Paul's Here

Imagination vs. Reality

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I've started this thread with a caveat. This arguments here are speculation on my part. Some may think I'm way off base here; perhaps I am. I could use a little education. It is a subject I've been interested in for a while, but I've never investigated the issue in any manner other than through my imagination and introspection of my thinking on the issue. I am hoping that others with more knowleddge or experience may provide some insight into this. My question is not focused on any particular person but about some poeple in general, including some scientists and engineers. I haven't been able to get a clue to the answer based upon observing other people.

What exactly is the fascination with creating life in machines or with creating human reason and awareness in non-brain material, such as electronic circuitry? Even more, what makes people, including many scientists and engineers, believe that this can actually be accomplished? What gives such speculation even the remotest hint of a possiblity to people? Personally, I find such theories to be beyong belief: they contradict what we know about life and consciousness. Granted, we've seen many things that people thought would be impossible actually occur, such as operating on the heart or the brain or replacing certain body parts and functions with electro-mechanical devices.

My speculation about this is the stories and images of many science fiction movies and books with which most people ahve grown up have adversely affected peoples thinking. Modern day movies depict androids as being essentially equivalent to living organisms. In the Terminator series, we see androids devoid of life trying to kill or save human beings, not with machine-like qualities but with human qualities that make one sympathetic to as well as fearful of the androids. In Star Trek - Next Generation, we were shown Data, the epitome of an android with a fully functioning consciousness and concern for humans; indeed, he wanted to become human. (No Pinocchio comments please.) Data was essentially identical to humans except for a few quirks, the main one being he could not experience emotions. But his inventor developed a "chip" that could be installed to give him emotions. In 2001 A Space Odyssey, Hal took over a space ship because humans threatened to disable him. In Short Circuit, a robot is struck by lightning and comes to life. In Transformers, we have a whole fleet of living robots who save the humans from other robots trying to destroy it. There are many others. Modern movies make it seem like imagination is reality. Kind of like Jules Verne writing about going to the moon 100 years before it happened.

Has science fiction ruined people's ability to distinguish between reality and imagination? Am I wrong about this? Is there another explanation? Is there any scientific basis to hold that a machine can be or become alive? And even if not alive, is there any scientific basis for holding that a machine or electronic device could be conscious?

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Addressing the lead question of your second paragraph, "What exactly is the fascination with creating life in machines or with creating human reason and awareness in non-brain material...?", one motivating factor might be the desire to create a "perfect" human being. I put "perfect" in scare quotes because I think those people so motivated have a mistaken idea of what perfection is. They perhaps think it means not ever making a mistake, or never fighting, or never getting angry, or never being upset by emotion. It may even be the case that at least some of them focus on this kind of perfection so as to not have to deal with the meaning of moral perfection, which any kind of robot could not pursue. At the very least I think the motivation must be to create something that to the creator's mind is better than human. For, if it was only to create something not as good (in whatever sense he might mean that), what would be the point?

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Even more, what makes people, including many scientists and engineers, believe that this can actually be accomplished?

I only have a moment here before going out the door, but here's a question: What's your opinion of the Turing Test?

I'll post some more thoughts later.

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What exactly is the fascination with creating life in machines or with creating human reason and awareness in non-brain material, such as electronic circuitry? Even more, what makes people, including many scientists and engineers, believe that this can actually be accomplished? What gives such speculation even the remotest hint of a possiblity to people?

I can tell you why I find the idea both possible and interesting.

What organisms are made of and how they are constructed are facts we can discover then apply to building man-made entities with the same materials and structure resulting in the same functions. Some biological systems and sub-systems are remarkably functional. For instance, the human heart and kidneys are much more efficient mechanisms than any current man-made devices serving the same biological function. Current computers are fast and accurate but cannot perform conceptual functions.

Can we build complete artificial organisms that are actually living things? I don't see why not. Should we do so? I can imagine a man-made seeing eye dog or an ultra-sophisticated Roomba ™ that not only vacuums, but does all the cleaning and cooking. That could be very worthwhile.

How about an artificial organism with a conceptual consciousness? I think that's doable, too. Should we? Maybe, but it must be done with the understanding that this artificial conceptual entity would have to be a volitional entity. That has all kinds of consequences. As I have mentioned before, it would need to be motivated, but force would not work nor would it be proper. The conceptual entity would have rights for exactly the same reason that human beings do.

