To be man...to be a machine | INFJ Forum

To be man...to be a machine

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by gloomy-optimist, Apr 14, 2009.

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  1. gloomy-optimist

    gloomy-optimist Used to live here

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    So, in my colloquium class we're discussing dangerous ideas. The topic came up of artificial intelligence and life -- here's a few things to question about:

    Do you think that humanity is "special?" Do we have a purpose, or are we just accidents along the evolutionary chain, a "biological phenomenon?" More importantly, if we are just accidents, what effect would that knowledge have on mankind? Do you think we're better off considering ourselves to be something greater than we really are?

    Is man comparable to a machine?

    Could our rationality really be recreated in a machine? Would it be possible to create a sense of not only rationality, but also human emotion and spirituality? What effects would this have on mankind? Would it be constructive or destructive? Should we attempt to undertake this, even if we can foresee adverse effects?

    These are just possible questions and speculations -- I want to hear input on as many different prospectives as possible. What do you think?



    Here are the articles we've read this week pertaining to this topic, if you want to know what sparked these questions or are just interested:
    (The article on Transhumanism by Fukuyama) http://www.mywire.com/a/ForeignPolicy/Worlds-Most-Dangerous-Ideas/564801?page=4
    http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-2102480/Programming-the-post-human-computer.html
     
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    #1 gloomy-optimist, Apr 14, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
  2. bamf

    bamf Is Watching You
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    I think to create rationality, emotion, and spirituality we would have to fully and completely understand every intricate and absurdly complex aspect of how our bodies actually work. I don't doubt that it is someday possible, but i think we will destroy ourselves before we even come close to reaching it (and what fun would it be if we actually understood every single aspect of ourselves?)
     
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  3. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    I don't think it would be possible to create machines that function cognitively just like humans-- spirtual beliefs, emotions, opinions, bias, etc etc.
    Because with those things and logic there occurs cognitive dissonance that would make it impossible for the robot to function: "Does. Not. Compute."

    God I hope they never build robots.. What if they build them to fight wars? Then the enemy captures our robots and reprograms them to attack us? It would be like The Terminator or something.. haha!
     
    #3 acd, Apr 14, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
  4. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    Do you think that humanity is "special?"

    Not particularly.

    Do we have a purpose, or are we just accidents along the evolutionary chain, a "biological phenomenon?"

    Neither, we have come about because that way of being has proven successful so far.


    More importantly, if we are just accidents, what effect would that knowledge have on mankind?

    We should count ourselves lucky then, and be grateful for our existence. A lot of people can't deal with chaos, there has to be a plan, everything needs to have it's place in nice rounded out stories, if these people suddenly became aware that we came about by chance, I think that would mess with their heads, they would just disregard it as truth.

    Do you think we're better off considering ourselves to be something greater than we really are?

    No, I think that we need to be realistic about our limitations and weaknesses.

    Is man comparable to a machine?

    They are one in the same, a machine is an extension of man, man's mind reaching out beyond it's body.

    Could our rationality really be recreated in a machine?

    Eventually, something similar could be.

    Would it be possible to create a sense of not only rationality, but also human emotion and spirituality?

    Sure, why not?

    What effects would this have on mankind?

    I'm not sure

    Would it be constructive or destructive? Should we attempt to undertake this, even if we can foresee adverse effects?

    I don't like the idea, I don't think we should meddle too much before we have a good understanding of possible consequences.
     
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  5. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Dangerous Ideas?

    How about Utilitarianism. Because, according to Utilitarianism, Gang Rape is okay.
     
  6. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    How so?
     
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  7. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Because it's good for the greater number.

    9 Gang Rapists
    1 Rape Victim
     
  8. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    Does "Good" really come from raping someone? Utilitarianism often refers to the greaest happiness, I see no genuine happiness for anyone involved there, momentary release or power trip for the rapists perhaps but not happiness, and a lot of unhappiness would result in the victim and those that care for them (maybe most of the population).
     
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  9. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    You may not see the happiness there, but 9 rapists do.
    It's entirely subjective.
     
  10. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    Interesting, I have no idea what a rapist feels but I have a hard time believing it comes close to genuine happiness.
     
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  11. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Well, I do agree with you. But I tend to play devil's advocate in a discussion. I don't see how rape can make someone happy, but I have my own definition of happy and so do other people. Usually, those of us (the majority in our society) who are by definition and to a degree "well-adjusted" are repulsed at the idea of violating and harming other people...thus laws are written and acted upon in defense of those who would be violated or harmed by those who get their jollies being brutal.

