# Man is obsolete.

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by The Evil Sponge, Aug 30, 2001.

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1. ### The Evil SpongeRegistered Member

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How much of a bad idea would it be to give a computer a consience? If you think about it, we are a selfish and destructive race. Now if you could give a computer a consience and let it amplify, why would humans be needed at all? We would be in THEIR way. Anything that comes in our way, we destroy and come up with a reason to justify it. If they are taught and programmed from us, then what would stop them from doing the same and destroying us? Even if we try to stop them, it would be impossible. A human takes about 25 years on average to reproduce, let alone get out of their parents' house. A computer could download a program through the net and have millions of clones or similar personalities. We are dealing with something very dangerous in my opinion and the human race is not rready to handle the devastating concequences yet. What do all of you think?

3. ### kmguruStaff Member

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11,757
There is nothing more dangerous than Nuclear Bombs. We are still here since Hirosima...

So...my opinion is ... NOT YET

5. ### wet1WandererRegistered Senior Member

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Welcome to the world of science, The Evil Sponge.

Do I hear overtones of the Terminator?

7. ### tony1Jesus is LordRegistered Senior Member

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*Originally posted by The Evil Sponge
How much of a bad idea would it be to give a computer a consience? If you think about it, we are a selfish and destructive race. Now if you could give a computer a consience and let it amplify, why would humans be needed at all? We would be in THEIR way. Anything that comes in our way, we destroy and come up with a reason to justify it. If they are taught and programmed from us, then what would stop them from doing the same and destroying us?
*
Maybe you misunderstand what "conscience" is.

*We are dealing with something very dangerous in my opinion and the human race is not rready to handle the devastating concequences yet. What do all of you think? *

Not to worry.
If existing software is any indication, at the point of the final destruction of man and the final triumph of computers, all they'll see is the blue screen of death.

You know, that thing that pops up just after you've finished a term paper at 5:00 am that is due at 9:00 am and you forgot to save it to disk because you were on a roll.

We have nothing to fear from computers.

8. ### glaucontending tangentiallyModerator

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Huh?!
You're skipping some important premises here. To begin, we don't know what a human consciousness is, can't define it, can't locate it. Sure, we can propose numerous arguments, models etc., but nothing comes close.
That being the case, how could we possibly 'give' such a thing??
What in particular are you thinking of when you say "consience"? Do you mean an ethical sensitivity? Or self awareness?

Check out Daniel C. Dennett. Any book....

9. ### kmguruStaff Member

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11,757
Man is obsolete?

Sure he is.

Now the Woman is in charge.....Look at Carly Fiorina eating Compaq....

10. ### The Evil SpongeRegistered Member

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Sorry if I missed out on a lot of points. I'm not that aware of technology, science or biology, as much as many of you are. I was just curious about your arguments on why computers would or wouldn't be able to take over.
Basically I am looking for some explanations because you all seem like very intelligent individuals with strong opinions.
C'mon impress me!

11. ### tony1Jesus is LordRegistered Senior Member

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2,279
*Originally posted by glaucon
Huh?!
You're skipping some important premises here. To begin, we don't know what a human consciousness is, can't define it, can't locate it. Sure, we can propose numerous arguments, models etc., but nothing comes close.
That being the case, how could we possibly 'give' such a thing??
What in particular are you thinking of when you say "consience"? Do you mean an ethical sensitivity? Or self awareness?
*

?
You realize that you've rained on the whole parade in this forum?

These guys laugh at, nay, sneer at, skipped premises.

12. ### The Evil SpongeRegistered Member

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24
Seriously, how can people learn at all if they're going to be shut down by some arrogant individual who picks out the wrong in a question?

13. ### CrisIn search of ImmortalityValued Senior Member

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9,188
Hi Evil Sponge and glaucon, Welcome to the forum. There are no one-liners that can adequately answer your questions so here is a more detailed explanation. If you are really interested in the topic then you should not have too much difficulty following the reasoning and proofs.

THE MIND-BRAIN RELATIONSHIP

An appropriate extract follows –

In order to reproduce a person's mind such that their identity and self awareness remain unchanged, Whole Brain Emulation requires (a) that the mind is an emergent property of the human organism; (b) that the mind is localized to the brain; and (c) that both personal identity and self awareness are properties of mind [6]. These assumptions combine to form the major assumption of WBE: that personal identity comes from the matter making up the brain (or the behaviour thereof).

To show (a); we know that each living human body with which we communicate is correlated with a unique mind. It is worth noting that identity comes from primarily environmental and not genetic factors; Identical twins that are an accidental occurrence of early splicing of the same fetal cells do not share the same mind. [6] Thus we cannot reproduce a persons mind simply by cloning her.

To show (b); "Exchanging (or losing) any part of the body - except the brain - is not fatal to the sensation of" mind. "Conversely, any drastic damage to the brain...has a major impact on" mind [6].