Therefore, this entity would not be a slave or even an obedient servant. It could decide to be lazy. If you were lonely and bought a conceptual entity to keep you company and be your friend, it might not like you. In fact, the problem with an artificial human being isn't the fact that it couldn't be done but that, if we succeeded, it would be like a human being.

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I don't see an intrinsic flaw in exploring scientific ideas or technology inspired by SF.

As for motivation, there can be many. Some people talk about yearning to move to another planet and starting over. Why? I suspect the issue is psychological: they want to run away from their problems, rather than deal with them. The same goes for creating artificial consciousness: rather than learn to deal well with other people, they may want to create a new consciousness that won't reject them.

Now it is an interesting question: how does a mass of neurons give rise to consciousness? I doubt that a computer will ever be able to have freewill, so it can't have a consciousness like ours. But what about a non-conceptual one? It's an interesting question that I can't answer right now.

Another motivation, long term, would be additional labor-saving devices. If we could make machines to handle soldering, cutting, lifting, and bending, and we get tremendous cost savings by using these robots, could we not get even greater savings by employing machines to do some of our thinking?

Right now, though, I don't think this field will ever create a truly conceptual consciousness, so it is just so much SF itself. While we get better at making feedback loops sufficiently complex to mimic human behavior (e.g., playing games against computer opponents who have become harder to beat over time) they don't have freewill, so I dislike labeling them "AI."

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How about an artificial organism with a conceptual consciousness? I think that's doable, too. Should we? Maybe, but it must be done with the understanding that this artificial conceptual entity would have to be a volitional entity. That has all kinds of consequences. As I have mentioned before, it would need to be motivated, but force would not work nor would it be proper. The conceptual entity would have rights for exactly the same reason that human beings do.

The rights of artificial (truly intelligent) beings seems to be a forgotten issue most of the time. I am somewhat pensive about true AI, not because of any disaster scenario, but because I don’t want to see the rebirth of slavery in the free-world.

Though I am a bit interested in the idea of “zombie” AI; something that is able to replicate intelligence (even conceptual intelligence) without actually being intelligent. To date I have not heard any compelling reasons why or how this would be possible.

only have a moment here before going out the door, but here's a question: What's your opinion of the Turing Test?

I know you weren’t asking me, but I’ll throw in my two cents anyway. I think the Turing test is the best idea for determining intelligence that we currently have, though I think it would be painfully inaccurate in many cases.

For instance, lets say a person was to create a program which had a pre-programmed answer for 100 billion possible questions, and lets say it was able to substitute nouns and adjectives, with a certain degree of intelligence, for even more possibilities.

If a person where to ask this machine a dozen questions, they might conclude that the machine is intelligent; when in fact it is merely a very advanced (or rather, very large) algorithm.

I don’t know how a person would be able to immediately discriminate between conceptual (true) intelligence and a something that is merely a super-complex program able to deal with an incredible amount of possibilities.

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Even more, what makes people, including many scientists and engineers, believe that this can actually be accomplished?

I only have a moment here before going out the door, but here's a question: What's your opinion of the Turing Test?

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

I'm not familiar with that. Could you explain it and how it is pertinent to the issue?

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What exactly is the fascination with creating life in machines or with creating human reason and awareness in non-brain material, such as electronic circuitry? Even more, what makes people, including many scientists and engineers, believe that this can actually be accomplished? What gives such speculation even the remotest hint of a possiblity to people?

I can tell you why I find the idea both possible and interesting.

What organisms are made of and how they are constructed are facts we can discover then apply to building man-made entities with the same materials and structure resulting in the same functions. Some biological systems and sub-systems are remarkably functional. For instance, the human heart and kidneys are much more efficient mechanisms than any current man-made devices serving the same biological function. Current computers are fast and accurate but cannot perform conceptual functions.

Can we build complete artificial organisms that are actually living things? I don't see why not.

Why yes? How would it be considered artificial if it is living?

Should we do so? I can imagine a man-made seeing eye dog or an ultra-sophisticated Roomba that not only vacuums, but does all the cleaning and cooking. That could be very worthwhile.

But a robot could do both things also.

