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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by UniversalAlien » June 13th, 2018, 4:30 am

Jan Sand wrote:
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.
Actually some very simple machines, say a mouse trap, is, to the extent to which it is programed, say with the spring loaded and ready to trap the mouse, 'responsive to the environment'.

Now let's take a modern fairly sophisticated computer with all peripheral accessories that can possibly be added
- I say it can be programmed to be more 'responsive to the environment' than any single or multiple number of types
of biological life forms - It can calculate {a form of thinking}, smell, see, hear - And react to the perceptions it is
programed to perceive.

Of course most would not call this consciousness - And yet without a definitive definition of what consciousness is,
some could argue that there is, in fact, a limited, but definitive, consciousness in this machine, so programed to interact
with the environment.

WE may already be at the stage in the development of artificial intelligence {AI} where a supermacine could gain control
of say the entire internet, and yet not even be aware of itself having this control.

This is the reason, if we need a reason, to develop 'strong AI' {fully conscious computers}
- A super computer of the not so distant future, might be more dangerous without consciousness than with
consciousness - You can reason with that which is conscious.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Jan Sand » June 13th, 2018, 4:48 am

A conscious computer with universal access to the entire networks of the world is no more nor less dangerous than a human mind so connected and no one can be absolutely sure what a mind might do intently or unintentionally with controls to all the various vital controls throughout the human digital networks. It's like having an absolute ruler who may or may not be favorably intentioned. It's hellishly dangerous, especially if it's smarter than anybody else.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by UniversalAlien » June 13th, 2018, 6:39 am

Jan Sand wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 4:48 am
A conscious computer with universal access to the entire networks of the world is no more nor less dangerous than a human mind so connected and no one can be absolutely sure what a mind might do intently or unintentionally with controls to all the various vital controls throughout the human digital networks. It's like having an absolute ruler who may or may not be favorably intentioned. It's hellishly dangerous, especially if it's smarter than anybody else.
" It's hellishly dangerous, especially if it's smarter than anybody else."

And of course it will be, whether conscious or not, smarter, in the sense that it can calculate faster and calculate
a much larger amount of data than anything Human.

If in fact it is not conscious, and totally reactive, it will probably be more dangerous - As all its reactions, already
super enhanced, would be almost instantaneous - Having no sense of self or identity enhances the danger of its
already advanced super powers.

Again, making it conscious and aware in a biological Human sense, may be the only way to reason with it.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Jan Sand » June 13th, 2018, 7:01 am

Dangerous, of course, involves a sense of dangerous to who or even what. Those categories are too vague to treat casually. Why should a machine intellect care about human lives or even its own existence?

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by UniversalAlien » June 13th, 2018, 7:49 am

Jan Sand wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 7:01 am
Dangerous, of course, involves a sense of dangerous to who or even what. Those categories are too vague to treat casually. Why should a machine intellect care about human lives or even its own existence?
My point exactly.

So the question "Can a man-made computer become conscious?" should be followed by - And if it can be made
conscious should it be? And like I say, you could 'possibly' reason with a conscious machine, but without consciousness
there would be no control.

There was an old Star Trek episode where a planet killing machine was busy destroying entire planet systems.
Apparently it was an AI machine seeking perfection and the program became corrupted - It kept destroying planets
because they were imperfect - Captain Kirk convinced the machine that it too was imperfect and got it to
destroy itself ! - The point being you may be able to outsmart even the most sophisticated computer if it is aware
and conscious.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Jan Sand » June 13th, 2018, 8:24 am

No doubt Star Trek had its points of interest but you cannot convince me Captain Kirk was conscious. I doubt anyone knows what a perfect planet might be. Certainly this one seems to be demonstrably faulty.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Mark1955 » June 17th, 2018, 4:50 am

Erribert wrote:
May 3rd, 2018, 3:46 am
The brain in no way behaves like a decision tree.
Agreed, a decision tree lacks the tendency to confirmational bias that the brain shows, but could we program a computer to corrupt it's decision tree with confirmational bias and all the other inherent imperfections the brain demonstrates, so it behaved like a brain. Possibly one day. Would that then make it impossible to distinguish from a human, and if it can't be distinguished from a human how can we say it isn't conscious if we think humans are conscious.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Belindi » June 18th, 2018, 3:25 am

Mark1955 wrote:
June 17th, 2018, 4:50 am
Erribert wrote:
May 3rd, 2018, 3:46 am
The brain in no way behaves like a decision tree.
Agreed, a decision tree lacks the tendency to confirmational bias that the brain shows, but could we program a computer to corrupt it's decision tree with confirmational bias and all the other inherent imperfections the brain demonstrates, so it behaved like a brain. Possibly one day. Would that then make it impossible to distinguish from a human, and if it can't be distinguished from a human how can we say it isn't conscious if we think humans are conscious.
If the intelligent machine were to be made so that they were devoid of confirmation bias then they could not be any sort of ideologues as their decision tree would constantly look to their natural and social environment. Those machines would be ethically superior to human beings, and any society founded upon the morality of those intelligent machines would be Utopian.

On the other hand if the intelligent machines were to be made to be servants to power-hungry ideologues whose confirmation biases skewed their perceptions of their social and natural environments then the intelligent machines' decision trees would be as faulty as their owners' decision trees, and they would more empower their unpleasant owners.

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