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

Post by Jan Sand » June 18th, 2018, 3:51 am

The concept of a mechanical version of ethical considerations is, to say the least, quite amusing. Ethics is basically a system of considerations relating to the functions of human society and how they maybe constrained for maximum benefit tosociety's members. A machine probably has the potential to be fitted with the presumed constraints of a particular set of ethics but these systems vary considerably between cultures so the universal set of ethics has yet to be determined since no social order yet produced by humanity has been able to resolve the many contradictions between the many suppositions of propriety. Utopia is a fantasy of human suppositions yet to be satisfactorily formulated.

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

Post by Greta » June 18th, 2018, 4:01 am

Belindi wrote:
June 18th, 2018, 3:25 am
Mark1955 wrote:
June 17th, 2018, 4:50 am

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.
Yes, this is where my optimism comes in - that machines have the potential to be more reasonable and morally consistent than people. This calm utilitarianism may well work with society at large scales rather than having decisions influenced by buddies, ego and fixed, irrational ideologies. However, at the small scale, individuals are more like the little girl with the little curl or perhaps Forrest Gump's chocolates :)

They will be abused, but that process is already in train. Does it matter whether a decision comes from a machine or an inflexible company policy "programmed" by a committee or board?

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Belindi » June 18th, 2018, 5:54 am

Jan Sand wrote:
June 18th, 2018, 3:51 am
The concept of a mechanical version of ethical considerations is, to say the least, quite amusing. Ethics is basically a system of considerations relating to the functions of human society and how they maybe constrained for maximum benefit tosociety's members. A machine probably has the potential to be fitted with the presumed constraints of a particular set of ethics but these systems vary considerably between cultures so the universal set of ethics has yet to be determined since no social order yet produced by humanity has been able to resolve the many contradictions between the many suppositions of propriety. Utopia is a fantasy of human suppositions yet to be satisfactorily formulated.
The all-seeing, all-perceiving intelligent machine would learn about that aspect of its environment which is local traditions and local world views, and take those into consideration along with its knowledge of local weather systems and local terrain. Indeed the local and detailed is the best data for historians and other social sciences.

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

Post by Jan Sand » June 18th, 2018, 8:03 am

People who are members of society all their lives and who are grown up within society and trained to behave in a particular manner to conform to social practices obviously violate accepted ethics in tremendous numbers because of personal considerations as evidenced by many powerful and capable leaders in government and legal situations and financial organizations amongst many other institutions. In these areas machines cannot be designed in ethics better than humans who are deeply involved in human relationships since the standards are so vague and easily misinterpreted out of conflicting goals. It's most unlikely that humans can even perceive the basis for designing an ethical machine.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Jan Sand » June 18th, 2018, 12:22 pm

There is an excellent six part series by a Dr.Eagleman at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvPu2kYstcg which rationally investigates the operation of the human brain and the consciousness. Artificial intelligence barely enters the areas where the human brain performs its dynamics. It seems to me that viewing this presentation is required to anybody attempting to conceive of the nature of human and machine intelligence. It certainly does not answer all questions on the matter but it is an excellent introduction of how these problems must be faced.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Belindi » June 19th, 2018, 4:22 am

Jan Sand wrote:
People who are members of society all their lives and who are grown up within society and trained to behave in a particular manner to conform to social practices obviously violate accepted ethics in tremendous numbers because of personal considerations as evidenced by many powerful and capable leaders in government and legal situations and financial organizations amongst many other institutions.
On the other hand there are people who are trained to be as objective as possible for men to be. Who will win, the conformers to someone else's bias, or the objective observers? That fight is still being fought, Jan.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Jan Sand » June 19th, 2018, 4:45 am

In the Eagleman series I recommended in my last comment in section five of the series he examines the manner in which those sectors of humanity who profit by removing large sectors of the population from the category of humanity and thereby permitting them to be viciously mistreated and frequently massacred to the profit of power and financial gain, there is a zenith being reached wherein the functional integration of the necessary elements which permit life on the planet to exist will be totally destroyed.The mass death of many species including mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians and all sorts of marine life through global warming and wide distributions of poisonous chemicals is clear evidence that final junction of destructive forces is becoming inevitable. The totally insane human powers which now drive in human dynamics has not much longer to perform its final suicidal acts. At an advanced age, I really have stopped caring since my time left is short anyway. The incomplete possibilities of the small very bright and competent sector in humanity makes me wish it were not so but I cannot be optimistic in the face of the immense stupidities now in force.