How about an artificial organism with a conceptual consciousness? I think that's doable, too. Should we? Maybe, but it must be done with the understanding that this artificial conceptual entity would have to be a volitional entity. That has all kinds of consequences. As I have mentioned before, it would need to be motivated, but force would not work nor would it be proper. The conceptual entity would have rights for exactly the same reason that human beings do.

Therefore, this entity would not be a slave or even an obedient servant. It could decide to be lazy. If you were lonely and bought a conceptual entity to keep you company and be your friend, it might not like you. In fact, the problem with an artificial human being isn't the fact that it couldn't be done but that, if we succeeded, it would be like a human being.

I still don't grasp how you think these things are doable. Would you agree that, as a minimum, a conscious entity would have to be living? While constructing entities with parts that function similar to a human body has been demonstrated in many robotic machines, how would they be regarded as being alive? If the robot walked over to the electrical outlet and plugged itself in similarly to the way we eat food?

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Can we build complete artificial organisms that are actually living things? I don't see why not.

Why yes? How would it be considered artificial if it is living?

By artificial, I mean man-made rather than metaphysical and occurring in nature.

Should we do so? I can imagine a man-made seeing eye dog or an ultra-sophisticated Roomba ™ that not only vacuums, but does all the cleaning and cooking. That could be very worthwhile.

But a robot could do both things also.

They would be robots if they lacked volition, yet if they have biological components and are capable of self-sustaining self-generated action, they would have to be considered living. In that respect, they would be like man-made viruses and genetically-engineered organisms which are living, yet artificial.

How about an artificial organism with a conceptual consciousness? I think that's doable, too. Should we? Maybe, but it must be done with the understanding that this artificial conceptual entity would have to be a volitional entity. That has all kinds of consequences. As I have mentioned before, it would need to be motivated, but force would not work nor would it be proper. The conceptual entity would have rights for exactly the same reason that human beings do.

Therefore, this entity would not be a slave or even an obedient servant. It could decide to be lazy. If you were lonely and bought a conceptual entity to keep you company and be your friend, it might not like you. In fact, the problem with an artificial human being isn't the fact that it couldn't be done but that, if we succeeded, it would be like a human being.

I still don't grasp how you think these things are doable. Would you agree that, as a minimum, a conscious entity would have to be living?

Absolutely! Consciousness is a faculty of a living entity.

While constructing entities with parts that function similar to a human body has been demonstrated in many robotic machines, how would they be regarded as being alive? If the robot walked over to the electrical outlet and plugged itself in similarly to the way we eat food?

I would consider them living if they were as fully capable of self-sustaining, self-generated action as naturally living organisms,

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If you were lonely and bought a conceptual entity to keep you company and be your friend, it might not like you.

rotflmao.gif

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Even more, what makes people, including many scientists and engineers, believe that this can actually be accomplished?

I only have a moment here before going out the door, but here's a question: What's your opinion of the Turing Test?

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

I'm not familiar with that. Could you explain it and how it is pertinent to the issue?

The Turing test has become much more complicated then when it was proposed some sixty years ago.

But essentially, a tester would go into a room, and would ask questions to two entities through text on a computer. One of these entities would be a human, and the other would be the artificial intelligence. If, after a series of questions to both entities, the tester could not figure out which one was human and which one was the AI, then the Turing test would conclude that the AI was ‘intelligent.’

This all goes back, of course, to the issue of ‘how do you know if something is truly conscious or intelligent?’ For instance, a computer program can now beat the best chess players in the world; but we consider humans intelligent and the computer program not intelligent; this is likely to become more complicated in the future as humans are bested in many more activities by ‘unintelligent’ entities.

The Turing test is relevant from an epistemological perspective; it is especially relevant when you start talking about the rights of artificial (though truly intelligent) beings.

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Even more, what makes people, including many scientists and engineers, believe that this can actually be accomplished?

I only have a moment here before going out the door, but here's a question: What's your opinion of the Turing Test?

I'm not familiar with that. Could you explain it and how it is pertinent to the issue?

Here's the introductory paragraph for the Wikipedia article describing the Turing Test:

The Turing test is a proposal for a test of a machine's ability to demonstrate intelligence. Described by Alan Turing in the 1950 paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," it proceeds as follows: a human judge engages in a natural language conversation with one human and one machine, each of which try to appear human; if the judge cannot reliably tell which is which, then the machine is said to pass the test. In order to test the machine's intelligence rather than its ability to render words into audio, the conversation is limited to a text-only channel such as a computer keyboard and screen (Turing originally suggested a teletype machine, one of the few text-only communication systems available in 1950).

