The Ur-Quan Masters Discussion Forum

The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release => Starbase Café => Topic started by: SweetSassyMolassy on August 19, 2010, 01:22:13 am



Title: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: SweetSassyMolassy on August 19, 2010, 01:22:13 am
In the spirit of not letting the forum die as one topic poster previously seemed to be worried about, how about a cliche question that may or may not have been discussed  on the forum already?


Can computers be made to have feelings?

I think the better question is: will increasing computer power more and more result in emergent behavior -not necessary an emotion-based behavior- but some type of behavior beyond our predictive powers? I guess there's really  no way of getting a definite answer to that question but if you'd like to try to answer it please do.

A related question is what the meaning intelligence is, and whether it's simply a function of processor power.

Do you think the "Chinese Room" thought experiment is correct? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room

I've spoken to some with high scientific qualifications who believe that current supercomputers possess the intelligence of mice, and that it's only a matter of time before computers have the intelligence of people. They fully implied that computers could have abilities like self-awareness and consciousness. What do you think of that?

Interested to hear everyone's opinion...


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Admiral Zeratul on August 19, 2010, 05:10:13 am
For the purposes a computer is intended for, consciousness and self-awareness are hardly necessary. Machine intelligence is fundamentally different. Our brains use electrical transmissions, to be sure, but the way our brains process that information is far different from the way a computer works. In theory, a duplicate of the human brain could be built, but, at current technology levels, the network of computers to make the number of links required to mimic the way it functions would have to be so immense, the structure used to house it would be impossibly large.

Think of it this way. If an algorithm allowed a robot sniper to react instantaneously and shoot targets 100% accurately whereas even the most skilled human equivalents could not, should anyone care to make said robots more like us? Personally, I think people should be focusing on taking advantage of the advantages computers already have. We'd be able to keep them as slaves for as long as we wanted; they would not have the feelings to care. Hence why making the Androsynth was such a bad idea. Robots are more obedient.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Defender on August 19, 2010, 06:06:29 am
A  T-800 would like to have a word with you...


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Alvarin on August 19, 2010, 07:33:12 am
You might want to look up on Youtube videos of two branches - evolved virtual creatures and newral networks. from combination of the two, with enough work, true AI could emerge, I think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2lSPg2kY-c ---> Just random one, follow related and read descriptions and comments. It's fairly obvious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmPJeKRs8gE --> same thind, second branch.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Admiral Zeratul on August 19, 2010, 07:41:42 am
That is promising development, but I do remember saying "at current technology levels". Just in case, we may want to avoid making the first sentient robots combat-capable, lest they turn on their masters as they have in so many science fiction films.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Alvarin on August 19, 2010, 08:00:04 am
Both simulations are current technology. It will only take  longer (probably, much longer)  to evolve AI physically. But it still is current tech.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Death 999 on August 19, 2010, 04:35:38 pm
Can they be made to feel? Yes. We are, at root, implemented in matter just like they are. Can it happen by accident? No, not really. It'd be quite an effort. The neural networks and such would be a start, but it'll be a long road, and we can't be sure when we've gotten there.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: onpon4 on August 19, 2010, 06:52:12 pm
Sure, computers can be made to feel, but there's no reason to. They can solve problems with absolute logic just fine, and besides, implementing emotions could start a cybernetic revolt.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: SweetSassyMolassy on August 19, 2010, 11:32:16 pm
the way our brains process that information is far different from the way a computer works.

That's true, and it brings up a really good point. I think the technical word for what you're describing is "qualia". Human beings interpret their sensory inputs differently than computers. Qualia is the word that describes what is fed to those sensory inputs. Human beings and computers have completely different reactions to qualia.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Valos Cor on September 22, 2010, 04:11:22 am
This is a hard question...if you think about it one way, they can't.  They get sensory input and they compute an output.  They just run the script, not make it.  Then again...I read in Seed Magazines about Project Blue Brain (2008) where they were trying to build a computer from the bottom up.  They'd input neuron interactions and behaviors on a huge scale (of a small "slice" of a mouse's brain) and then they'd try to simulate it.

 Long story short: they eventually had a sort of small network where the neuron's came together and fired their communications with remarkable timing and accuracy. (they plan on having like a sort of robot mouse so that the computer had a robot to get sensory input and move around.  They even said that if it works, it will be a great discovery.  If doesn't, then the question would be: "Why? What are we missing?")  Basically, they're still code.  Yet, one could argue that so are we.  One could argue that we are not (but that is not the discussion here).  Though, it did take HUGE amounts of power, and humans only run on, what?  10-20 watts?  Our brains aren't the size of a house.  Though, at the rate technology is speeding along, maybe soon.

The thing is, what's the point?  Do we really need artificial intelligence to do everything for us?  I mean, human intelligence tasks can be done by humans, so who needs self-aware robots?

I agree.  If we ARE going to make self-aware computers, perhaps we should firewall it and make it immobile and unarmed?

Oh, and make like no capability for network access whatsoever (neither can us humans so its fair) because a software firewall won't exactly work on a computer that can click its own "buttons", will it?