    But what if you have a society of people who are by definition, mentally ill and who do enjoy violating and harming people? Then I guess in that society it is considered moral to take advantage of those weaker unassuming individuals.

    What is genuine happiness?
     
  12. Tarakini

    Tarakini Guest

    Dance of the celestial realms

    True happiness does not feel a desire or need or compellation to harm or enforce it's ways upon others by force. It dances it's own dance, but forces it's dance on no one. I've heard it described as the dance of the celestial realms. :mhula:
     
  13. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    I see your point, you highlight how our "morals" come form someplace other than the utilitarian view. The ability to know right from wrong comes from someplace else, so I suppose in the case of those who are unable to make the same distinctions as most of us, then the idea is dangerous as it could contribute to them feeling justified?

    Well, that is for a whole other discussion I think, but I see your point. I was just trying to understand how within the context of that situation it was the "idea" that was dangerous and not the motivation.
     
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  14. PoetOfDreams

    PoetOfDreams Shadow Queen

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    Is this like having to build an AI then? ( artificial intelligence)

    I think it is impossible to do so because human alone don't know the complexity of our minds. The human mind can have so many components. Some minds can be hay-wired to believe about one thing. (brainwashing) And, in the same minds, they are able to reason against it. Also, all the emotions that a mind can express. It is not so easy to just calculate it in to a formula and then transfer it to a machine.

    Ok, there is my 2 cents of non-sense and gibberish.
     
  15. Duty

    Duty Permanent Fixture

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    Do you think that humanity is "special?"

    Special implies some kind of meaning. I don't believe there is any such thing as inherent, objective meaning as a property of matter, let alone a conceptualized set of matter such as humans. So objectively, no, I don't think humanity is special in any way.

    Subjectively, for the paradigms and meaning I've chosen to put on the world, I'd say we are special in some ways.

    Do we have a purpose, or are we just accidents along the evolutionary chain, a "biological phenomenon?"

    We certainly don't have a "purpose" other then the ones we give ourselves.

    We aren't an "accident" in the evolutionary chain either. Accident implies that there is some purpose otherwise, which just isn't applicable in this case. It's more accurate to just say humanity "is" or "it DID happen," rather then "it accidentally happened" or the like.


    More importantly, if we are just accidents, what effect would that knowledge have on mankind?

    It would certainly result in a little less ego. However, I don't think it would have any major effects.

    Do you think we're better off considering ourselves to be something greater than we really are?

    No. We're best just acknowledging things for what they are, and then dealing with that.

    Is man comparable to a machine?

    In some ways we are. We use the same logic...Boolean gates and the like. Machines lack intuition though...they can't relate concepts nearly as well, they can't see patterns except the ones we input into it, etc.

    Could our rationality really be recreated in a machine?

    Currently no, the full extent of the brain's capabilities can't be replicated. In the future, I can't say for certain because I don't know the future.

    Would it be possible to create a sense of not only rationality, but also human emotion and spirituality?

    I can't say for certain, but I suspect no, as emotion is just an extension of instinct and bias to help us survive in the jungle. I suspect that human "spirituality" is just a need to relieve psychological needs. You could program a computer to give "spiritual" responses to certain inputs, but that's far from the computer "needing" spirituality.

    What effects would this have on mankind?

    Can't say for certain, I suspect little.

    Would it be constructive or destructive? Should we attempt to undertake this, even if we can foresee adverse effects?

    I see no reason not to try this. We can't know the adverse effects until we perform the experiment in this case.
     
  16. OP
    gloomy-optimist

    gloomy-optimist Used to live here

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    Here's another thing to consider: let's say mankind worked to genetically perfect itself. Y'know, less disease, longer lifespan, better bodies, less violence, etc.

    What would happen if this was to be? Would this be positive for the world in the long run? Not just society -- economically, ecologically, politically, scientifically, religiously, etc.

    Would steps would we have to take politically to keep our ever-growing populations under control? How would we keep everyone happy if everyone was on the same level of perfect? Could we have the good if we don't have the bad to outweigh it?

    Is this a good idea, all things considered? It sounds nice, but what would the consequences be?


    And I was wondering if you'd get involved, Duty :D I was curious to see what your answers would be.
     
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  17. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    In a perfect scenario, life would be boring. I mean, everything would be right, stable, static. Anything in the world that is static is boring. I mean, imagine if the universe was static!
     
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  18. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    It wouldn't be boring if you were perfect.

    Original topic: new/different life isn't a bad thing. Even if we became extinct, this isn't any big problem and won't make any difference in what will eventually happen to each individual human.
     
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