Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.

Post Number:#31  Postby anarchyisbliss » April 23rd, 2008, 10:35 am

No, it is one cell, it just has many parts, the link you gave even defines a neuron as one cell.
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Post Number:#32  Postby Samhains » April 23rd, 2008, 10:52 am

If you follow that along the diagram you come to this The Schwann Cell, A PART of the whole that you are claiming is one cell, when clearly there is ANOTHER CELL connected to the Soma, there are 5, which is connected to the Cell nucleus :

If you look at the Diagram again you will see that there are actually 5 cells, 5 schwann cells connected to the Cell nucleus. you will see 5 yellow cells, each one is an individual cell that forms a chain.
At one end the chain of 5 cells connect to the Soma, at the other end they connect to the Axon Terminal.

Schwann cells appear under a light microscope when immunostained with an anti-S-100 antibody

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwann_cell



Named after the German physiologist Theodor Schwann, Schwann cells (also referred to as neurolemmocytes) are a variety of glial cell that mainly provide myelin insulation to axons in the peripheral nervous system of jawed vertebrates.

Clearly I inhabit one body, but many parts it has.
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Post Number:#33  Postby anarchyisbliss » April 23rd, 2008, 7:11 pm

Samhains wrote:If you follow that along the diagram you come to this The Schwann Cell, A PART of the whole that you are claiming is one cell, when clearly there is ANOTHER CELL connected to the Soma, there are 5, which is connected to the Cell nucleus :

If you look at the Diagram again you will see that there are actually 5 cells, 5 schwann cells connected to the Cell nucleus. you will see 5 yellow cells, each one is an individual cell that forms a chain.
At one end the chain of 5 cells connect to the Soma, at the other end they connect to the Axon Terminal.

Schwann cells appear under a light microscope when immunostained with an anti-S-100 antibody

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwann_cell



Named after the German physiologist Theodor Schwann, Schwann cells (also referred to as neurolemmocytes) are a variety of glial cell that mainly provide myelin insulation to axons in the peripheral nervous system of jawed vertebrates.

Clearly I inhabit one body, but many parts it has.


It appears you are correct, but we have completely deviated from the original thread.... I guess this shows how efficient the human mind actually is....
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Post Number:#34  Postby Samhains » April 24th, 2008, 12:04 am

anarchyisbliss,
Your right we did stray from the path we where on LOL

Can I just say does a thought really exist?
If atoms are empty balls that pop in and out of existance, and the neron is just made of atoms..does the neron even exist? Cause the atoms that create them really dont, they are just a posibility serounded by a clowd of photon posibilitys...that both pop in and out of existance.

http://www.watch-movies.net/movies/what ... o_we_know/

Then the thought running through them has no atoms, it is just an electric charge running though the atoms that make up the neron..

and if they dont really exist, does thought, consiousness, reason, really exist?
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Post Number:#35  Postby anarchyisbliss » April 24th, 2008, 3:16 pm

Samhains wrote:anarchyisbliss,
Your right we did stray from the path we where on LOL

Can I just say does a thought really exist?
If atoms are empty balls that pop in and out of existance, and the neron is just made of atoms..does the neron even exist? Cause the atoms that create them really dont, they are just a posibility serounded by a clowd of photon posibilitys...that both pop in and out of existance.

http://www.watch-movies.net/movies/what ... o_we_know/

Then the thought running through them has no atoms, it is just an electric charge running though the atoms that make up the neron..

and if they dont really exist, does thought, consiousness, reason, really exist?


sometimes at least when the atoms do
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Post Number:#36  Postby Samhains » April 24th, 2008, 8:57 pm

anarchyisbliss,
I think then if sometimes the thought does exist, when the atom is as well so is the tangable thought..or something like that.

They say that God is in me or not at all, that I - we - are extentions of the divine source. If this be true then it looks that GOD too pops in and out of existance..tangable sometimes but not always, both in spiritual and physical form, yet not solidifyed in one.

Random thought*
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could computers have minds?

