Can robots be considered alive?

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

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  1. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

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    Stryder: are you saying that "alive" is a value judgement on whether a thing is unique and fragile?

    It's an interesting definition: a thing is alive only if it is possible to destroy it in a way irreversible to human means, so that it is forever gone.

    So a copy of "Dark Side of the Moon" is not alive,

    but if the entire collection of information that relates to "Dark Side of the Moon" is alive by this definition. If all copies of the recording were destroyed, and everyone who ever knew about the album were somehow made to forget about it, then the album would have "died", and was therefore previously alive.

    I don't think that this is a complete description of being alive, but it's an interesting idea nonetheless.
     
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  3. c20H25N3o Shiny Heart of a Shiny Child Registered Senior Member

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    If the robot can self replicate i.e. produce cells that divide by mitosis I will consider it to be alive. Well actually I will consider it a clone of living tissue cos it wouldnt be a robot at all.
     
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  5. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

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    So, if I make a lego robot and build another lego robot using the first one, the first one will be alive?
     
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  7. c20H25N3o Shiny Heart of a Shiny Child Registered Senior Member

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    If the robot can produce offspring which in turn can produce offspring which will develop to uniform height and stature (of its parent) and so on without intervention until the end of time or as is possible given 'normal' environmental conditions AND it has the attributes defined at the front of the thread i.e. it can respond in an emotional way then yep - i guess thats alive
     
  8. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

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    Do humans do that? I'm not sure about that uniform height and stature thing; most living things tend to change over time, quite drastically if the time frame is long enough.
     
  9. c20H25N3o Shiny Heart of a Shiny Child Registered Senior Member

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    I was just guarding against the robot which makes a smaller robot out of its own parts which in turn makes a smaller robot out of its own parts etc etc.

    But having said that .. its a pretty cool idea huh!

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  10. Mithadon Registered Senior Member

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    Plants don't have emotions, and yet they're alive

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    unless something can really "grow" and react to things without being told to, then it's alive
     
  11. c20H25N3o Shiny Heart of a Shiny Child Registered Senior Member

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    I could contest that BUT to do so would be a little silly as I only have personal evidence that the above statement isnt true

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    Peace

    c20
     
  12. eddymrsci Beware of the dark side Registered Senior Member

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    I think a better question would be "Can robots be considered self-conscious?" and the answer would be no, in my opinion.
    There are too many different definitions of life, and even more interpretations for them. To answer the question, the definition of being alive must be stated clearly.

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  13. Roman Banned Banned

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    Isn't the definition of a living organism is that not only is it 'sentient' or aware, but that it wishes to preserves itself and its offspring?
     
  14. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    BigBlueHead,
    If you want to get technical you add the specification that it has to have intelligence, I don't think I left that out, I think I took that was being defined within such a machine to begin with.

    This means a mear recording of an event or soundtrack/album doesn't warrant being called "alive" and therefore can not be called "dead".

    So I'm suggesting:
    A system has to have an "non-Backed up" altering perception of the universe around it, which in turn means the machine has to be intelligent (it can make decisions based on what it knows and sees).

    If the machine in question is turned off or destroyed "Dies" it's perception of the universe and intelligence is therefore lost it in essence no longer exists as a "being" and it's string of perceptions and interactions will never reoccur if it could be turned back on or re-assembled.

    Some people do add that self-replication is preportionary to life, afterall if something can replicate then it's overall outcome is extinction and therefore "death".

    In the instance of a robot, it could replicate how it was made, and breath the first breath of "life" into the replication by giving it the very same algorythms the system grew up from, however from that point the replicated system would have to view things with it's own perception and even take some things communicated from the parent system and work out it's own form of reasoning.
     
  15. Neildo Gone Registered Senior Member

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    Own form of reasoning and perception? Where do colony-type creatures that work in unison fit in such as ants and bees fall under? They're pretty much like robot drones yet are "alive". It's funny how many rules will be broken or bent to fit something in yet exclude another (in general).

    - N
     
  16. YadaYada subspace being Registered Senior Member

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    Colonies of robots could well be alive in every known sense, and even have capabilities we don't have, kind of like the Borg but less vulnerable, without any one robot being alive. The collective takes on its own identity.
     
  17. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

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    Neildo,
    Ants however do have commands given to them before they are turned into what ever they do within a colony, before they are grown they are maintained by the colony to grow into particular area's of the colony (soldier ant, drone, flying ant, queen etc)

    It's only those instructions that alter them to be any of them.

    Also the more simplistic the life form, the more simplistic it's view of the universe. For instance we are a complex organism that derives many complex understandings and feelings with our interaction with the universe.

    The less and less complex an organism is, the less understanding it takes from the universe and the more primitive essence of need exists like feeding and breeding.

    Do you think an ant looks to the stars and discusses the universe out there? An ant is more than likely not to be concerned, as what senses he has will be actively looking for what they sense like the scent trail of another ant. So the ant won't concern himself with anything outside of what it's life is.

    (I suppose you could say greater complexity of intelligence is what has come of us from desensitisation of our senses[smell and hearing].)
     
  18. visible Registered Member

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    So plants aren't alive? Bacteria isn't alive? Cats and dogs and zebras ect ect aren't alive? According to you then perhaps only humans are alive?
     
  19. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    This is a theme in many works by Philip Dick, notably "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", made into the movie Blade Runner. The question is what quality makes us living, and other things not? I tend to think as robots get more sophisticated, they will more and more resemble a living thing. I don't see anything so special about us, as DNA-based machines, that cannot be duplicated in a robot.
     
  20. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    It probably has to do with level of complexity. Perhaps there is a threshold point at which a complex system undergoes a sort of phase change, and becomes capable of intelligent thought. Scientists are now realizing that many animals are more capable of complex thought than we once assumed.
     
  21. Neildo Gone Registered Senior Member

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    How is that any different than programming the AI of a robot or the action of "learning" that humans go through? Everything you've said agrees with robots being considered "alive" such as the simple-minded views they may have. Unless that's your point??

    - N
     
  22. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    Once the day where transistors become behaviorally indistinguishable from neurons arrives, then robots will be considered alive.
     
  23. G71 AI Coder Registered Senior Member

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    See Q6.
     
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