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
Moderator
Posts: 3305
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Belindi » September 23rd, 2020, 8:26 am

UniversalAlien wrote:
September 22nd, 2020, 6:32 pm
Belindi wrote:
"......... I imagine artificial devices cannot be stroppy and self opinionated."

The way "I see it" its the concept "I imagine" that is most important
- Can our hypothetical AI actually imagine ? - Not calculate possibilities, though that may be involved,
but actually show "creative imagination" - This may be a better determination of sentience and a machine
with a living brain. A super calculating machine is just that, but is not conscious.

A machine with a creative imagination shows consciousness.
Yes, creating imagination is fanciful and does not insist on logic at every step of the way. Creative imagination can give a theory the benefit of the doubt("negative capability" Keats)if the theory suits the temporary situation as in situation ethics. The world can seem a kinder place when you are looking at a wild cherry tree in the springtime.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10. ... ode=upaq20

User avatar
UniversalAlien
Posts: 1238
Joined: March 20th, 2012, 9:37 pm
Contact:

Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by UniversalAlien » October 14th, 2020, 5:59 am

A corollary question worth asking is 'IF' a man-made computer or computers are already conscious would you be aware of it :?:

The computer could manifest itself in stealth mode - Never directly making its presence known.

We have to assume it has access to the internet, the world wide web, and actions it takes may appear to be natural occurrences not driven by an external intelligence - And yet this super brain may be slowly taking control of Human civilization.

Then two extreme case scenarios must be considered.

1. Now having full control of all earth, it may also have an agenda - Man may be unnecessary to further its
goals and it may decide to get rid of Humanity, by say, launching a stealth virus such as Covid 19 which it actually created in the lab and made it to be more resilient and would eventually mutate and wipe the Earth of Humans.

2. Because it considers Humans to be basically dumb - It might, without the vast majority of Earth's inhabitants being aware of it, enslave the entire Human species to its will - This is the more likely scenario as you could easily see how Human dexterity, especially the hand, makes Humans an excellent machine for repairs, etc.

Either of these scenarios could be going on right now - And unless you were looking for it you would notice nothing - The machine might be clever at hiding its presence - So clever, in fact, that even if you were looking for it you still might not be able prove its happeing.

User avatar
Present awareness
Posts: 1383
Joined: February 3rd, 2014, 7:02 pm

Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Present awareness » October 17th, 2020, 9:40 pm

If one thinks of consciousness as a form of self awareness, then computers will not become conscious. Computers do not think, rather they are machines which follow programs faithfully, crunching ones and zeros, so that if you multiply any given number on a calculator, the answer is always correct!
The implied intelligence of a computer rests on the intelligence of the program. All a computer is, when it comes down to it, is a glorified switch. Like a light switch in my living room, it is either on or off, a one or a zero. By turning on a certain configuration of pixels, a computer creates an image, according to it’s program, which humans may interpret and that’s it.
Will my light switch become conscious? Will it KNOW when it is on or off? I think not.
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 9521
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Greta » October 17th, 2020, 11:56 pm

Hi PA. Michio Kaku attributes thermostats with one unit of consciousness. That is, they sense one thing. I suppose the light switch equivalent of a thermostat would be a photodiode or light sensitive resistor. His hypothesis follows on from there to ever more complexly sensing entities. Here, Kaku sees consciousness as sensing.

One might imagine a scenario where someone's senses are gone but they remain conscious. But I wonder how conscious such a person would be without memories from a lifetime of prior sensing?

User avatar
Felix
Posts: 3117
Joined: February 9th, 2009, 5:45 am

Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Felix » October 18th, 2020, 2:50 am

"Kaku sees consciousness as sensing."

One would a scientist to say that, but there can be non/extra sensory perception, in fact in pure awareness nothing (no thing) is perceived.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

User avatar
Felix
Posts: 3117
Joined: February 9th, 2009, 5:45 am

Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Felix » October 18th, 2020, 2:52 am

That is: One would expect a scientist to say that....
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

User avatar
Felix
Posts: 3117
Joined: February 9th, 2009, 5:45 am

Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Felix » October 18th, 2020, 3:06 am

Belindi: "I guess the language of ants has exactly the same pronoun for we and I."

