Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 28th May 2012 03:53 UTC
General Development FuriousFanBoys interviews Ben Goertzel regarding Artificial Intelligence. Ben started the OpenCog project (an open sourced AI non-profit), acts as an adviser to the Singularity University, and currently bounces back between Hong Kong and Maryland building in-game AI.
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Memetics
by kwan_e on Mon 28th May 2012 04:48 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

Does an individual neuron know of the consciousness* of the entire network? Likewise, would an individual human know about the consciousness of the entire internetwork?

I would say the internet could well be considered conscious. Activity in the network, with humans as the neurons, has caused civilization wide changes in the physical world. It's also something that seems to only be increasing in frequency and range.

* I use "consciousness" and not "intelligence" deliberately, because what is traditionally considered "intelligent" has already been achieved in machines.

Artificial intelligence is in some way a misnomer and a forever shifting goalpost. It's always compared to human intelligence, which is a bit unfair and mostly useless, because we can't even define or quantify what human intelligence is. If there exists an alien race with much higher intelligence which we won't comprehend, they might consider us and our algorithms to be on the same level of unintelligence.

Our intelligence is completely tied to our evolutionary needs, and so is the intelligence of machines. Just like we have mostly dominated the natural world with our evolved intelligence, so have machines dominated the information world with theirs. This is, I think, a more fair way of judging artificial intelligence to human intelligence.

What is left is the matter of consciousness.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Memetics
by Fergy on Mon 28th May 2012 05:18 in reply to "Memetics"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

* I use "consciousness" and not "intelligence" deliberately, because what is traditionally considered "intelligent" has already been achieved in machines.

What people mean by AI is thinking like a human. Computers can't think like a human yet.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Memetics
by kwan_e on Mon 28th May 2012 05:49 in reply to "RE: Memetics"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"* I use "consciousness" and not "intelligence" deliberately, because what is traditionally considered "intelligent" has already been achieved in machines.

What people mean by AI is thinking like a human. Computers can't think like a human yet.
"

That's why I go on to say that I don't think the term represents accurately what we actually mean and that it's a misnomer and a shifting goalpost and a whole lot of other unfavourable things.

Computers can't think like a human yet. But I would argue humans don't think like a human yet either. I've never met any people in significant numbers that uses the whole of human experience in their "intelligence". They mostly use a very rigid subset that they don't change because that's how they were raised, or they haven't considered other ways of thinking.*

And a higher intelligence would say we're not intelligent because we don't think like them.

It brings up another question: why on earth would we consider an AI to be insufficient if it doesn't match a human? They exceed humans in many other tasks already.

This is why I would like to differentiate between consciousness and intelligence. Otherwise it's just playing tennis without the net.

* One interesting thing I found, when learning the basic search algorithms, is how many people actually do just restrict themselves to one kind of search in their attempt to think. And mostly they go for greedy depth first search. They go right for the line of thinking they think will get them results quickest. Whatever their internal algorithm churns up must be the correct thought because it took them a lot of effort and a lot of statements of subsequents. Even people who consider themselves "geeks" or "nerds" often think in a quasi-greedy-depth-first-search.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Memetics
by zima on Mon 28th May 2012 05:52 in reply to "Memetics"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Does an individual neuron know of the consciousness* of the entire network?

More crucially, does the network know of consciousness of other networks? ("higher" or "lesser" ones, very different or presumably likewise ones, whatever)

Yeah, we usually grant consciousness to fellow homo sapiens - probably largely because of how we see ourselves and how we like to be seen by others
(while we of course tend to outright deny any similar animal capability ...which is most likely a continuum; IMHO at least some higher ones experience world in a not too dissimilar way, at least like when we're often "mindlessly" occupied by something and without internal vocalisations)

However, who knows how many philosophical zombies surround us... (and how many "bots" comment on OSNews? Maybe you are one? Maybe I am... ;) )
And consider: while we have very strong feeling of "monolithic me" - split-brain patients are virtually unchanged (mostly only with some "glitches"). Or: there is one localised brain trauma which results in people becoming completely blind without them realizing it ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton–Babinski_syndrome ). Generally, go through a list of cognitive biases - that is our primary mode of operation, the level of grasp we have on our minds.