Post Number:#37  Postby rainchild » May 2nd, 2008, 9:42 pm

I am satisfied that, if civilization does not break down beforehand, people will manufacture artificial analogues to the human brain such that the standard methodological arguments for the existence of other minds will apply to them in the same way that they apply to human beings.

However, as others have pointed out, this is not the same as asking whether digital computers *as we know them* might one day become sophisticated enough to be not only intelligent, but conscious, and even ensouled.

So far, most of the evidence presented against this possibility on this thread is irrelevant to the question.

Some points to consider:

1. Whether or not a computer is created artificially by human beings has no relevance to whether it could be conscious. Some human genes have already been synthesized: no physical principle would prevent the eventual artificial creation of human chromosomes, which could become a baby through cloning and surrogate mothers.

2. Whether or not a computer is a tool has no relevance to whether it could be conscious. People have been used as tools for centuries. A rickshaw driver works as a motor and a front wheel drive. A cashier works as a dispenser or a vending machine. A flagger works as a traffic signal.

3. The very existence of God and the human soul is a matter of controversy. Notwithstanding fake mediums and the unending sophistries of religious apologists, there is no empirical evidence for the existence of any disembodied spirit.

What is more, even if we grant the existence of disembodied spirits, we would still have nothing but arbitrary and baseless religious proclamations to support the contention that God would never ensoul a sufficiently sophisticated computer.

4. Searle's Chinese Room experiment is deeply flawed because his system could not give convincing semblance of a competent speaker of Chinese. The competent use of language requires the use of world knowledge that Searle's system does not possess. Thus, his system would be incapable of handling deixis (the use of language whose correct interpretation requires the use of non-linguistic information) and open-ended questions. The idea that a system could simulate competent Chinese simply by mapping incoming symbols to outgoing symbols is quite naive.

Some would argue that this is precisely Searle's point. Since computers do nothing but generate symbols in response to incoming symbols, they can't really think.

However, Searle's point depends on the system's ability to simulate competent Chinese. If the system cannot do this without world knowledge, then we are left with the question of whether a computer could speak Chinese with sufficient world knowledge provided by sensory and motor interfaces with the real world. (In other words, Searle dismisses the 'robot argument' out of hand IMO.)

It may turn out that it's technically infeasable to create computer algorhytms that integrate world data with natural language processing. But Searle's a priori argument does not prove this.

Some would counter that Searle's system could pass the Turing Test, thereby proving that his system can successfully simulate the competent use of Chinese.

However, the Turing Test is quite worthless. The human tendency to personify computers (google "ELIZA computers") would yield too many false positives. The fact that machines might best express themselves in a characteristically non-human way (e.g. with syntax derived from formal logic) would yield too many false negatives.

Others have pointed out a deeper flaw, namely that any apparent parity between the computer's performance and a human control's performance in a Turing Test may be an artifact of a procedure that effectively disguises the human controls as machines--placing them at the other end of the teletype and allowing them to transmit only typed data.

Turing himself made only modest claims on behalf of his test: he said that if a computer performed well enough at tasks that we use our intelligence to perform, we would have to credit the machine with "some intelligence." "Some intelligence" is a far cry from fully human intellect.

What would be an adequate test of the success with which Searle's system could simulate Chinese? How about an oral examination by the Mandarin-speaking head of an Asian Languages department? I have no doubt that Searle's system would fail that exam.

5. As Stephen Pinker pointed out in his book, "How the Mind Works," consciousness, i.e. the evident fact of subjectivity, is a mystery. No one really knows how far down the phylogenetic scale it goes. No one knows if being disintegrated at one location and reassembled at another would preserve the continuity of awareness, or whether it would end one life and begin another life that was created with delusions of memory. Pinker that the mystery of consciousness may never be solved.

If we don't have a clue about what consciousness is, then what basis do we have for believing that computers could never have it--or that they could, for that matter?

