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What do we owe sentient machines? 
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
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AI's limit would always be to mimic emotion. Nothing more.


Initially they will mimic emotional responses. I don't think AI will ever need emotion, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Humans have emotions to influence our actions, in the direction of greater survivability. Guilt, shame, love, fear. We need this to survive, as evolutionarily stable strategies are only undertaken via the influence of our emotions(in general, of course). The same behavior can arises from systems without emotion. Emotion works, we wouldn't be here without it, but there are other mechanisms for altruistic behavior control.

I'd venture to say that the behavior control system for AI would be an upgrade from emotion.


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Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:00 pm
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
Lets look at emotions for a second.

Winning the lottery is not in itself enough to make a person elated.

First they have to understand that they won.

Emotions are biochemical reactions to things which we understand consciously.

Why do we feel shame? We check our situation against the way we believe things ought to be. Whether that be our percieved inferiority in looks or sports or financial achievement, or we can judge that we have exceeded expectations and be proud, or that we have nothing to be ashamed of. in all these cases, it is comparing the status of some thing against some standard and measuring the result. Shame does not encompass all failures, though. For an honest best effort that still falls short can still be a proud moment.

Some emotions serve social roles, such as crying and laughing, and then they also serve physical needs such as fear, which lets us tap into reserves of physical energy and sensory acuity.

Sentient machines will probably not have the biochemical responses engineered into their systems, but they certainly will have the intellectual cross checking processes in them that lead to our own outward expression of emotion.

A sentient machine, in essence, will also know whether it should feel pride or shame. It will have no adrenaline to express pride, nor blood to pump to it's cheeks, but the realisation will be real and determinate.

In other words, though lacking the biochemical response, it really will have the equivalent of emotion.


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Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:40 am
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
johnson1010 wrote:
Quote:
AI's limit would always be to mimic emotion. Nothing more.


"Always"? Certainly now that is the case. No pre-scripted character of skyrim actually has emotions. They are performing the tricks that the programmers intended them to perform.

But how do you impose that limitation on a future AI which perfectly duplicates human experience?

Take the example of a computer back-up of a person's mind. If it is perfectly running a copy of, say, your mother's mind, when it tells you it's lonely what do you have to say about that?

It's just pretending to be lonely?

What separates your set of interconnected chemical receptors from an equally powerful and complex machine’s set of interconnected chemical receptors?

In that case, both your neural net, and the computer’s processors are working with equally complex systems. Both are powered through a form of electricity. Both are comprised of chemical compounds.

Why the special privilege of your emotions being real, and the computer’s being fake?

You are both chemical machines. Your brain arose from evolution, the computer’s brain arose from human construction. But does the simple fact that we created it mean that we can ignore the fact that it weeps?

Does the fact that you created your children mean you can abuse them without consequence?

Mind you, I am not talking about a scripted set of responses, designed to fool people into thinking they are talking to a human. I’m not talking about video game avatars with a total set of 20 possible responses pre-determined by user actions.

I am talking about a fully sentient, thinking artificial intelligence. One that has to suss out answers to changing input. One that learns how to behave, learns how to create, learns how to interact with other. One that can be wrong through trial and error, but is capable from learning from it’s mistakes.

This machine cannot have emotions, simply because it’s been fabricated?



Although it's fun to pretend we are a step away from having a Blade Runner problem, we are far, far away from actually having to worry about that.
The smartest computers we have now are not even close to the level of a rat's brain, let alone, say, a chimpanzee.

The gulf that will never be bridged by AI is life context and semantic meaning. For instance, how would AI create on i'ts own, semantic meaning from nothing unless it was given a ready made storehouse (and god only knows how large of a storehouse that would need to be) of historical experiences unique to that AI?

Emotional responses are a mind/body connection. Are you also ready to proclaim that the future of AI will also include this connection? An AI's "body" is not a chemical creation - it's purely a mechanical creation. Unless of course you are willing to proclaim that we will be adding flesh and blood to our future robots.