Our intelligence is completely tied to our evolutionary needs, and so is the intelligence of machines. Just like we have mostly dominated the natural world with our evolved intelligence, so have machines dominated the information world with theirs.

Reminded me about one quote, something like "the question of whether a machine can think is no more interesting than whether a submarine can swim"
And also about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moravec's_paradox

Edited 2012-05-28 05:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Memetics
by kwan_e on Mon 28th May 2012 06:10 in reply to "RE: Memetics"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"Does an individual neuron know of the consciousness* of the entire network?

More crucially, does the network know of consciousness of other networks? ("higher" or "lesser" ones, very different or presumably likewise ones, whatever)
"

Recently, I've been thinking that an advanced alien civilization may judge intelligence based on the the intelligence of a civilization's planet-wide network.

Neill deGrasse Tyson thinks an alien race would pass us by just as we would pass by a worm. However, a planet-wide network may attract attention.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Memetics
by Alfman on Mon 28th May 2012 06:53 in reply to "Memetics"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

"If there exists an alien race with much higher intelligence which we won't comprehend, they might consider us and our algorithms to be on the same level of unintelligence."

It's so cute when my pet human automatons try to understand consciousness. You have yet to understand the consciousness uncertainty principal. Any system with sufficient entropy will exhibit signs of consciousness. However place the same system under a microscope and consciousness disappears; Consciousness is an emergent property.

"Likewise, would an individual human know about the consciousness of the entire internetwork?"

I'm so proud my humans are discovering their role as actors in a larger consciousness. We call it hyper-consciousness - a state of awareness above self-consciousness. Wait till I tell Jarred! His humans are still stuck bickering over Mac vs PC.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Memetics
by Relic on Mon 28th May 2012 20:37 in reply to "Memetics"
Relic Member since:
2012-05-28

I think the differences & similarities between the "architecture" of the brain and the structure of the internet is important to consider if you want try and define consciousness. It's a tough subject, but bear with me, maybe one or two sentences will be useful in this.

What you've laid out is: the brain and internet are both networks, designed for transmitting information at high speed between locations where deliberate processing and redistribution of said information to successively remote or critical locations occurs. Supporting the claim with the example "pc's & their users are not unlike neurons."

The similarities are important if you're going to make the pure deduction that "The internet may be an emerging intelligence", but saying our computational technology as it exists is intelligent is easy.

To my point, the consciousness of the internet is nonexistent, and it cant be conscious.

Evaluate the components and determine the byproducts, limitations, and nature of each system: Wetware, input/output, "reality" processor vs. silicon based semiconductor "experience" repository.

The brain's source of information is not fantastically more sophisticated than the internet, computers can be equipped to process force, motion, light, etc, and if you truly embody each PC as a functioning human in a larger sense then those sensory inputs can be stored and retransmitted, especially in the case of video. What you're missing is the massive disconnect where you taking person out and the internet, as a system, loses all ability to receive new information.

The chemical reactions, subtle electrical signals, and painstaking micrometer scale architecture that governs what, how, and when information is processed are simply more advanced "technology" than a jumble of silicon based transistors and machine code.

Consciousness IS an emergent property, but from where does it emerge? You have to examine what we know, and all we know is our personal consciousness definitively. There really are no absolute rules. We also have some of the worst equipment for experiencing reality of any animal. Our consciousness results exclusively from the most sophisticated components for processing information, the byproduct of which is relevant & positive modification of our environment to enable survival.

Buut, people are born 99% the same as each other, the biggest difference is gender. Yet we still all develop unique (well somewhat anyway) personalities, because we experience the world uniquely. Why? There's no real reason for it, we're all given a brain of the same form. Aberration comes from scale of constituents, DNA is seemingly intentionally susceptible to mutation. I think that consciousness is a sum sufficiently miniaturized parts which create an indivisible whole in the specifically human case.