6. This brings us back to a point I made earlier. Could computers that have sufficiently advanced processing and sufficiently rich sensory and motor
interfaces with the real world so that the same arguments that suggest that people have minds would also suggest that they have minds?

IMO, this is an ultimately empirical question that has not been answered yet.

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Re: could computers have minds?

Post Number:#38  Postby anarchyisbliss » May 3rd, 2008, 9:02 am

3. The very existence of God and the human soul is a matter of controversy. Notwithstanding fake mediums and the unending sophistries of religious apologists, there is no empirical evidence for the existence of any disembodied spirit.


That doesn't mean they aren't real. There is basically no proof for the existence of electrons and other quantized matter but you empiricists seem to hold onto to atomic theory like a lost puppy.

What is more, even if we grant the existence of disembodied spirits, we would still have nothing but arbitrary and baseless religious proclamations to support the contention that God would never ensoul a sufficiently sophisticated computer.


I don't think religion denies the fact that God could place a soul into a computer. In all of the religions that i have studied he is an omnipotent God so he can do anything he wants.
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Post Number:#39  Postby rainchild » May 4th, 2008, 3:14 am

I find it ironic that someone who communicates with me by computer would assert that there is no proof that electrons exist. The existence of atoms and electrons is not something that scientists cling to out of sentiment. Any good physicist could point out plenty of evidence in favor of their existence: if this were not the case, none of our electronic technologies would work.

There is a difference between knowing that X exists even though it can't be directly observed (as with electrons) and not knowing that X exists at all (as with disembodied spirits).

So far, the only evidence you've offered for the existence of disembodied spirits is your own intuition. And how do we know that your intuition yields reliable information? Because you say so.

I don't think religion denies the fact that God could place a soul into a computer. In all of the religions that i have studied he is an omnipotent God so he can do anything he wants.


You are right: the idea of an omnipotent God does not rule out computer ensoulment, but more than one person on this thread list has asserted that it does. Hence my words.

parting note:

Frankly, I hope to read more interesting posts from you in the future. Take a look at Nagel's essay "What is it like to be a bat?" and theistic philosophers like Swinburne. Also read "There is a God" by Anthony Flew, which has some information about Swinburne and some other thinkers, along with an account of why Flew switched from atheism to deism.

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Post Number:#40  Postby anarchyisbliss » May 4th, 2008, 12:09 pm

Thank you for your suggestions and advice.

There is a difference between knowing that X exists even though it can't be directly observed (as with electrons) and not knowing that X exists at all (as with disembodied spirits).


I know disembodied spirits exist through indirect observation and personal accounts. Probably even in the same methods ( although not the same context) as how physicists proof the existence of atoms. I think if people would open their minds and stop waiting for science to tell them when to jump they would see that there is more to this world than what we perceive through "evidence" and "facts". Not that I think science is bad, or wrong, or a waste, but there are some people who would eat rat poison if a scientist said it had antioxidants in it!

So far, the only evidence you've offered for the existence of disembodied spirits is your own intuition. And how do we know that your intuition yields reliable information? Because you say so.


Not just my intuition, but everyone's intuition is the most reliable source of information on this planet. We are programmed beings. Instincts tell us more about the outside world than our abstract thought does. Allowing that abstract thought led to a myriad of discoveries. Intuition has kept us alive and for that I think it is stronger than any other source of "evidence".
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Post Number:#41  Postby Abiathar » May 4th, 2008, 8:59 pm

Probably even in the same methods ( although not the same context) as how physicists proof the existence of atoms


Unfortunately, the Electron Microscope is called that, not only because it -uses- independant electrons (smaller than atoms) as its ability to 'view' something, they can also see individual atoms. So really, the proof is with our own eyes.

Not just my intuition, but everyone's intuition is the most reliable source of information on this planet. We are programmed beings. Instincts tell us more about the outside world than our abstract thought does. Allowing that abstract thought led to a myriad of discoveries. Intuition has kept us alive and for that I think it is stronger than any other source of "evidence".