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What exactly is the fascination with creating life in machines or with creating human reason and awareness in non-brain material, such as electronic circuitry?

A harder question is why there is a whole industry devoted to seeing how few strokes one can take to hit a ball in a hole. To solve that, one must invent an artificial intelligence, because no human has come up with a rational answer. :)

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The first thing that pops into my mind concerning the Turing test is that, when I'm communicating with someone, I am aware of a level of intelligence. What is the level of intelligence of a machine? Is a machine ever going to be creative? An independent thinker? A productive genius?

Note that there is nothing extraordinary in the Turing test. Sight has been sundered, that is all. Can you tell, when listening to a song on the radio, if it is live or a recording? Or if you close your eyes while walking down the street and bump into something, if it is a dummy or a real person?

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If you were lonely and bought a conceptual entity to keep you company and be your friend, it might not like you.

rotflmao.gif

Would $200 help?

:)

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The first thing that pops into my mind concerning the Turing test is that, when I'm communicating with someone, I am aware of a level of intelligence. What is the level of intelligence of a machine? Is a machine ever going to be creative? An independent thinker? A productive genius?

Note that there is nothing extraordinary in the Turing test. Sight has been sundered, that is all. Can you tell, when listening to a song on the radio, if it is live or a recording? Or if you close your eyes while walking down the street and bump into something, if it is a dummy or a real person?

Good point. It is not just sight that is restricted, but hearing also as your Memorex question indicates. Also, what happens if the machine subject asks a question that the questioner does not know the answer to?

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Even more, what makes people, including many scientists and engineers, believe that this can actually be accomplished?

I only have a moment here before going out the door, but here's a question: What's your opinion of the Turing Test?

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

I'm not familiar with that. Could you explain it and how it is pertinent to the issue?

The Turing test has become much more complicated then when it was proposed some sixty years ago.

But essentially, a tester would go into a room, and would ask questions to two entities through text on a computer. One of these entities would be a human, and the other would be the artificial intelligence. If, after a series of questions to both entities, the tester could not figure out which one was human and which one was the AI, then the Turing test would conclude that the AI was ‘intelligent.’

This all goes back, of course, to the issue of ‘how do you know if something is truly conscious or intelligent?’ For instance, a computer program can now beat the best chess players in the world; but we consider humans intelligent and the computer program not intelligent; this is likely to become more complicated in the future as humans are bested in many more activities by ‘unintelligent’ entities.

The Turing test is relevant from an epistemological perspective; it is especially relevant when you start talking about the rights of artificial (though truly intelligent) beings.

On that basis, using the Turing test how do you determine if an unintelligent human is conscious, or perhaps a child? It would seem that the ability to perform tasks is not the basis for consciousness. Robots can weld, I can't. If a sophisticated computer program could join the Forum and respond to answers, does that demonstrated consciousness? I'm not so sure. It would seem that the Turing test could be used to determine the level of complicated tasks or sequences that a machine could perform, but I don't see how any of that relates to consciousness. I do not test my dog with questions to determine if it is conscious. If one defines intelligence as a process of conceptual consciousness, as Objectivism does, then clearly no machine could be intelligent in that context.

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-------------------
While constructing entities with parts that function similar to a human body has been demonstrated in many robotic machines, how would they be regarded as being alive? If the robot walked over to the electrical outlet and plugged itself in similarly to the way we eat food?

I would consider them living if they were as fully capable of self-sustaining, self-generated action as naturally living organisms,

But exactly how would that work, what would it consist of? Other than a large dose of imagination, I just don't see the realistic feasibility. Would the entity have feedback loops that would allow it to detect a voltage drop in one of its neural processors? Would the entity respond, "hey, there's a voltage drop in my J7 switch that is causing my memory to reject input from my P3 transistor. I had better go call the electrical engineer doctor for a full diagnostic and surgical repair. I wonder how much it is going to cost my human guardians (after all, the entity is less than 18 years old and is not a responsible adult yet)."

Maybe my imagination is limited, I don't know. I just find this whole idea fantastic. I find it much more fun to create life the old fashion way, or at least die trying!! :)

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Even more, what makes people, including many scientists and engineers, believe that this can actually be accomplished?

