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You are here: HomeForum Home → Other → Chit Chat → Thread


   

Artificial intelligence and self-awareness

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Karlok - 07 September 2018 11:45 PM
Luhr28 - 07 September 2018 10:51 PM
dumbeur - 07 September 2018 01:02 PM
Luhr28 - 07 September 2018 08:37 AM
dumbeur - 07 September 2018 08:10 AM
Luhr28 - 07 September 2018 06:00 AM

True, but we are also more than that, as beings which are aware of our biology. Or more accurately, as the Being in which being-ness is situated. A robot would lack that aspect, even though it may be able to approximate very closely our biological functioning.

We evolved from beings without awareness of their biology.  Why would machines be any different?


Those earlier beings had awareness in a more rudimentary form, without the developed intellect to be able to contemplate their own biology like we do now.

Machines are just machines. They perform a function but lack any kind of awareness of what they are doing.

We obviously don’t need to go back this far but for the sake of clarity:  you think single-celled organisms had a rudimentary form of self-awareness?

I think at this point we’re really going to have to start defining terms. “Self” and “self-awareness” in particular.

If we are going to be able to discuss this rationally, it’s clear we are not going to be able to do so using common language and definitions. A subject, by definition, can only be aware of objects. An eye, for example, cannot see itself. So to be able to discuss self-awareness, either the assumed reality of subject-object perception is going to need to be changed, or the words “self” and “self-aware” are going to have to take on new meanings to fit within that paradigm.

I was writing a reply and then you changed your entire post. Sheesh.

The very first requirement of a sense of self is an image of physical boundaries. This is me and everything else is other. Survival and all that. I don’t know about single-celled organisms, but I’d say most if not all organisms have an image or a map stored somewhere of where their body ends and the world begins. Subject versus object. When the brain (in mammals at least) decides that some part of the body no longer belongs to the body even if it’s still there, you lose control of it. See Oliver Sachs. Or Damasio.

The “eye that cannot see itself” is a Zen koan by the way. Just saying. Smile

I did not know that. I often find Zen koans to be rather insightful Smile

What I am understanding from your post is that self is a matter of perception, of belief. So if I believe that a tree is “me” then I am self-aware. That kind of blurs the boundaries between finding any meaningful definition of “self-aware” because a sane, healthy person and any psychiatric patient could have wildly different interpretations of who or what they are. How are we to apply this to artificial intelligence where, for example, two robots may happen to believe their sense of self extends to the other robot? Does that qualify as self-awareness?

     
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Luhr28 - 08 September 2018 04:12 AM

How are we to apply this to artificial intelligence where, for example, two robots may happen to believe their sense of self extends to the other robot? Does that qualify as self-awareness?

Depends on the form? If the robot is standalone, then it’s probably a similar case to the psychiatric patient.

However, with wireless communication a very real possibility, the robots might act like something closer to a hive mind (although not necessarily even with a central hub, which would complicate this definition). Each robot could believe their sense of self extends to all other robots, since they’re all part of the same shared network (like appendages of a hive mind).

It could very well be more complex with a network closer to the internet now. No central hub, but a neural network of computers. In fact, the way the internet works now already resembles how a rudimentary brain works.
Anyway, in the case of an internet-like network, parts of it could be working so closely together that they see themselves as “one” where other parts can be considered “something else” despite being a part of the same network. The servers in Sweden don’t necessarily know what the servers in Australia are up to - that line of thinking.

Actually, I think it’s quite possible that certain parts of the internet might start behaving in a way that is difficult to distinguish from actual human beings, which makes the question “has it become self-aware” difficult to answer. If it simulates it in a way that we can’t tell the difference, we can’t really prove it one way or the other…

But again, distant future talk here. Smile

     

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Luhr28 - 08 September 2018 04:12 AM

I did not know that. I often find Zen koans to be rather insightful Smile

What I am understanding from your post is that self is a matter of perception, of belief.

That’s not what I meant at all. On the contrary. A “map” in the brain is essential and has nothing to do with perception or belief. I don’t have time to reply at the moment, I will tomorrow.

 

     

I will kill every last one of you monsters!  Return of the Obra Dinn

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TimovieMan - 08 September 2018 05:22 AM

Actually, I think it’s quite possible that certain parts of the internet might start behaving in a way that is difficult to distinguish from actual human beings, which makes the question “has it become self-aware” difficult to answer. If it simulates it in a way that we can’t tell the difference, we can’t really prove it one way or the other…

But again, distant future talk here. Smile

That’s a good point - how would we know if it’s self-aware? Do we even know if another human is self-aware?

Karlok - 08 September 2018 07:41 AM
Luhr28 - 08 September 2018 04:12 AM

I did not know that. I often find Zen koans to be rather insightful Smile

What I am understanding from your post is that self is a matter of perception, of belief.

That’s not what I meant at all. On the contrary. A “map” in the brain is essential and has nothing to do with perception or belief. I don’t have time to reply at the moment, I will tomorrow.

