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Author Topic: What is the cause of self-awareness?  (Read 17521 times)
Deus Siddis
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2007, 02:48:47 pm »

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Emotions are, in a sense, the motivation that humans have to do anything; if they weren't motivated to move, they probably wouldn't develop into intelligent beings.

And that is why we are not just computers. Computers do not need to be motivated.

Also, what is your definition of "intelligent beings", specifically?


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Computers have one motivation: "Been booted, work for human."

They have no motivation, they are just a bunch of chain reactions going off. The computer does not think "must work for human" like a robot in a b-movie, it just operates, just as a bicycle does when you provide it with mechanical energy. I know this sounds obvious, but it is an important distinction, none the less.


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A truly intelligent and adaptable computer would probably have more... and they would probably be a lot more like emotions.

But why? Why would it need to be able to feel and be subject to emotional influences? How does this make it more intelligent?

And how do you create a machine that actually feels in the first place?
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Death 999
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2007, 03:40:53 pm »

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Emotions are, in a sense, the motivation that humans have to do anything; if they weren't motivated to move, they probably wouldn't develop into intelligent beings.

And that is why we are not just computers. Computers do not need to be motivated.

Do computers need to  help us browse the web? No.

Unless you mean computers need to do what we program them to, in which case, yes. And thus, if we figure out how to tell them to want things for themselves and make decisions and so on... then it won't be unnecessary any more.

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Computers have one motivation: "Been booted, work for human."

They have no motivation, they are just a bunch of chain reactions going off.

Looked at that level, then that is exactly what we are. It is useless to consider this question on that level.

But why? Why would it need to be able to feel and be subject to emotional influences? How does this make it more intelligent?

He probably meant 'self-aware', or 'sapient', which is what we've been talking about.

And how do you create a machine that actually feels in the first place?

Well, that's a trick; but clearly there is some way we do it; at the very least, they could emulate our method.
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Deus Siddis
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2007, 11:29:16 pm »

Death_999
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And thus, if we figure out how to tell them to want things for themselves and make decisions and so on... then it won't be unnecessary any more.

And I am sure you can use Mathematics to create methods for determining when they should feel or 'want' something or how much to want it, but trying to create feelings using science. . .I am not sure how that makes sense. There are a lot of things you can describe with mathematics, but I do not think happiness or pain or anger or the way any other emotion feels can be made into a program. Triggers of these emotions probably, but not the feelings themselves.


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Looked at that level, then that is exactly what we are.

That is a relatively bold statement considering how little we know of ourselves and our brains. It might be more accurate to say that we see some similar activity in our own brain matter.

Keep in mind that every computer on this planet has been built by us. We as a species know about every single part. Our own brain we are not even close to fully understanding. We have built computers that can do some of the same tasks using similar and completely different methods, but we are nowhere near being able to build a human brain, not even out of materials we have more experience with.


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He probably meant 'self-aware', or 'sapient', which is what we've been talking about.

People have to learn to be self-aware, that term does not fit either. Sapient also does not work as there are other advanced species that are like us, even if they lack hands or communcation skills as good as ours (either way and it is basically no technology for you.)

That was not really what I was talking about though. I was asking how does being able to feel things make you more intelligent? Not talking about how emotions are triggered or what reactions the specimen exibits when they are, I am talking about the act of feeling itself, and how it supposedly makes a superior intelligence that is more adaptive and competitive than a computer/brain that skips this emotional middleman.

(Just for clarity's sake, I am asking this as an agnostic with a firm belief in evolution, so no need to move from the current 'spiritual' territory into a 'religious' tangent discussion or anything.)


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Well, that's a trick; but clearly there is some way we do it; at the very least, they could emulate our method.

If it were clear, this thread probably would not be here in the first place.

But I think this much is clear- the human brain has the ability to calculate when to trigger which emotional feeling and how much of an emotional influence to use for that situation. And we probably should be able to create from scratch or emulate from an existing example, this much.

But how an emotion feels and creating this out of numbers. . .if even remotely possible, is far from clear I think it is safe to say.
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Elvish Pillager
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2007, 11:42:54 pm »

People have to learn to be self-aware, that term does not fit either. Sapient also does not work as there are other advanced species that are like us, even if they lack hands or communcation skills as good as ours (either way and it is basically no technology for you.)
Those properties were kind of the point. "self-aware" and "sapient" fit what I was saying rather well.

