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.
Belindi
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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Belindi » April 25th, 2018, 4:54 am

Jan Sand wrote:
April 25th, 2018, 12:47 am
After acquainting myself to all the hugely various histories of humanity the attempt to connect the concept of dignity to humanity through having any congruencies is far beyond my own abilities. There are many comments here and elsewhere proposing what should be done but none with any prospect of application.
I think that the Christian attempt to connect dignity to humanity is persuasive: one light can banish darkness. That is an analogy , however the fact is that despite man's disastrous history and ambience of evil (and pessimists are right) there have been sporadic events and actual persons of truth, justice, and ordinary human sympathy.

Jan Sand
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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Jan Sand » April 25th, 2018, 5:29 am

The formalities of religion are generally petrified over long stretches of time to deny that this universe is obviously a puzzle to be solved by minds with sufficient flexibility to recognize and utilize whatever regularities that can be discerned to sustain survival with whatever minimums that can be tolerated of disaster. But disaster is obviously more inventive than human ingenuity can overcome forever and even our defenses are frequently twisted to become new forms of destructive attacks. In this modern society where hugely powerful concepts such as all sorts of weaponry and violent manipulation of financial tools impose themselves on the possibilities of decent behavior and basic regard for our less powerful living creatures it seems that stumbling into total catastrophe becomes very easy, Even the best of us can make horrible errors and it is clear that the best of us are far from being in control.

Tamminen
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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Tamminen » April 25th, 2018, 8:13 am

Seems gloomy, but let's not forget this classic dialogue:
- Is life worth living?
- Depends on the liver.

Jan Sand
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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Jan Sand » April 25th, 2018, 8:52 am

Although many people have had lives of great variety the general goals of an individual in today's world is infused with personal financial wealth and a search for appreciation of success in some respected direction. No doubt great satisfaction can be gained with these objectives but, even as a child, I felt drawn in different directions. I do not feel either superior nor inferior out of this viewpoint, merely different. At a very young age I was aware that death could not be avoided and this gave me the sense of a limited adventure into awareness which only life can donate so my energies have been devoted to explore as many aspects of being alive as possible without threatening my existence irrationally and with as little aggression to all other living things as being alive permitted. This is not so much a goal as a dynamic and at an age beyond average it still seems a reasonable attitude. I do not judge myself with normally accepted standards and likewise I do not judge others by mine. I try to avoid conflict and this seems to work agreeably and like even standard successful people I encounter many failures and a few successes, but overall, I have found it reasonably satisfactory.

Erribert
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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Erribert » May 3rd, 2018, 3:46 am

No. Consciousness requires a real time interplay between the individual and the environment. Consciousness requires no barrier between, say, the brain and what is outside. In other words there is an intimate dynamic interplay between the individual and verything else (yes, even the gravity of Venus since that gravity stretches out forever). Nerve cells are changing dynamically every nanosecond from stimuli. Proteins are being shuffled around from input in such a way that the shuffling and the input cannot be distinguished. Do you know how fast proteins move around? Oxygen from every breath is being incorporated into the brain, changing consciousness as perceived by the brain. Food, carbon dioxide, iron, and all else is being shuttled around in response to a flash of light so quickly that one cannot distinguish between the flash and the changing of the cell. The moving parts in one cell are much more complicated than a computer. That is just one cell.

Computers are not part of the dynamically changing world. They are hardware. How many distinct components are there in a cell as compared to a computer? Imagine each atom of sodium as it crosses the membrane. There are a lot of moving atom. Can a computer incorporate an environmental component (say phosphate) like a cell can. No, a computer is isolated. Consciousness of an individual requires that he be his environment. There is no defining separation of a person from his environment. They are intimately tied together like the heart is with the rest of the body. Take the heart out, the body dies. Take the environment away from the body, consciousness dies.

The brain in no way behaves like a decision tree.

Cheers

Belindi
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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Belindi » May 3rd, 2018, 5:53 am

Jan Sand wrote:
April 25th, 2018, 5:29 am
The formalities of religion are generally petrified over long stretches of time to deny that this universe is obviously a puzzle to be solved by minds with sufficient flexibility to recognize and utilize whatever regularities that can be discerned to sustain survival with whatever minimums that can be tolerated of disaster. But disaster is obviously more inventive than human ingenuity can overcome forever and even our defenses are frequently twisted to become new forms of destructive attacks. In this modern society where hugely powerful concepts such as all sorts of weaponry and violent manipulation of financial tools impose themselves on the possibilities of decent behavior and basic regard for our less powerful living creatures it seems that stumbling into total catastrophe becomes very easy, Even the best of us can make horrible errors and it is clear that the best of us are far from being in control.
So it seems to me too, and I appreciate that religion generally is "petrified" . That "disaster is obviously more inventive than human ingenuity can overcome" is one of the basic premises of natural selection. Hegelian dialectic is a cultural equivalent of biological natural selection. I don't know whether or not Hegel said there would be an end to history, and I don't believe there ever will be an end to history as long as humans are humans. The termination of humanity does seem to be approaching fast; it's true there is weaponry of mass destruction and amoral financial tools. I think that the core of Humanism is not about being happy it's about how it's the human that makes the good happen, the more the better. Power over living and dying is not the only criterion of excellence.

Jan Sand
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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Jan Sand » May 3rd, 2018, 6:27 am

Current computers are indeed unresponsive to the environment but that limitation can and will be remedied and, to a limited extent already is, connected to the environment. The brain is only connected to the environment through its sensory system and that is not only limited but also highly selective so there is a reasonable comparative between the brain and a possible computer. There are other major differences that create large differences.

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