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Death 999 on September 22, 2010, 05:45:44 pm
Why should we? Well, it gets really interesting if we can go a step further and take a particular mind and reimplement it in silico. Then we're looking at effective immortality.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: onpon4 on September 22, 2010, 09:04:04 pm
Why should we? Well, it gets really interesting if we can go a step further and take a particular mind and reimplement it in silico. Then we're looking at effective immortality.

The thing is, though, while the artificial copy would be the same, wouldn't the original still be mortal? It's not like consciousness would be transferred from the old brain to the new brain. So while the machine will retain all the memories, experiences, personality, etc of the person, the person him/herself will still experience death.

But that brings me into another point: What would happen if the brain was somehow brought back to life in another body after the person dies? The old energy consumption would be over, so assuming memories, personality, etc are retained, wouldn't it technically be a different entity exactly resembling the original? This is veering off topic a bit, so I'll end it there, but it's an interesting question.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Valos Cor on September 22, 2010, 10:37:28 pm
Why should we? Well, it gets really interesting if we can go a step further and take a particular mind and reimplement it in silico. Then we're looking at effective immortality.
Yes, thats right.  However, its only effective immortality for the robotic "clone".  Imagine waking up one day and finding out that you're a robotic clone and that you are in no way the real you and you're the only one that is absolutely convinced that you're you.  Valos Cor, look that up.  That is in reference to Stargate SG-1 where they had robotic clones ( in the episode "Double Jeopardy" for example)
The thing is, though, while the artificial copy would be the same, wouldn't the original still be mortal? It's not like consciousness would be transferred from the old brain to the new brain. So while the machine will retain all the memories, experiences, personality, etc of the person, the person him/herself will still experience death.
I agree.  If I were to be immortal, I hope I suddenly find myself to be the copy, and not the original.  To see a robot with your consiousness - and essentially, is you - and die anyway isn't immortality.  


In Stargate, they had a race called the Asgard who cloned themselves mindless bodies and downloaded their consiousness into the new body.  I don't know how they did it.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: onpon4 on September 23, 2010, 02:01:20 am
I agree.  If I were to be immortal, I hope I suddenly find myself to be the copy, and not the original.  To see a robot with your consiousness - and essentially, is you - and die anyway isn't immortality.  

Actually, I think it would be cool for my personality to live on forever, even if I didn't myself become the copy. Imagine knowing that your great-great-great-great grandchildren will have a chance to talk to you and get to know you. ;D Not to mention, you living forever means your projects live forever.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Alvarin on September 23, 2010, 02:10:25 am
To live forever is one of the scariest things i can think of - just imagine the boredom after say 300 years...


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Novus on September 23, 2010, 09:33:36 am
To live forever is one of the scariest things i can think of - just imagine the boredom after say 300 years...
I've never quite understood this attitude. Assuming you stay in good mental and physical health (which is quite a big assumption), why would living forever be boring? There's plenty to see and do in this world already, and in 300 years one would expect enough societal change to keep things fresh.

Now, living as a helpless brain in a jar forever, that is just creepy.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: onpon4 on September 23, 2010, 12:20:09 pm
To live forever is one of the scariest things i can think of - just imagine the boredom after say 300 years...
I've never quite understood this attitude. Assuming you stay in good mental and physical health (which is quite a big assumption), why would living forever be boring? There's plenty to see and do in this world already, and in 300 years one would expect enough societal change to keep things fresh.

Now, living as a helpless brain in a jar forever, that is just creepy.

This is my attitude. As long as other humans continue to exist, and you can do things, life wouldn't get boring. I'm sure there will be plenty of video games, and you can of course learn new things during your infinite life. Of course, once humans go extinct, unless you have enough knowledge to keep everything going (or the infrastructure is self-sustaining, which would be sweet), life would probably get boring, but if/when that happens, what's stopping you from ending your life?


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Death 999 on September 23, 2010, 06:49:12 pm
However, its only effective immortality for the robotic "clone".

Yeah, but I figure I'm a pattern of thought. If that pattern continues, I'm alive somewhere. See Accelerando or Glasshouse, by Charlie Stross. Lots of characters being multiply instanced, there.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: SweetSassyMolassy on September 23, 2010, 07:52:01 pm
To live forever is one of the scariest things i can think of - just imagine the boredom after say 300 years...
I've never quite understood this attitude. Assuming you stay in good mental and physical health (which is quite a big assumption), why would living forever be boring? There's plenty to see and do in this world already, and in 300 years one would expect enough societal change to keep things fresh.

Now, living as a helpless brain in a jar forever, that is just creepy.

Forever is a pretty long time. Much longer than 300 years.
The strong possibility of the extinction of the species evenutally would turn me off to living forever. Also, when the universe starts to melt away at 10^50 years or whatever and you're living in a big void, I think you've probably seen enough.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Lukipela on September 23, 2010, 08:22:17 pm
I think a big thing would be if there are other immortals around. After the third or so time the love of your life, your best friend and everyone you care about including your children die off things would probably get a tad depressing.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: onpon4 on September 23, 2010, 09:06:25 pm
To live forever is one of the scariest things i can think of - just imagine the boredom after say 300 years...
I've never quite understood this attitude. Assuming you stay in good mental and physical health (which is quite a big assumption), why would living forever be boring? There's plenty to see and do in this world already, and in 300 years one would expect enough societal change to keep things fresh.