But how an emotion feels and creating this out of numbers. . .if even remotely possible, is far from clear I think it is safe to say.
An emotion is basically a chemical imbalance in the brain, which affects all the neurons and makes them behave somewhat differently.

This should be fairly easy to replicate in a neural-net-based computer.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2007, 10:09:14 am »

An emotion is basically a chemical imbalance in the brain, which affects all the neurons and makes them behave somewhat differently.

This should be fairly easy to replicate in a neural-net-based computer.
Unless he is talking about the experience of an emotion, which I guess is part of the self-awareness issue.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2007, 11:57:58 am »

There is no reason to believe that anything that matches the physical effects of an emotion would not also match the "experience" of the emotion.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #36 on: February 27, 2007, 02:12:59 pm »

Quote from: Elvish Pillager
There is no reason to believe that anything that matches the physical effects of an emotion would not also match the "experience" of the emotion.
Still, Elvish, your belief is really strange. Why would this be true? What mysterious property does matter have which gives it feelings?

Plus, consider the moral implications of the non-existence of the soul. If we are guided only by the deterministic reasoning of our brains - eventually with some randomness added - we are not responsible for our actions, because we couldn't do otherwise! We would have no free-will, and good and evil wouldn't exist.
Of course, if you say that we GET to choose, then you say that matter also has a mysterious property of disobeying the laws of physics! (According to which, the brain will act always the same or almost the same under the same conditions - and by almost I refer to the slight intervention of luck in the equation)
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Deus Siddis
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2007, 03:39:22 pm »

Elvish_Pillager
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Those properties were kind of the point. "self-aware" and "sapient" fit what I was saying rather well.

Yes but they are a tangent from the current discussion because a "Spirit" or "Soul" does not need to be either of those things. What proof is there that new-born babies or fetuses are aware of themselves? They seem to just react to their emotions and what they observe going on around them. How self-aware are you in a deep sleep? This is irrelevant to the core question.


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An emotion is basically a chemical imbalance in the brain, which affects all the neurons and makes them behave somewhat differently.

You seem to be side-stepping what I was saying. I think you are stuck on how the emotions are triggered. The brain structure/chemicals/activity has a huge influence on how our emotions are triggered, so there is no argument there. But the emotions that we 'feel' or 'experience' are what I am talking about.


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There is no reason to believe that anything that matches the physical effects of an emotion would not also match the "experience" of the emotion.

Perhaps, but this is another tangent if I understood you correctly. For all we know, if you create a machine with an exact structural and functional design to that of the human brain, it could just become a 'host' or 'vessel' for a 'spirit' or 'soul'. Same thing could go for anything else that seems to show the 'symptoms' of having emotions, though this seems unlikely in some possible scenarios (like a machine that is designed to only mimick us in everyway, but nothing more.)


Novus
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Unless he is talking about the experience of an emotion, which I guess is part of the self-awareness issue.

Yes that is it, only I am not talking about self-awareness in addition to that, I am only talking about the feelings.


Valaggar
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Plus, consider the moral implications of the non-existence of the soul. If we are guided only by the deterministic reasoning of our brains - eventually with some randomness added - we are not responsible for our actions, because we couldn't do otherwise! We would have no free-will, and good and evil wouldn't exist.

Moral implications, what are you talking about? Should we be designing our understanding of reality based on what we believe or feel is moral or should we really just be looking for what is there? You make it sound as though we are designing our own universe and need to do so responsibly, when we are really just trying to figure out what are the rules for this one.

And 'good' and 'evil' have nothign to do with this topic. They are matters of personal opinion as everyone has their own definition, they are not physical laws or anything similar, and most importantly they do not make the existance of spirits/souls any more/less likely.
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Death 999
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2007, 07:20:41 pm »

What mysterious property does matter have which gives it feelings?

As previously stated, it's the immensely complex structure called the 'brain', which maintains elaborate networks and updates based on a wide variety of inputs.


Plus, consider the moral implications of the non-existence of the soul.

Wait. That's not right. You mean, the moral implications of the soul being implemented in matter.

If we are guided only by the deterministic reasoning of our brains - eventually with some randomness added - we are not responsible for our actions, because we couldn't do otherwise! We would have no free-will, and good and evil wouldn't exist.