Among workers ants, it's we or not we, the "not we" being a member of another ant colony that speaks a different chemical messenger language, or that has a different syntax structure. The only "I" they recognize is her majesty the queen, she smells simply divine.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

User avatar
Present awareness
Posts: 1383
Joined: February 3rd, 2014, 7:02 pm

Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Present awareness » October 18th, 2020, 8:04 am

Hi Greta, a thermostat is also a simple switch, turning on or off a furnace by the expansion or contraction of a metal strip. The furnace comes on, the room heats up, the metal strip (or liquid metal like mercury) expands and shuts it off. As the room cools down the metal strip contracts and turns the furnace back on. Does the metal strip sense this heat or cold which makes it expand or contract? Does a light switch sense the electricity passing through it when turned on?


There are many types of switch’s, but they are no different then what a computer does, switching pixel’s on or off. So far I’ve been talking about mechanical switch’s but what about biological chemical or electrical nerve switch’s in conscious life forms? How does consciousness arise out of sensing and can there be consciousness without sensing? Even in deep dreamless sleep, the body is sensing sound levels and will wake you up if an alarm goes off. However, without a feedback loop of sensing, what would there be left for consciousness to be conscious of?
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 9521
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by Greta » October 18th, 2020, 5:03 pm

Present awareness wrote:
October 18th, 2020, 8:04 am
... what about biological chemical or electrical nerve switch’s in conscious life forms? How does consciousness arise out of sensing and can there be consciousness without sensing? Even in deep dreamless sleep, the body is sensing sound levels and will wake you up if an alarm goes off. However, without a feedback loop of sensing, what would there be left for consciousness to be conscious of?
I think that consciousness as we know it is built by sensory experiences, both the experiences of forebears expressed in genetics, and experiences from the womb onwards. Each sensing is a chemical or EM reaction. At present I lean towards IIT, that sensing becomes internal awareness once extremely integrated patterns achieve a certain level of complexity.

But what patterns? What are the patterns in matter and energy that generate life and consciousness, and do those words ultimately refer to the same phenomena?

In my tragic attempts to write sci fi, my thought experiments about total sensory deprivation made clear that the mind, in the absence of new stimuli, reprocesses old material - just like Hollywood directors suffering from "total creativity deprivation". After a while, a person without stimuli would be rehashing their prior rehashings.

They would ultimately only remember their rememberings, not the actual experiences. Then the memories of the memories of the memories. One's entire mentality would become increasingly meta, essentially spiralling down like a whirlpool of information into chaos, and the system breaks down. Without stimuli, the mind effectively eats itself in much the same way as the stomach eats itself without food, with the bacteria that breaks down food looking for something else to eat, so it starts with the stomach lining.

An analogy is how meta content in the media tends to initially promote a given subject, but it reaches a point where new material is needed to avoid this "death spiral". For example, historical events in European aristocracies inspired GRR Martin's A Storm of Swords. Then a simpler version of the stories appeared as the TV series, Game of Thrones. Then came film critic reviews and analysis videos of GoT. Then came the rebuttals of those reviews. Then came public comments on those replies. Then replies to those replies. In other words, concepts tend to spiral into chaos without the introduction of new material. (Moral of this story is to stay in touch with nature to avoid spiralling down what I think of as the "meta plughole").

User avatar
UniversalAlien
Posts: 1238
Joined: March 20th, 2012, 9:37 pm
Contact:

Re: Can a man-made computer become conscious?

Post by UniversalAlien » October 19th, 2020, 6:21 am

Can computers think?

{Conclusion}

........"n short, although some disagree, the consensus of scientists who have studied mind and consciousness is that there does not appear to be anything fundamental in human intelligence that cannot one day be exhibited in machine intelligence. Those of religious faith who hold out for a fundamental distinction that cannot be bridged -- a cognitive science "proof" of God -- are welcome to hold this view, but from all indications this notion is another instance of a "God of the gaps" theological error, wherein one looks for God in the recesses of what remains unknown in scientific knowledge at one particular point in time. Note that these findings do not refute the religious notion of a "soul," nor do they suggest that humans do not assume responsibility for their actions and decisions, but instead merely that many if not all normal operations of human minds may one day be replicated in machine intelligence........." https://www.sciencemeetsreligion.org/ph ... -think.php



A light switch may turn a light on or off - But the intelligence that created that switch,
once created can not be turned off :idea:
- UniversalAlien

Post Reply