Granted, but my intuition tells me that a meteor is going to fall from the sky in 6 seconds... ... ... Nope. Still here. Intuition is a grander way to think through a problem, to solve a riddle, to think morally and compassionately, however if the end was near it would have happened one of the various thousands of times that it has been predicted due to Intuition. Even in the book of revelations, it should have happened a couple of thousand years ago, being as it states that Before The Next Generation is Out.

The odds of spiritual beings are vastly low, as a Spiritual being, by nature, would have to be based upon, on some level, a personification of human nature. Otherwise, what you have is an alien entity, it does not matter what it names itself or what it does for/too humanity.

Either way, the spiritual connotations of this being are honestly the last things it could be, unless my belief system is correct (anthromorphic personificationism). Just because an entity cannot be seen in the human, visual, spectrum does not make it a spirit, nor does its ability to alter what we consider reality. It makes it an Alien, by definition, something that is not terrestial.

It is often easy to say "Evidence is meaningless" but have you ever had someone hit you with a baseball bat to prove it hurts? Try to decide that your intuition on the subject is more powerful than the all too valid evidence you have while feeling broken bones.
-------------------------

I just realized that I did not answer the thread's question. I believe that, if enough fundamental programming is entered into the machine, it could replicate life easily. The human mind, on average, processes 1 terrabyte of information per second. Our computer technology already is beginning to come close to this speed, and certain mainframe computers have the processing power and vastly surpasses it.

The concept of Morality and Spirituality, even in humans, is generally programmed into us as we age. If we program the same factors into a machine, and give it the ability to set its own priorities, then indeed we have created life whether it is a lifeform that we choose to accept due to the nature of its own decisions.

The setting of one's priorities would, inherently, be logically based due to the fact that intuitive thinking generally requires Glands that do not generally appear in machines. However glands, like the human mind, produce specific functions to specific stimuli. Granted, in certain individual cases (see Masochism), the functions misfire or fire in a different sequence, we can replicate the data that is fed to the mind via glands. As such, the machine would proxy life.

A proxy, by default, would not be the true thing, however this is the same line of thinking as cloning a human, and then considering the clone not to be alive, as it is basically a proxy.
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Post Number:#42  Postby anarchyisbliss » May 4th, 2008, 10:02 pm

Quote: Granted, but my intuition tells me that a meteor is going to fall from the sky in 6 seconds... ... ... Nope. Still here.

Is that your intuition or your condescending ego?
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Post Number:#43  Postby Abiathar » May 4th, 2008, 10:06 pm

I did not mean for that to be condescending, though the fact that you took it that way explains a bit. You appear to take most people's responces that way, but alas I will respond civilly as this is the second time you have made a personal attack against my character.

No, I was simply making a point that Intuition does not manifest itself on the three dimensional plane of existance that we all occupy. Hard, tangible objects, however, do, and we strive as we may to understand them using the only true tool that can be used to catagorize and label things... Logic. Intuition, inherently, cannot catagorize anything beyond the general, whereas Logic contains more room for the labeling of... everything.

That was all I was saying, I was simply attempting to be 'short and to the point'.
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Post Number:#44  Postby anarchyisbliss » May 4th, 2008, 10:14 pm

Abiathar wrote:I did not mean for that to be condescending, though the fact that you took it that way explains a bit. You appear to take most people's responces that way, but alas I will respond civilly as this is the second time you have made a personal attack against my character.

No, I was simply making a point that Intuition does not manifest itself on the three dimensional plane of existance that we all occupy. Hard, tangible objects, however, do, and we strive as we may to understand them using the only true tool that can be used to catagorize and label things... Logic. Intuition, inherently, cannot catagorize anything beyond the general, whereas Logic contains more room for the labeling of... everything.

That was all I was saying, I was simply attempting to be 'short and to the point'.