We are a learning system. You can hold such things responsible even... nay, especially in a deterministic environment.

Of course, if you say that we GET to choose, then you say that matter also has a mysterious property of disobeying the laws of physics!

You didn't read what I said about free will, did you? Free will is not the ability to do otherwise. it is a description of the process which led to the decision.
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #39 on: February 27, 2007, 08:59:14 pm »

Quote from: Deus_Siddis
Moral implications, what are you talking about? Should we be designing our understanding of reality based on what we believe or feel is moral or should we really just be looking for what is there? You make it sound as though we are designing our own universe and need to do so responsibly, when we are really just trying to figure out what are the rules for this one.

And 'good' and 'evil' have nothign to do with this topic. They are matters of personal opinion as everyone has their own definition, they are not physical laws or anything similar, and most importantly they do not make the existance of spirits/souls any more/less likely.

True, they are not physical laws, but ethical principles/conventions. In everyday life, we use this concepts a lot, and we shouldn't if we had no free-will to be responsible for good or evil.
And of course, this subject is going a bit off-topic, so I won't press unto it.

Quote from: Death 999
We are a learning system. You can hold such things responsible even... nay, especially in a deterministic environment.
You can't be responsible for something you did forcibly. If someone held a gun by your head and ordered you to put fire on a house, you choose the only option that makes sense, so you can't be blamed for it.
You probably want to say that punishment is good because it gives feedback to the learning system which is ourselves, such that it won't repeat the same mistake. Well, strange learning system, since there are occassions when you pick an action very mistakenly, and aware of this, because of your feelings.

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Emotions are, in a sense, the motivation that humans have to do anything; if they weren't motivated to move, they probably wouldn't develop into intelligent beings.
Why need to be motivated? Motivation is for beings that have emotions. Motivation means that you try to stimulate the feelings of a person to do something. So simply, we don't need emotions. We would be far more efficient without them. As I stated above, emotions can affect your reasoning.

Quote from: Death 999
Quote from: Valaggar on Today at 02:12:59 pm
What mysterious property does matter have which gives it feelings?

As previously stated, it's the immensely complex structure called the 'brain', which maintains elaborate networks and updates based on a wide variety of inputs.
As Deus_Siddis said, you are confusing the material foundation/cause of a feeling and the "feeling" part of a feeling. Complexity is not enough, complexity only helps the reasoning, not the emotional part.
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Death 999
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #40 on: February 27, 2007, 09:51:28 pm »

Quote from: Death 999
We are a learning system. You can hold such things responsible even... nay, especially in a deterministic environment.
You can't be responsible for something you did forcibly. If someone held a gun by your head and ordered you to put fire on a house, you choose the only option that makes sense, so you can't be blamed for it.

That, as you say, is not free will. However, its failure to be free will has nothing to do with determinism.

You probably want to say that punishment is good because it gives feedback to the learning system which is ourselves, such that it won't repeat the same mistake. Well, strange learning system, since there are occassions when you pick an action very mistakenly, and aware of this, because of your feelings.

I wouldn't argue that, not directly. I would say that since we are best modelled as having free will, punishment is a sensible concept. Again, the gun-to-head example terminates free will without bringing in determinacy.

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Emotions are, in a sense, the motivation that humans have to do anything; if they weren't motivated to move, they probably wouldn't develop into intelligent beings.
Why need to be motivated? Motivation is for beings that have emotions. Motivation means that you try to stimulate the feelings of a person to do something.

That's not what motivation is. Motivation is the part of an entity with free will that chooses what to want and act towards.

So simply, we don't need emotions. We would be far more efficient without them. As I stated above, emotions can affect your reasoning.

But if we didn't have emotions, what would be the purpose of efficiency?

Quote from: Valaggar
Quote from: Death 999
Quote from: Valaggar
What mysterious property does matter have which gives it feelings?
As previously stated, it's the immensely complex structure called the 'brain', which maintains elaborate networks and updates based on a wide variety of inputs.
As Deus_Siddis said, you are confusing the material foundation/cause of a feeling and the "feeling" part of a feeling. Complexity is not enough, complexity only helps the reasoning, not the emotional part.

Well, thank you for telling me I'm so confused when you haven't asked your question clearly. It's not quite http://xkcd.com/c169.html territory, but it's getting there.