I only have a moment here before going out the door, but here's a question: What's your opinion of the Turing Test?

I'm not familiar with that. Could you explain it and how it is pertinent to the issue?

Here's the introductory paragraph for the Wikipedia article describing the Turing Test:

The Turing test is a proposal for a test of a machine's ability to demonstrate intelligence. Described by Alan Turing in the 1950 paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," it proceeds as follows: a human judge engages in a natural language conversation with one human and one machine, each of which try to appear human; if the judge cannot reliably tell which is which, then the machine is said to pass the test. In order to test the machine's intelligence rather than its ability to render words into audio, the conversation is limited to a text-only channel such as a computer keyboard and screen (Turing originally suggested a teletype machine, one of the few text-only communication systems available in 1950).

For an interesting criticism of the Turing Test, see here.

Yet our understanding of thinking has clearly not changed in the way Turing predicted. If anything, educated thinking seems to be moving in the opposite direction: while we continue to find it convenient to speak of the computer as “trying” to do this or “wanting” to do that, just as we personify all sorts of non-human forces and entities in informal speech, more and more of us are aware that we are speaking figuratively. No one who has been told that his hotel reservation has been lost because “the computer goofed” is likely to use the term “thinking machine” except sarcastically. And most people in the computer age understand the distinction between living intelligence and the tools men make to aid intelligence—tools that preserve the fruits of the human intelligence that went into building them, but which are in no way intelligent themselves.

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For an interesting criticism of the Turing Test, see here.
Yet our understanding of thinking has clearly not changed in the way Turing predicted. If anything, educated thinking seems to be moving in the opposite direction: while we continue to find it convenient to speak of the computer as “trying” to do this or “wanting” to do that, just as we personify all sorts of non-human forces and entities in informal speech, more and more of us are aware that we are speaking figuratively. No one who has been told that his hotel reservation has been lost because “the computer goofed” is likely to use the term “thinking machine” except sarcastically. And most people in the computer age understand the distinction between living intelligence and the tools men make to aid intelligence—tools that preserve the fruits of the human intelligence that went into building them, but which are in no way intelligent themselves.

These are harmless anthropomorphic analogies and metaphors. As long as they are not taken too literally no ill effect ensues. In fact, controlled abuse of language, allows the imagination and fancy to soar out and above us.

Here is an example: When Albert Einstein was sixteen he fantasized that he could race along side a wave of light. This kind of imagination exercise or gedanken led him eventually to his famous theory of the electrodynamics of moving bodies (aka special relativity).

The chemist Kelkule had a day-dream or fugue state image of six snakes in a ring, each swallowing the tail of the snake in front. The result: the benzine ring, a happy inspiration.

The well known tale (which may or may not be factual) has Isaac Newton at Woolsthorpe watching an apple fall to earth leading him to think the same force that made the apple fall perhaps kept the moon in her orbit around the earth. The idea of a force reaching out an grabbing a small planet was fantasmagoric considering the only concept of force in those days was pushing and pulling; contact forces. Reaching out and grabbing at a distance was very much "outside the box" back then.

Michael Faraday, who did not own ten lines of mathematics, let his visual imagination trace out "lines of force" through an elastic medium. He hit on the idea of a field of force vectors. In the hands of the master physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell this became the theory of electromagnetic fields, which incidentally, served as an inspiration to a young German from Ulm, Albert Einstein.

What is the lesson here? Perhaps it is that we should not let literal mindedness and ultra linearity in thinking blind us to possibilities previously undreamed and not yet realized. On the other hand, we must not let our imagery completely outrun good sense. Somewhere in the middle is a beneficial balance.

ruveyn

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What makes human creation of a conscious, volitional entity so different from every other achievement that was supposed to be impossible and turned out not to be? Given the explosion and ever-increasing pace of scientific and technological progress over the past 200 years, can we really say with any certainty that it cannot happen?

As a Hypothetical Ned might have said over the years:

"Men fly? No way..."

"Oo, nifty! What do you call that thingie? Ah, a 'balloon.'"

"Well, if it's heavier than air it'll never get off the ground..."

"Hmm, look at them thar Wright brothers."

"Go faster than sound? Not a chance..."

"Huh? Chuck who?"

"Well, t'ain't no air in space. We ain't never goin' there..."