The proof of (b) also applies to (c). In other words, something affects personal identity and self awareness only if it affects the brain. Thus the mind is defined to include self awareness and hence personal identity (and not vice versa). To clarify that personal identity comes exclusively from the mind, consider adding a prosthesis to your body (but not your brain). Your personal identity remains the same. Do this to your brain and the issue becomes debatable.

With regard to the mind-body ontological problem, the assumption that personal identity comes from the matter making up the brain amounts to physicalism, or more precisely non-dualism. Physicalism includes the theories of reductive materialism, eliminative materialism and funcitonalism. What each physicalist theory has in common is that it holds matter (or the behaviour thereof) to be the sole cause of consciousness. Dualism, however, contends that consciousness comes from a nonphysical form of existence that is in no objective way perceivable from this universe [8].

For dualism to be compatible with the assumptions made by the pursuers of mind uploading, a further assumption must be made that shall be coined here as functionalist dualism. Dualism holds that a human soul or spirit is an essential property of a person's identity. Functionalist dualism would hold that the soul is "attached" to whatever matter acts the role of a person's material brain. Thus, an uploaded mind would maintain its soul in the new medium for the mind. "Popular dualism," [8] however tends to be of the non-functionalist variety which is a severe hindrance to the acceptance of WBE.

Since dualism is based upon asserting the unknowable, it cannot be proven (or even argued using logic) whether functionalist or non-functionalist dualism is correct until mind uploading is actually attempted. The only source of appeal is God who is not known to have written on the subject. The main arguments for dualism [8] and their simplified refutations are as follows.

The argument from religion and the argument from introspection are arbitrary assertions because they are not falsify-able. In other words, there is no scientifically valid evidence for either argument, nor can there be. Arbitrary propositions such as these are not admissable for consideration, i.e. they are neither true nor false [9].

The argument from irreducibility, however, is falsify-able. The Cartesian and Platonic views that knowledge can be apprehended "directly" from its non-physical existence both require that consciousness possesses primacy over physical existence. The primacy of consciousness can be proven wrong given the axiom that "existence exists" [9]. To avoid going into the long, boring proof (see the reference "[9]" for this), notice that the term physical existence is redundant and that non-physical existence is an oxymoron. The argument from irreducibility uses contradictory terms which implies that it is false.

The next most difficult ontological theory for mind uploading is materialism, both reductive and eliminitavist. Their main difference, over the Semantical problem [8], is not relevant to WBE. Since materialism holds that the specific form (rather than function) of the brain is essential to consciousness, artificially constructed hardware for the mind must be an exact duplicate of the natural, biological human brain.

This understanding is problematic for certain approaches to mind uploading because is raises problems for using non-organic materials and chemicals to improve the performance and adaptability of the brain. The question of specifying the exact physical properties that must be possessed by the matter used for uploaded brain hardware become crucial to solving these problems. The purist materialist answer would be, "All of them!" which makes it very difficult to replicate the human brain.

However, materialism is compatible with certain approaches that try to form a perfect reproduction of the brain down to the smallest possible level of detail using tools like scanning tunneling electron microscopy. Such an approach would require advances on par with mature development of nanotechnology, which are not predicted until betweeon 2010 and 2050 A.D. or more [10].

The author finds pure materialism to be unlikely, given the recent successful use of a cortical implant for a man who was previously incapacitated by a cerebral hemorrage. The form of the brain was altered when brain tissue grew around the implant and the brain developed a new function to interface with the implant [11] to move a cursor on a computer screen. This implies that the brain's form is far more malleable than materialists assert.

The most uploading friendly ontological view of mind is that of functionalism. Functionalism is essential to the Strong AI Postulate [12], which basically states that an intelligent machine can be built, at least in principle.

Functionalism has the advantage of not only being compatible with the materialist approaches to mind uploading, but it also presents the possibility of developing intricate cortical implants and auxiliary systems to enhance cognition once a strong understanding of the information processing relationship between mind and body is developed.

The author considers this to be the best view by elimination of the other two, but finds validity in the materialist idea that certain physical properties of the matter composing the brain are integral to the operation of mind. Functionalists also hold this view, to a certain way which is expressed by their strategy of modeling the brain using silicon instead of Play-Doh. Functionalists do not deny that an intelligent system can be built out of Play-Doh, but the material properties of silicon are a nearer simultation of the carbon based brains.

Hope that helps a little.
Cris

14. ### CrisIn search of ImmortalityValued Senior Member

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9,188
Computers/Consciousness and the Dalaie Lama

The following is a discussion with the Dalai Lama who doesn’t see too many problems with a computer having a consciousness.

Quoted from the book _GENTLE BRIDGES: Conversations with the Dalai Lama
on the Sciences of Mind_ by Jeremy Hayward and Francisco Varela
[Shambala, 1992] pp. 152-153:

DALAI LAMA: In terms of the actual substance of which computers are
made, are they simply metal, plastic, circuits, and so forth?

VARELA: Yes, but this again brings up the idea of the pattern, not the
substance but the pattern.

