Transhumanism.

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by Jaster Mereel, Apr 25, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. baumgarten fuck the man Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,611
    From what I've read of quantum computers, they will not provide a major increase in performance of conventional computing operations. Nanotechnology will probably provide the last speed boost for electronic devices; afterwards, we will probably have to look to new technologies such as photonics.

    Agreed.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. eburacum45 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,297
    Penrose has a point; the processing that occurs in the human (and other animal) brains occurs at a very small scale, and quantum effects are almost certainly involved. This means (because of the no-cloning theorem) an exact copy of all the states of a human (or other animal) brain cannot be made. This is unlike an ordinary computer, which (in theory) could have its program and all its data reproduced an infinite number of times.

    This is important to the transhumanists (and remember I am not one myself, although I have contact with them through OA) because they want to upload themselves into computers and live forever; if quantum information is involved then they cannot be copied with perfect fidelity, and only an imperfect copy can ever be made.

    Wiki on the subject of imperfect copying and the No-Cloning Theorem
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_cloning_theorem#Imperfect_cloning

    So if these guys ever do manage to upload themeselves, at best it will be an imperfect copy which is produced.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2006
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,188
    Try WTA - World Transhumanist Association - and take it from there.

    http://transhumanism.org/index.php/th/

    Also try a very practical site that is moving steadily forward towards post humanism - www.imminst.org - see my avatar.

    Mind uploading may not occur as I suggested when I created this forum, but it seems like the route will be more gradual. Progressive neural implants as we learn how to connect technology to our brains until there is no biology left and we find ways for backup and restores of our resultant neural nets. This feels like the inevitable evolution of human kind. Either that or self aware AI simply achieves superintelligence and leaves us in the cold. If we are to survive and grow into the rest of the universe then we must convert to a far less fragile format and significantly grow our intelligence.

    And yes I am a transhumanist.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,188
  8. Jaster Mereel Hostis Humani Generis Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    649
    It's been pointed out in previous posts on this thread that serious work has gone into the very idea of uploading thoughts onto a computer, and I believe Roger Penrose has done some work on this. I'll quote eburacum45:
    I believe that is a convincing argument against the downloading of the mind onto a computer.

    ^ See previous point.

    Wow... I take major issue with this statement. How is that the inevitable evolution of human kind? This is something that always bugged me about transhumanists. They take the position that, somehow, man is at the "top" of the evolutionary "ladder" (even though evolution doesn't work in that fashion), and that there is nothing else for humanity to evolve into other than cyborgs or some other piece of technology. The point is, humans are not finished evolving, because there is no "end" to evolution, there is no goal. It's adaptation to a niche in the environment, and nothing else. It's not mankind's "destiny" to evolve into semi-divine, superhuman, immortal computers. That's certainly utopian, and not at all realistic because normal people would never be comfortable with becoming machines, and that's assuming that it's even possible, and it seems like it's not.

    ... We've already discussed this. It isn't at all a realistic view of machines for reasons mentioned, and I could always repeat the statements if you wish for it, although it simply would be easier for you to read the rest of this thread.
     
  9. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,188
    Jaster,

    Serious? LOL. Oh dear!

    And we won’t be able to reproduce that because……?

    Umm – don’t use an ordinary computer then.

    Nonsense – we have barely begun.

    Staying in a BIO form has overwhelming serious limitations that I certainly find unacceptable. You haven’t thought it through yet.

    They do? I was thinking the opposite.

    You appear to have overlooked the issue that up until now evolution has been undirected and slow. With our currently increasing knowledge we are beginning to change that largely slow and random process into a rapidly moving directed process. That generally means increasing use of bio-technology, genetics, and AI to push us faster towards areas undreamed of before.

    Clearly you have misunderstood me. I make no such assumptions.

    Destiny? Who cares? The merger of medical science, computing science, and other technologies, is happening. Brain augmentation is occurring. An increased pace seems inevitable.

    Then dump the emotive terms and see it in terms of increased capabilities and unlimited lifetimes. People have been seeking immortality since they could think, that’s why they have religious fantasies. Make it possible through technology and they will likely very quickly overcome their irrational perceptions.

    A very unfortunate defeatist attitude before we’ve hardly begun. It’s an engineering problem to be overcome.

    Then ditch your outdated and antiquated idea of machines. This is a merger of technologies and knowledge to produce something new and unique.

    Seen ‘em all before in many forms.
     
  10. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,188
    Baumgarten,

    While we need some increase in processor chip speed it is not important to go much further. Think parralleism. A neuron is like a tiny microprocessor that operates at 300Hz, but there are 200 billion of them operating in parrallel. Or about the equivalent of about 20,000 Intel pentium processors. If we can get the speed up so that we can interconnet say no more than 4000 chips then we will have human brain equivalent power at a reasonable size within about 4 years from now.
     
  11. Pete It's not rocket surgery Moderator

    Messages:
    10,166
    But is that a problem?