I am sorry I thought you were just making up the example about the meteor to prove me wrong. I assumed that you hadn't actually had a burst of intuition and you were just saying it so that when the meteors didn't fall I would look foolish. I often get attacked because my radical views represent a minority I guess Im just always on the defensive. I don't often get credit for what I think are good ideas or observations.
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Post Number:#45  Postby rainchild » May 5th, 2008, 12:11 am

I know disembodied spirits exist through indirect observation and personal accounts. Probably even in the same methods ( although not the same context) as how physicists prove the existence of atoms.


After more than a century of research, parapsychology (formerly known as 'psychical research') has failed to produce a single repeatable finding that suggests the existence of disembodied spirits. The scientific evidence just isn't there.

(Please read "Adventures of a Parapsychologist" by former parapsychologist Susan Blackmore.)

You've adduced nothing that would indicate that you've used the same methods as physicists to prove the existence of disembodied spirits, even in "a different context."

I think if people would open their minds and stop waiting for science to tell them when to jump they would see that there is more to this world than what we perceive through "evidence" and "facts". Not that I think science is bad, or wrong, or a waste, but there are some people who would eat rat poison if a scientist said it had antioxidants in it!


I'm afraid that your paragraph jumps from one issue to the next. "There are more things in heaven and earth than evidence and facts can reveal to us" is not the same as "People rely so much on science that they would slavishly take an obviously self-destructive course just because a scientist recommended it." You don't give any examples to support either claim.

Not just my intuition, but everyone's intuition is the most reliable source of information on this planet. We are programmed beings. Instincts tell us more about the outside world than our abstract thought does. Allowing that abstract thought led to a myriad of discoveries. Intuition has kept us alive and for that I think it is stronger than any other source of "evidence".


FIRST: Instinct is not the same as intuition. Instinct is information and/or imperatives that we do not have to learn. No one has to tell us that we want to survive. No one has to tell us to explore the world around us and be curious. Also note Stephen Pinker's reference to the "language instinct," i.e. the fact that human beings appear to be biologically programmed to learn language in a short time.

In everyday parlance, intuition is the ability to reach conclusions or discernments without using any conscious investigative methodology. I know that this is a negative description; I use it because I know of no clear and articulate positive concept that answers to the everyday use of the term "intuition."

SECOND, if intuition is more powerful than empirical methods, then why weren't the equations that describe the physical world known to shamans from prehistoric times, rather than recently revealed by the advancement of the sciences?

It was the sciences that replaced the myriad superstitions that covered the globe throughout most of human history. Scientific accounts of the material world have proven consistently superior to mythological & religious accounts of the material world.

THIRD, there is no global uniformity of belief when it comes to the nature and existence of disembodied spirits. The first version of the God of Abraham favored the Jewish folk. The second version was one, and and three. The third version favors Muslims, and like the first version, is most certainly not one and three!

Depending on who you talk to, the God of Abraham wants to marginalize Arabs, kill Jews, and make Evangelical Christianity the official religion of the USA. None of these religious intuitions are doing anything to insure that humanity survives.

Don't forget that there are many, many other ideas about disembodied spirits that lie outside the borders of the big three monotheisms, with all their countless sects. And for goodness' sake, don't imagine that unbelief fails to conform to anyone's intuition. It sure as heck conforms to mine!

In Sum:

If your posts are any indication, you need to defend your position much better than you have. First, specify what you mean by intuition. Second, specify which indirect observations that support belief in disembodied spirits, and how. Third, specify how intuition, as you define it, helps people survive.
Fourth, give us some instances in which intuition has proven more reliable than the sciences when it comes to reaching correct conclusions about the real world. Give us as many such examples as possible.

Until you do stuff like this, don't expect me to believe your claims. There is a difference between good reasons for YOU to believe in God, (e.g. I talked with him this morning) and good reasons for EVERYONE to believe in God. You've given us plenty of the former, but not even one of the latter.

As for the philosophical meaning of "intuition," this simply means the experience of something evident
(e.g. having a pain in one's foot). Take a look at Edmund Hussurl's "Ideas" and phenomenology in general if you want to read about people who think that intuition comes closer to certainty than anything else.

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