"Whaddaya know? Check out that Yuri feller."

"Walk on the moon? Don't make me laugh..."

"Eh? The what of Tranquility?"

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

What is the lesson here? Perhaps it is that we should not let literal mindedness and ultra linearity in thinking blind us to possibilities previously undreamed and not yet realized. On the other hand, we must not let our imagery completely outrun good sense. Somewhere in the middle is a beneficial balance.

ruveyn

What makes human creation of a conscious, volitional entity so different from every other achievement that was supposed to be impossible and turned out not to be? Given the explosion and ever-increasing pace of scientific and technological progress over the past 200 years, can we really say with any certainty that it cannot happen?

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

Without a doubt, imagination is an inspiration for achievement of real accomplishments. And let's not forget how much imagination goes nowhere and is not reported in the scientific literature. But there is something very different with respect to the "AI / consciousness" crowd. What people believed before a great discovery was based upon ignorance of the principles that were identified by the great minds. Also, there were not legions of people who were asserting how ignorant people were for not accepting the obvious future fact that their ignorance will be discarded at some future date. Today, we have college programs, degrees, scientists, engineers, technical societies, etc. already assuming that machines will be intelligent and this will be achieved in the future. And those of us who don't believe it have some sort of philosophic problem with the nature of life and consciousness. Yet, 50 years after the Turing Test, we are no closer to intelligent/conscious machines.

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...... Yet, 50 years after the Turing Test, we are no closer to intelligent/conscious machines.

The main benefits from AI have been some interesting a useful computer and computational paradigms. For example genetic (so-called) algorithms and some fairly good pattern matching algorithms. So AI has not been a total loss, but neither has it achieved its stated goal.

The Turing Test, is in its essence, a rather simple-minded heuristic. Which shows that we don't know what intelligence is exactly. We have some intuitive ideas but they have yet to be encapsulated adequately in a scientific discipline.

I used to work in AI (early stages, back in the 1960s)* but after about five years of doing some reasonable work in pattern recognition I realized that the basic goal was not being achieved. The Problem: we really did not know what constitutes intelligence, at least not at the basic algorithmic level. Maybe Roger Penrose is right, that intelligence and mind will not be captured within the conceptual framework of computation. Maybe the mind is NOT a computer, but something else entirely. If so, then AI is hunting coon down the wrong path. Maybe that dawg don't hunt.

I guess I will believe it when someone comes up with a Mind in a Box. I do not plan to hold my breath until then.l

ruveyn

*I did some applications using multilevel linear threshold networks (later called neural networks). My best work was in capturing and compressing, for storage, terrain mapping data. That is how cruise missiles were steered before GPS.

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Today, we have college programs, degrees, scientists, engineers, technical societies, etc. already assuming that machines will be intelligent and this will be achieved in the future.

Given what we've been able to accomplish so far, I don't think that's a bad assumption.

And those of us who don't believe it have some sort of philosophic problem with the nature of life and consciousness.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't hold that view. Yeah, we'll never produce human consciousness in a man-made entity. Animals don't have human consciousness either, yet they are no doubt conscious. The intelligent beings that I am sure live on some of the billions of planets that we now know must exist in the universe don't have human consiousness any more than chimps do. They're not human - they have "rational-being-from-whatever-planet" consciousness. We'll produce "androidian" consciousness. So what? What we will create will be amazing.

Yet, 50 years after the Turing Test, we are no closer to intelligent/conscious machines.

Only 50 years? Didn't Leonardo Da Vinci design a flying machine? It was quite a bit longer than 50 years between that and Kitty Hawk. Men had been trying to fly since before the story of Icarus and his wax wings.

As Ruveyn said, maybe computation and algorithms aren't enough. OK, so we'll figure out what it is besides that. Will it happen? Absolutely. When? I have no idea.

Why not work on it? The purpose of space exploration wasn't to give us Velcro, but we got that out of it and a lot more besides. In the field of machine consciousness, by-products like the Roomba* are only the beginning.

_____

*I'm not saying that Roombas are conscious, just that the technology derived from "artificial consciousness" research, which must include sensory input and processing, leads to such things.

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Artificial simply means "man-made". Children are both "man-made" and "metaphysical", in a philosophic sense, an idea which, if understood, is probably the answer to the questions in this thread.

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