    When a person wakes up in the morning, we take it for granted that they're the same person that went to sleep in their body the previous night... but are they a perfect copy of the person of the previous night?

    Accepting Penrose's thesis, do you suppose that it may in principle be possible to upload yourself with no more necessary difference than the difference you experience between going to sleep at night and waking up in the morning?
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2006
  12. Pete It's not rocket surgery Moderator

    Messages:
    10,166
    Do we have the software to adequately simulate ten million neurons on a single processor PC?

    How many neurons in a cockroach brain?
     
  13. eburacum45 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,297
    In many ways I think not, Pete. If an imperfect copy were possible, then that would be better than nothing; it depends exactly how important quantum information is in the composition of the human mind. Penrose thinks it is very important, on what appears to be minimal evidence; many transhumanists think that mind uploading is possible, despite the no-cloning restriction.

    Myself I think it will probably happen anyway, whether the result is a perfect copy or not. And for the purposes of fiction, I am prepared to accept that some form of hi-res copying will become commonplace; here is a novel I have written based on that premise.
    http://www.orionsarm.com/stories/Betrayals.html

    In real life; who knows. Yet.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2006
  14. Jaster Mereel Hostis Humani Generis Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    649
    Yes. Serious theoreticaly work by a serious and well respected physicist who doesn't have a very narrow, clear philosophical agenda behind his work.

    Learn something about quantum mechanics.

    What kind of computer would you suggest I use? Some fantastical nanobot computer? Quantum computers perhaps? Or maybe photonic computers? Oh wait... that's all been researched before and it doesn't afford anything close to what you are looking for.

    And how do you suppose it will happen, exactly?

    Actually, I used to think in exactly the same way. I just realized how rediculous the idea is. If carbon-based, chemical life is so weak, inefficient, and downright primitive, then why is it the only form of life that we know of? If something else was better suited to living on this planet, it would have evolved by now on it's own.

    As evidenced by the previous point which I just address, transhumanists tend to speak as if human beings have evolved to the pinnacle of carbon-based, chemical life, and that there is nowhere else left to go except to merge with our tools.

    Blah! Evolution has been undirected and slow? Evolution has gone just where it has needed to and just as fast as it has needed to. I'm sorry that nature doesn't adapt organisms before they actually need to. You're certainly a harsh judge of the universe.

    No, what you are saying is that there is nowhere else for chemical biology to go, so we must merge with our tools.

    Oh really? Give me some good examples to work with here. I think that you (and other transhumanists) are making claims off of your hips about such developments. Of course medical science, computing science and other technologies are merging together. That's what happens when certain disciplines have been around for a long time. They begin to compliment each other because you can always find uses for one in the other. Brain agumentation? What are you talking about? Give me a single example of how a normal, healthy human being's brain "capacity" was augmented due to any of the technologies that you are talking about.

    You have a lot to learn about religion. You have reduced something so huge, complex, and philosophically deep into something simple, shallow, and meaningless. I'm not turning this into a religious debate, because I am not a religious person, but I do at least know that it's not even remotely close to that simple, and it certainly isn't irrational. None of the ideas that people have are arbitrary, triply so for ideas that have remained constant throughout human history. Irrational perceptions... bah.

    Defeatist? Are you kidding? You don't even know if these things are at all possible, and yet instead of trying to find out if they are, you have decided that they are because the idea is attractive to you. How,exactly, will it be overcome, if you don't mind?

    Outdated and antiquated idea of machines? What I described above is a machine. You're not talking about creating smart machines, you are talking about creating artificial life. Big difference. A machine is a tool to overcome the limitations of the human body, pure and simple. Nothing more, nothing less. It does not require that we become those same machines, because people have always disconnected themselves from their tools and I doubt that everyone on the Earth will want to "become one" with their tools.

    To be honest, as a philosophy that reaches toward a goal, I have no problem with transhumanism. I'm not going to try and prove your belief in an ideal wrong, because people don't believe in ideals because they believe in their truth as opposed to their falsehood. No, that's not the reason for my animosity towards transhumanism. It stems from the hubris of transhumanists in their belief that they can acurately predict the future based upon their technocratic ideals when they do not factor in numerous other historical factors, whereas technology is on the bottom of the list of importance when it comes to historical change. Of course it is important, I'm not disputing that. What I am saying is that many other factors have to line up in order to allow technology to change society in the way that you expect it to, and you are completely denying it. That's really what bugs me, because my primary interest is history and people's views on history, and the "Singularity" simply will not occur, and you would realize that if you actually took into account other factors that far supercede technological development. But no, your techno-centric mindset has convinced you that "technological advancement will overcome all obstacles to the Singularity, and everyone everywhere will see the wonderful gifts of technological progress which the modern age has afforded us and embrace the merger of man and machine wholeheartedly, ultimately freeing mankind from the bonds of his old, weak, small, limited self." All I ask is that you get off of your idealistic pedestal and take an honest, pragmatic look at this whole concept, and then fine-tune it to the real world, because right now it simple doesn't fit.
     