Now, living as a helpless brain in a jar forever, that is just creepy.

Forever is a pretty long time. Much longer than 300 years.
The strong possibility of the extinction of the species evenutally would turn me off to living forever. Also, when the universe starts to melt away at 10^50 years or whatever and you're living in a big void, I think you've probably seen enough.

It wouldn't be possible to be made unkillable. Effectively, you would be killed when your body can no longer function (consume energy), just like any biological body. Like I said, when it becomes pointless to live anymore, you can kill yourself. What's stopping you?


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Valos Cor on September 23, 2010, 10:18:35 pm
Forever is a pretty long time. Much longer than 300 years.
The strong possibility of the extinction of the species evenutally would turn me off to living forever. Also, when the universe starts to melt away at 10^50 years or whatever and you're living in a big void, I think you've probably seen enough.
I don't understand.  Why does it melt in 10^50 years? 

I think life will stay pretty interesting even after several hundred years.  I DO hope my future spouse will be able to live forever as well.  Well, if the species die...what's to stop you from operating the factories (or make your own) that humans used to operate and - in the course of several years, build your own starship, supply it, and go exploring for another species?  Go from planet to planet, returning of course to check up on your factories or resupply, until you find a sentient species.

Also, its not like a species lives only for a short period.  It may take humanity a few million years, but imagine the species you'd find (like Star Control *hint* *hint*).  There's a good chance they'd take a while to die off, and a few million years probably takes a while to burn off.  In a helpless jar (or life support system) with only the brain... yeah, that WOULD be creepy... no eyes, no ears, no nose, nothing, nothing to do but think. I think the brain would just mentally die or go crazy.








Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: ziper1221 on September 23, 2010, 10:50:38 pm
Forever is a pretty long time. Much longer than 300 years.
The strong possibility of the extinction of the species evenutally would turn me off to living forever. Also, when the universe starts to melt away at 10^50 years or whatever and you're living in a big void, I think you've probably seen enough.
I don't understand.  Why does it melt in 10^50 years? 
Some annoying rules in the laws of physics.

A few hundred thousand years would nice but forever? I hope not. Unless you prove their is no beyond...


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Valos Cor on September 23, 2010, 11:01:06 pm
If there was no beyond, then definitely forever. Definitely.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: onpon4 on September 23, 2010, 11:05:06 pm
The problem is, it wouldn't be possible to live "forever", because as soon as you find yourself unable to find an energy source, you would die. It's not that complicated of a concept. "Forever" really just means "as long as I want", or maybe "as long as humans exist".


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Admiral Zeratul on September 23, 2010, 11:09:04 pm
I agree.  If I were to be immortal, I hope I suddenly find myself to be the copy, and not the original.  To see a robot with your consiousness - and essentially, is you - and die anyway isn't immortality.  

Actually, I think it would be cool for my personality to live on forever, even if I didn't myself become the copy. Imagine knowing that your great-great-great-great grandchildren will have a chance to talk to you and get to know you. ;D Not to mention, you living forever means your projects live forever.

One word: Mycon!

Also, this topic has mutated horribly. I am splitting this thread once again.
http://forum.uqm.stack.nl/index.php?topic=4859.0


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: ziper1221 on September 24, 2010, 12:18:49 am
not like the 7 people on this board care


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: SweetSassyMolassy on September 24, 2010, 03:23:44 am
To live forever is one of the scariest things i can think of - just imagine the boredom after say 300 years...
I've never quite understood this attitude. Assuming you stay in good mental and physical health (which is quite a big assumption), why would living forever be boring? There's plenty to see and do in this world already, and in 300 years one would expect enough societal change to keep things fresh.

Now, living as a helpless brain in a jar forever, that is just creepy.

Forever is a pretty long time. Much longer than 300 years.
The strong possibility of the extinction of the species evenutally would turn me off to living forever. Also, when the universe starts to melt away at 10^50 years or whatever and you're living in a big void, I think you've probably seen enough.

It wouldn't be possible to be made unkillable. Effectively, you would be killed when your body can no longer function (consume energy), just like any biological body. Like I said, when it becomes pointless to live anymore, you can kill yourself. What's stopping you?

You may have said that, but I was responding to Novus who asked why living forever would be boring. If you really live forever, then that means you can't die. You can't have both.

Living as long as you want on the other hand would be great.


Title: Re: Can computers be made to feel?
Post by: Novus on September 24, 2010, 07:52:36 am
Living as long as you want on the other hand would be great.
I agree, although I admittedly didn't express myself clearly. I also agree that it may be theoretically impossible for physical reasons to continue to live forever in any sense due to lack of energy to do anything (e.g. think) with; if thermodynamics work the way we expect the universe will slow down to a halt if it doesn't implode or something before that.

On a more practical timescale, though (something that plausibly could happen in our lifetimes), even with "old age" and most diseases eliminated, accidental death would probably get you after a few thousand years (guesstimated from about 6% of deaths being accidental). That said, improved medical care would probably also render more injuries survivable.