You mean how does a subjective experience arise from a configuration of matter. I ask, instead, how could it possibly not arise when the matter actually implements one?
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Elvish Pillager
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #41 on: February 27, 2007, 11:54:03 pm »

You guys are getting out of hand. Undecided
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #42 on: February 28, 2007, 03:16:02 am »

Death_999
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But if we didn't have emotions, what would be the purpose of efficiency?

What are you saying, that we have a purpose and that it is to experience life through emotions (like in a form of creationism or something?) Life is not a gaming console, it is not there for entertainment. It is the product of Evolution, which is something that does not have a purpose. If something is more efficient then it is going to have a serious advantage when it comes to survival.


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You mean how does a subjective experience arise from a configuration of matter. I ask, instead, how could it possibly not arise when the matter actually implements one?

Matter can affect more than just other matter. It can also affect things in a very indirect way, like how seeing someone that you care about get hurt, causes you to feel a kind of pain as well. There is no direct matter connection here, but the message crosses the gap.

So the matter could just be a part of the trigger system that fires off the emotions, whatever they actually are, in a similar fashion.

Death_999
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Well, thank you for telling me I'm so confused when you haven't asked your question clearly. It's not quite http://xkcd.com/c169.html territory, but it's getting there.

OMG, that is not just a forum avatar, that is what he really is!!! Shocked


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Elvish_Pillager
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You guys are getting out of hand.

Apparently that must be your "Elvish" side talking. Smiley
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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #43 on: February 28, 2007, 02:32:03 pm »


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I suggest a new strategy Valaggar, let the Kohr-Ah win.

Well, that wouldn't be fun Wink

Anyway, imho matter can't have been existing allways (an eternal thing is plainly not phyisical), nor can't have created itself. Or we would be jumping into something that is not matter, but a concept related with perfection, 'full perfection', which is far away from what science can explain. I doubt it'll explain it ever.Yet though, the universe has such a load of reality partially or not even explained/discovered/seen by human science...Too often has been a bad move to deny something as possible just cause science doesn't see it in that very moment.

BTW, sorry for appearing now, I know I said I'd make that hi res sprite for the human spaceship , cant remember the name...for that graphic enhacement thread...

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Re: What is the cause of self-awareness?
« Reply #44 on: February 28, 2007, 03:41:35 pm »

It is the product of Evolution, which is something that does not have a purpose. If something is more efficient then it is going to have a serious advantage when it comes to survival.

Yeah. I know. What I was getting at was that emotions are necessary for action at all. Emotions are the root hooks of our intelligence, the things that make us do what we need to do to do well in evolution.
I was doing it via Reductio Ad Absurdum. If that wasn't clear, then I'm sorry for the confusion.

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You mean how does a subjective experience arise from a configuration of matter. I ask, instead, how could it possibly not arise when the matter actually implements one?

Matter can affect more than just other matter. It can also affect things in a very indirect way, like how seeing someone that you care about get hurt, causes you to feel a kind of pain as well. There is no direct matter connection here, but the message crosses the gap.

 Undecided
There is no gap, which is what I've been saying. The matter is the implementation. If you change the matter, you change the state of what it implies. Just as if you take the sentence
"There is now a cow in my room"
and change it to
"There is not a cow in my room"
You haven't just changed a letter, you've also changed the MEANING.

So the matter could just be a part of the trigger system that fires off the emotions, whatever they actually are, in a similar fashion.

Where do those emotions 'live' if not in our matter?

OMG, that is not just a forum avatar, that is what he really is!!! Shocked

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Cheesy
Beating me is fine. Blaming me for interpreting what was said as meaning what was actually said... that's not so happy-making. I promise not to hurt you, even if you do either.


Anyway, imho matter can't have been existing allways (an eternal thing is plainly not phyisical)

Why?


, nor can't have created itself.

The ground state of the universe is not empty. If the initial state were empty, it would quickly change to be full. So, if you are really thorough with your nothingness, much more thorough than the vacuum presently is, then yes - something would most certainly arise from nothing.

But this is an aside. What does it have to do with self-awareness?

Too often has been a bad move to deny something as possible just cause science doesn't see it in that very moment.

The irony of combining this statement with your previous one is amusing.
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