  15. baumgarten fuck the man Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,611
    A neuron is nothing like a microprocessor. A neuron is more like a switch than as complicated a mechanism as you suggest.

    The machinery to replicate the function of a neuron would not have to be very complicated, although it would have to be very small. Nanites are expensive, but you know what we have today that replicates the functionality of the neuron to a tee? A neuron.

    Incidentally, you don't seem to know much about parallel processing. Two processors operating in parallel do not offer an overall performance equivalent to one processor running at twice the clock speed. Again, though, this is irrelevant, as a neuron is not a synchronous microprocessor, or indeed even a microprocessor at all.
     
  16. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,089
    Anyone got any info on whether Penrose ahs actually tested his ideas about quantum stuff in our brains? Because that is the only point at whcih I will start taking his ideas seriously.
     
  17. Jaster Mereel Hostis Humani Generis Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    649
    Has anyone ever tested whether or not you can download a mind into a computer? Because that is the only point at which I will start taking the idea seriously.
     
  18. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,089
    Nope, nobody has tested it. Like many things, I understand it is theroetically possible, but whether or not we will ever be able to do it I cannot say.

    So you agree that Penroses ideas are likely junk?
     
  19. baumgarten fuck the man Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,611
    Do you really? Enlighten us. How, exactly, is that supposed to work? No more ambiguity. Present us with a hard, viable theory.

    Penrose at least goes through the trouble of presenting a well-developed and testable theory rooted in hard science. Its fundamental tenets are currently being tested. How about Kurzweil?
     
  20. eburacum45 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,297
    I understand that the first steps are being made toward modelling arthropod brains in an electronic medium; we have to crawl before we can walk, walk before we can run.
    Uploading human minds will not be possible for a few hundred years yet, at a guess (if it ever is possible).
    But it seems likely that very human-seeming AI will be possible in a decade or three.
     
  21. Jaster Mereel Hostis Humani Generis Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    649
    I really don't have any preconcieved notion of whether or not it is possible to download thoughts onto a computer somehow, and I don't really care to be honest. That's not been my argument against ideas like "the Singularity" and the type of civilization such an event is supposed to bring about. My objection to it is that it is not based at all on historical precedent, or even on real world experience with human psychology. There is nothing about the real world that would allow for such a historical event to occur except for perhaps this kind of technology, but that doesn't even fully hold up to our current understanding of the laws of physics. You really can't use the "we don't know everything" argument to debunk our current understanding, because that doesn't validate your position, it only further invalidates it by saying that you have decided that this is possible without any kind of root in the hard realities of the universe, and that you are not looking at the issue as a scientist but as a believer, and as such are holding to the idea on faith. While I think that is all well and good, you can have faith in whatever you wish, such notions have no place in serious discourse about the future of humanity. It simply will not happen, and any serious challenge to the idea based on real world information and a very rigorous review by yourself will show you that it will not happen, but you don't seem to be interested in that at all.

    As far as your claim about human-seeming AI, I agree. But the difference between our opinion is that you believe that human-seeming is equal to human, when I believe that we are talking about a simulation of behavior, not behavior itself.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2006
  22. eburacum45 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,297
    There have been a number of profound changes in the past history of the human species.
    The developent of agriculture;
    the development of towns and cities;
    the development of writing;
    the invention of the wheel
    the invention of iron weapons
    the development of steam power
    the development of mass transportation and personal automobiles
    the emergence of telecommunications and mass entertainment
    the development of computers and the internet

    All of these have changed society to a greater or lesser extent in ways that could not have been accurately predicted beforehand. Artificial intelligence, genetiic engineering and perhaps neurological engineering are likely to change history in ways we cannot yet predict. Perhaps they will only change things a little, say on a level comparable with the Internet; perhaps they will change things a lot. They could affect our lives as profoundly as the development of agriculture (before which we had been gather-hunters for a hundred thousand years).

    I don't really believe in the Singularity; things don't tend to change that fast. But I do think that vast amounts of very fast computing power, which may be either semi-autonomous or entirely so, will change our society and our future history profoundly.
     
  23. Jaster Mereel Hostis Humani Generis Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    649
    I agree that things change in ways that can barely, or not be, predicted. That's not what I am arguing with. Of course things will change, society will alter with the new conditions that people find themselves in. That is always how it has been, in fact the adaptability of human culture is what has ensured the survival of our species. What I am saying is that the most basic human behaviors and thoughts will not change because none of the things that you have mentioned changed those things. The details of the times will be quite different, yes, but the form of society will still follow certain basic patterns and people will still behave in basically the same manner in which they have always behaved.

    That those developments that you mentioned are important, of course I agree with you completely. The thing is, even though they caused life to change dramatically for most people (not everyone, mind you) they still didn't change the way that people interracted with one another as people. What they did was change the capability of the societies that developed them to alter and adapt to their environment in new and profound ways. That is what the future will bring; greater capabilities, not a new way for people to think and interract with one another.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page