Apologies for the misunderstanding then. I look forward to your reply Smile

     
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I’ve been following this thread with interest, RL has taken me away from posting any thoughtful replies but the theme has very much reminded me of Westworld (Season 1) which I’ve now played 3 times.
I played the original Westworld with Yul Brynner as the rampant robot but from my perception he was just that…... a robot that had a mission where the wires had got crossed????
In Westworld (the TV programm) although initially it doesn’t seem to be about AI (apart from them providing a service) it does end up as there being a little more focus on a couple of the AI characters who seem to have acquired a little more self-awareness???

     
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When I read this thread, I immediately thought of Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation.  His journey to becoming more human was very compelling to me over the course of the series.  His self awareness was more acute than that of a human because he could run a self-diagnostic program.  One of my favorite bits was the one where he tells Riker that he doesn’t understand the saying that a watched pot never boils because it always took a certain amount of minutes and seconds.  Riker tells him to turn off his interior clock because humans don’t have one.  In the ending scene, Data is petting his cat and looks startled when the kettle starts to whistle.

Of course we don’t currently have a Dr. Soong to invent the positronic brain, but I like to think it might be possible someday.  With the addition of the emotion chip, the differences between a born human and a constructed one may someday be moot.

     

We lose ourselves in books and games.  We find ourselves there, too.

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Since Karlok has yet to reply (I was interested in his/her notions of subject and object in relation to awareness) I would like to post a quote as food for thought as to whether our notions of being “self-aware” are what we might think they are and whether the type of awareness we imagine artificial intelligence might have in the future can really be created to approximate that of humanity’s.

In the case of relative knowledge, there is always a knowing subject, which we refer to as “I,” and a known object, which we refer to variously as “he,” “she,” “them,” “you,” “it,” or “that.” In any case, that which is known by perception is always different from or other than the one by whom it is known. Because perception and inference are object-dependent and only yield knowledge of objects to a subject, the subject itself can only be known if it becomes an object and may be cognized. In the case of the relative knower—that is, the person we take ourselves to be—this is exactly what happens. We identify ourselves as a person based on our knowledge of the objective phenomena—i.e., the body and its associated sensations, the mind and its associated emotions, and the intellect and its associated thoughts—that we believe constitute the discrete entity we think of as “me” and refer to as “I.”

The ultimate subject, however, is the eternal observer—the pure, attributeless awareness who is always “behind” the relative knower. Because by definition the subject can never be the object, and moreover because that which is without qualities is not available for objectification, the ultimate subject—our true self—cannot be known by perception or inference.

Furthermore, it is a universal law that the effect cannot comprehend its cause. Just as a light bulb can illumine the objects in a room, but not the electricity that causes it to glow, the senses, mind, and intellect—the insentient instruments of perception and inference—cannot illumine the source of their being and the cause of their operation.

     
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I’m not sure if you’re being entirely serious in bringing the teachings of a Youtube guru into a scientific conversation?

I’m sorry to go ad hominem on this lady, I’m sure she’s perfectly nice, but there have to be some kinds of boundaries or we could just quote the entirety of the Bible as a source and expect others to pick their ways through it for actual meaning.

     
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dumbeur - 10 September 2018 12:37 PM

I’m not sure if you’re being entirely serious in bringing the teachings of a Youtube guru into a scientific conversation?

I’m sorry to go ad hominem on this lady, I’m sure she’s perfectly nice, but there have to be some kinds of boundaries or we could just quote the entirety of the Bible as a source and expect others to pick their ways through it for actual meaning.

It wasn’t from a youtube guru. And if you have a problem with the quote, why not point out the problem, rather than attack the source? What it says is verifiable by observation and thinking. (It’s also hardly out of place in a thread where others are using Star Trek and Westworld and sci-fi writers as sources)

Science would be valid means of studying consciousness, if it were capable of studying subjects. But science is concerned with objects so is not useful for what we are discussing - the eye cannot see itself.

     
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No matter how far back one goes on the evolutionary chain (and it’s a very loose interpretation of “awareness” if we’re including amoebas in this discussion), the undeniable reality is that self-awareness DOES now exist where once it did not. So the fact that computers aren’t yet aware isn’t at all an indication that they might not be capable of it in future.

I’d venture to say that there will be always be a distinction between organic and artificial intelligence no matter how far the latter evolves, but like others have said here, it if advances to the point where no one can tell them apart, what difference does it make?

And sadly, we could rightly ask whether AIs might to do a better job of using their intelligence than mankind is doing with its own. It’s certainly not a stretch to say we’re doing a bang-up job of throwing our turn away. Shifty Eyed The sci-fi writers would have us believe that’s a dangerous line of thinking, given that it always seems to go so disastrously wrong, but at some point I wonder if the alternative won’t be worse.

     

Editor-in-Chief, some obscure little site called Adventure Gamers

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What are we… a bunch electrical signals and chemicals. What are machines… not the same?

     
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Game Master - 02 October 2018 06:09 PM

What are we… a bunch electrical signals and chemicals. What are machines… not the same?

Nope. We are aware of the electrical signals and chemicals right here and now, machines are not.

     
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What makes you “aware”?

     
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I would say it is the quality of illumination. I am aware because I shine, and not because of what I shine on (thoughts, body, objects).

     
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Is “illumination” scientific, tangible? Not sure I understand what powers your awareness?

     

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