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Mark1955
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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Mark1955 » June 19th, 2018, 9:34 am

Belindi wrote:
June 18th, 2018, 3:25 am
Mark1955 wrote:
June 17th, 2018, 4:50 am

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.
For the machines or the lower beings like us. After all the simplest way to a more ethical society would be to eliminate the unethical humans.
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 Jan Sand » June 19th, 2018, 10:12 am

And, of course, that elimination process would make the removers unethical, by many acceptable standards.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Belindi » June 19th, 2018, 12:24 pm

Mark1955 wrote:
After all the simplest way to a more ethical society would be to eliminate the unethical humans.
But the more ethical humans , who I claim are the same as the more reasoning humans, are not so sure of themselves that they'd be so Draconian.
If there were such as a wholly knowledgeable wholly reasoning machine it would closely resemble the old-fashioned omniscient God who could not blame any human for anything which that human did.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Belindi » June 19th, 2018, 12:27 pm

Jan Sand, you are right to be not optimistic. Your pessimism is your passport to the ethical people tribe.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Jan Sand » June 19th, 2018, 8:37 pm

There are universes of different ethics and i have a passport to but a few.

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

Post by Greta » June 20th, 2018, 1:16 am

Belindi wrote:
June 19th, 2018, 12:24 pm
Mark1955 wrote:
After all the simplest way to a more ethical society would be to eliminate the unethical humans.
But the more ethical humans , who I claim are the same as the more reasoning humans, are not so sure of themselves that they'd be so Draconian.
If there were such as a wholly knowledgeable wholly reasoning machine it would closely resemble the old-fashioned omniscient God who could not blame any human for anything which that human did.
Nature has its own version. People (and others) are not punished for being bad, rather they are punished for being weak, slow, soft, dumb, gentle, fearful or unlucky. Our ancestors were the strong, fast, smart, aggressive, brave and lucky.

As far as I can tell, our laws and social structures largely support nature's approach, but there have been many successes along the way in attempts to alleviate the harshness of it all.

As for a reasoning machine, plants and various other organisms - not to mention technology - suggest to us that intelligence without associated consciousness is common. So a reasoning machine need not be conscious to be highly effective.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Jan Sand » June 20th, 2018, 1:57 am

There is a tendency in this discussion to relegate the term "machine" to an artificial human construction but any energetic interaction of matter is, essentially, mechanical. I wonder what the concept of effective can mean in that concept since all causes have effects. The concept of being effective is, perhaps, tied closely to intent to achieve a goal and goals require some kind of intellect. Anything alive has the inherent goals of survival and reproduction and in that sense, intellect can be a matter of nervous dynamics or structural dynamics so that all living things require one or the other form of intelligence.In a larger sense, even mental intellect is structural.

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Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Belindi » June 20th, 2018, 4:16 am

Jan Sand wrote:
There is a tendency in this discussion to relegate the term "machine" to an artificial human construction but any energetic interaction of matter is, essentially, mechanical.
Yes, true. But humans evolved not only through the genetic channel but intrinsically they evolved through the culture channel, and to a significantly much greater extent than any other animal. Even before the advent of written recording of cultures there was oral skill and tradition, and pictures. Human cultures shaped genetic evolution. Genetic evolution has much machine- like logic but it's unlikely that anybody would call cultural evolution a 'machine'.

I am not claiming that all cultures are equally sustainable. It's true that societies led by power oriented cultures, such as the fascist , xenophobic , or Bolshevic are viable for a period. However natural disasters tend to improve the relative power of individual hewers of wood and drawers of water if only by means of attrition. Reason, which is man's especial forte, shows that moderate socialism is more viable than any culture which benefits mainly the governing elite.

After you and I are dead or hopelessly decrepit, Jan Sand, the fight will continue.

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