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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RE[2]: Memetics
by kwan_e on Tue 29th May 2012 00:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Memetics"
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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.

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