned back on and it "bootsup" though, it didn't live, because it didn't die”), then that would have to be a factor in my opinion of a living creature.
     
  20. My Sexy Blue Feet Out sunbaking, leave a msg... Registered Senior Member

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    I wonder about the definition of Life as such. I read "from gaia to selfish genes", which gave me a good thought or two. we have ways to explain life, identify life, but no explanation of what life actually is. This makes me wonder that is it possible, to define life, because all definitions are based on a perseption
     
  21. jrc Registered Member

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    And that perception is based on the limitations imposed by our perceivable dimensions. Any definition of Living their for, is also limited according to those rules.

    'What is life'? We don't even really understand the question.
     
  22. eburacum45 Valued Senior Member

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    Trees are alive- yet they have no more self awareness than a robot.
    Fire replicates itself but is not alive; so does a crystal.
    Once we have a definition of life then we can think about robots in that context.

    ----------------------
    SF worldbuilding at
    www.orionsarm.com
     
  23. Never_wanted_to... Registered Member

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    Since our limited human perceptions are all we have to work with for answering any question right now, we have to understand life the way our perceptions allow us. Are stars alive? They do have a life cycle of birth, growth, and death, so do plants and bacteria. Inanimate objects have a life cycle too; they are affected by time, and degrade because of it, but do they have a death? Objects also resist change, kind of like living things, because it takes force to move them, melt or freeze them, or to break them, they resist those physical forces of change to a degree. Not much of a survival instinct in inanimate objects, but who knows.

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    Atoms have a kind of life cycle too they can be created and can decay. A definition of life based on what we have learned by relying on the perceptions of people who have gathered and figured out all this knowledge about life and it’s patterns, is bound to be a very fragmented definition, but with lots of different points of view I'm sure.
     
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