So if you're looking for purpose in the last few paragraphs: The only model we have for consciousness is us, and if we look at what defines "us" you see something totally different & decidedly superior to the internet, at least on the levels I discussed.

The first strong AI will no doubt be built from intermediary hardware/wetware devices, a direct copy of what happens in the brain and central nervous system made smaller & from superior materials. Not an emergent, background, all encompassing internet AI at all.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Memetics
by kwan_e on Tue 29th May 2012 00:23 in reply to "RE: Memetics"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Thank you for actually considering points made, rather than just a blanket dismissal of an idea, an imagination even, just because you don't like to think you're not the highest consciousness there is.

I think the differences & similarities between the "architecture" of the brain and the structure of the internet is important to consider if you want try and define consciousness. It's a tough subject, but bear with me, maybe one or two sentences will be useful in this.


My question doesn't really rest upon the similarities in architecture. After all, an advanced alien race may have a completely different architecture in their brain equivalent. I'm not even making an analogy, as the others claim, that the internet is like a human brain. The internet is a good example to use, I think, because it brings to fore all the hidden assumptions we make about consciousness. Just because it is not something we recognize does not mean it's not conscious. That is why I compare us to a neuron. Imagining ourselves as a neuron, we play out our lives receiving and sending signals without ever understanding completely how the bigger system works. Even if we do figure out how the bigger system works, we can't predict with any great precision how our processing of signals affect the bigger system.

Likewise, in the internet age, we send and receive signals in both electronic and physical systems. It has caused downfall of governments. It has also affected the universe on a quantum scale at CERN. It causes stock markets to grow and crash.

The brain's source of information is not fantastically more sophisticated than the internet, computers can be equipped to process force, motion, light, etc, and if you truly embody each PC as a functioning human in a larger sense then those sensory inputs can be stored and retransmitted, especially in the case of video. What you're missing is the massive disconnect where you taking person out and the internet, as a system, loses all ability to receive new information.


But the beauty of it is: I'm saying we're part of that system. It is an interesting thought (which is all I claim it is, for those reading) to consider. We are the way the system gets information. In much the same way, the human body relies on non-human organisms to process food and oxygen. Just like the brain can't receive any information were it not for sensor neurons placed throughout the body, the internet system can't receive information without us placed all around the world.

Basically, I'm not saying the internet is like a version of Skynet that has gained its own consciousness, but rather it can be considered to be the result of memetic evolution in which we, as meme carriers, are co-opted.

It's not as crazy as it sounds. The biological cell likely comes from a line of organisms that originally began as separate organisms. Mitochondria is the most famous example. There are a few candidates, but they've likely been so absorbed into our cells that their boundaries have all but disappeared.

There is no reason not to humour the idea that we've been co-opted memetically, as opposed to genetically.

So if you're looking for purpose in the last few paragraphs: The only model we have for consciousness is us, and if we look at what defines "us" you see something totally different & decidedly superior to the internet, at least on the levels I discussed.


Well, unless we consider that we are part of the internet, and so it is essentially meaningless to say we are superior to the internet. After all, we've just witnessed the destruction of a government that was helped by a stirring in the internet.

The first strong AI will no doubt be built from intermediary hardware/wetware devices, a direct copy of what happens in the brain and central nervous system made smaller & from superior materials. Not an emergent, background, all encompassing internet AI at all.


I personally think that would be a dead end. Our own consciousness and intelligence possibly came about because of the need to live in groups to counter, as you say, some of the worst biological equipment any animal possesses. The group, as an entity, may have contributed to our evolution. Similarly, for any AC?I, I think the quickest path is by network effects like positive feedback loops effecting memetic evoluion.

Who knows? Maybe in a million years time, if we survive that long, we may look back to this era as the beginnings of a superconsciousness.

--------------------------------------------------

Again, I'd like to thank you for the effort you put in, unlike the others here who superficially dismiss ideas and tries to make arguments out of them.

Reply Parent Score: 2