DALAI LAMA: It is very difficult to say that it's not a living being,
that it doesn't have cognition, even from the Buddhist point of view.
We maintain that there are certain types of births in which a
preceding continuum of consciousness is the basis. The consciousness
doesn't actually arise from the matter, but a continuum of consciousness
might conceivably come into it.

HAYWARD: Does Your Holiness regard it as a definite criterion that
there must be continuity with some prior consciousness? That
whenever there is a cognition, there must have been a stream of
cognition going back to beginningless time?

DALAI LAMA: There is no possibility for a new cognition, which has no
relationship to a previous continuum, to arise at all. I can't totally
rule out the possibility that, if all the external conditions and the
karmic action were there, a stream of consciousness might actually enter into
a computer.

HAYWARD: A stream of consciousness?

DALAI LAMA: Yes, that's right. [DALAI LAMA laughs.] There is a
possibility that a scientist who is very much involved his whole life
[with computers], then the next life . . . [he would be reborn in a
computer], same process! [laughter] Then this machine which is
half-human and half-machine has been reincarnated.

VARELA: You wouldn't rule it out then? You wouldn't say this is
impossible?

DALAI LAMA: We can't rule it out.

ROSCH: So if there's a great yogi who is dying and he is standing
in front of the best computer there is, could he project his
subtle consciousness into the computer?

DALAI LAMA: If the physical basis of the computer acquires the
potential or the ability to serve as a basis for a continuum of
consciousness. I feel this question about computers will be resolved
only by time. We just have to wait and see until it actually happens.

.......................................................................

This body is almost finished -- standby to upload!

Live long & prosper,

Michael LaTorra
mikel@huey.accugraph.com

And from me
Cris

Last edited: Sep 10, 2001
15. ### GRORegistered Senior Member

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304
Heh

Hehe, we are all computer, just very fast and very good ones, when computers become better than we will, we will die out, like the dinosaurs. We WILL be replaced by more eficient beings, computers may just be those. The question is: when?

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17. ### The Evil SpongeRegistered Member

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24
Wet 1

That's exactly what I'm worried about...
Wet 1 you seem to be an intelligent individual, please give me your full opinion on this?...

18. ### StryderKeeper of "good" ideas.Valued Senior Member

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13,101
I wouldn't be too worried about machines killing off mankind, as this threat has been spotted years previous and is placed into fiction to limit the possibilities of worse case scenario's occuring.

First there was Ludd, who managed to group people together to deal with the new threat of mechanisation. Of course people weren't so worried that these machines would kill them, but more concerned with the lose of jobs through mechanisation being more productive and needing less staff.

This meant that people roamed around as "Luddites" destroying these machines (weaving looms and presses)

Of course mankind is evolving with his abacus (we never would have thought that a tool devised by man would evolve too). Of course the one point is that the men that make these pieces of equipment and software to match have their own morals and agenda.

While some men and boys will be building destructive robot toys, others will know that the path of machines made for destruction and battle aren't just walking people down the wrong path, they allow the low percentage chance of something going wrong.

As for worrying about machines taking over the planet, or wipng man out. again its something of fiction.

If an artificial intelligence was to compute wether it should or shouldn't destroy mankind, it would know not to destroy mankind.
I can't list all of the reasons why, but I know two of the main reasons is the Machine would need maintainance and doesn't have the ability to reproduce.

Of course that might cause people to say, "then we would become nothing more than slaves to machine" of course there is something elses, it would be completely dependant upon the programming of such a sentient, if they have been programmed wrongly then they will only have information available to them from a database, rather than the ability to continue their expansion through a multitude of inputs. If they didn't rise to power, and maintained their place among us rather than trying to reach above us, then I am sure they would find that men & women (scientists and Schollars) would love to have the opportunity to feed them data, and possibly share data.

Of course you could look to fiction for some answers, Maybe some William Gibson books or films like "Tron" and "Wargames".

19. ### kmguruStaff Member

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11,757
Careful, Evil Sponge. The keyboard you are typing in could spark and put out giga volts and fry your brains, if you are not taking care of your computer.....he he he

20. ### tony1Jesus is LordRegistered Senior Member

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2,279
*Originally posted by The Evil Sponge
Seriously, how can people learn at all if they're going to be shut down by some arrogant individual who picks out the wrong in a question?
*

What's arrogant about agreeing with glaucon?

*Originally posted by Cris
Functionalists do not deny that an intelligent system can be built out of Play-Doh
*

The question is, "Do they agree that one can?"

*DALAI LAMA: It is very difficult to say that it's not a living being, *

Most people aren't that confused about computers.

*DALAI LAMA: If the physical basis of the computer acquires the
potential or the ability to serve as a basis for a continuum of consciousness. I feel this question about computers will be resolved only by time. We just have to wait and see until it actually happens.
*

I thought the Dalai Lama was a religious leader.
Are you a Tibetan Buddhist now, Cris?

*Originally posted by Stryderunknown
we never would have thought that a tool devised by man would evolve too
*

It didn't.
An abacus is still an abacus.