The "abuse your child" question is just way too out in left field for me to address. I actually don't understand how you fitted it into this conversation. I'll just let it go as a non sequitur.

Are you familiar with the Chinese Room Thought experiment? I'd like your thoughts on that.

:)



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Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:03 pm
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
No, i agree we are a few jumps away from really having to deal with this issue of human-level AI.

What this question allows us to explore, however, is our evaluation of the "other" whatever that may be. How do we evaluate what it means to be a person, regardless of whether that person might be human?

AI seems the most likely avenue for us to discover other non-human people. Aliens are far away, and the time issues probably don't permit us to meet them face to face. Evolution is hamstrung by our existence, as just about anything not good for wearing or eating isn't really a part of the sere we impose. That leaves AI.

I don't know how we get from really good number crunchers and simulations to actual sentience. If i did know that i would be very rich.

The point i tried to make about emotions is that the intellectual status produces the chemical responses in our bodies.

Perfect execution of some feat is acknowledged, we realize what an achievement that is, our bodies kick off a chemical reaction, and we shout with pride and exhilaration.

Sentient AI probably won't have a body like ours, and that includes the same chemical responses that we identify with this exhilaration, but does that really detract from the intellectual cross-checking it does to realize that it has similarly performed some task excellently?

Isn't that the essence of emotion? The realization of some status? I performed well, leads to pride. I am underperforming leads to shame. I just missed being killed leads to relief. These are intellectual cross-references we perform that proceed our chemical responses. Does a lack of chemical response negate the realization, and the root of that emotion?

I don't think it does.

The abuse your child thing was in reference to a common argument that since robots are our creation and thus owe their existence to us, then they are nothing more than property and can be treated as non-persons, regardless of their intellectual, self-knowing attributes. (future sentient AI's).

My point being, that your children are likewise reliant on their parents and would also not exist without them, but they are sentient, and that demands it's own respect. It's the crux of this thread. what do we owe sentient machines?

We created them, but do we still have the right to un-plug them?

Yeah, i'm familiar. The pre-cursor of the turing test.

I don't think the turing test, or whether or not you can fool a native speaker into thinking you are one of them, is an adequate identification of true sentient AI.

It's a very involved thing, trying to identify sentience.

I don't have a good definition on hand. "I'd know it when i saw it" doesn't really say what needs to be said, but that is kind of where it stand these days.

That's why i like having these conversations.


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Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:04 am
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
ant wrote:
Are you familiar with the Chinese Room Thought experiment? I'd like your thoughts on that.


Some interesting stuff on Wikipedia about it:

Quote:
"The overwhelming majority," notes BBS editor Stevan Harnad, "still think that the Chinese Room Argument is dead wrong." The sheer volume of the literature that has grown up around it inspired Pat Hayes to quip that the field of cognitive science ought to be redefined as "the ongoing research program of showing Searle's Chinese Room Argument to be false."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_ro ... experiment


I'm in the camp that thinks it must be wrong. I defer to the smarter critics.



Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:41 am
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
Very interesting topic.

I think the way you treat something has to be determined by its capacity to suffer. When it comes to artificial intelligence, we tend to talk about what a robot can "do" (i.e., show creativity, show emotion). This is the basis of the Turing Test.

Say a robot is good enough to fool everyone, even for long periods. But then you bring out a team of programmers who can explain the "tricks". If the robot only cries because they've programmed it to do so, using a algorithm to identify what people are likely to find sad - with a defensive subroutine to say something like "I don't want to talk about it" or "I'm just feeling hormonal" if it misfires and starts crying at a false positive - then there's no harm in making the robot cry. It's just an accurate simulation of suffering, rather than real suffering.

We may understand how the human brain has evolved and some of how it works, but we don't understand how it can give rise to the subjective experience of existing - the awareness that it has of its own existence. In terms of natural selection, the human brain would be just as "fit" if it did exactly what it does do, but completely on autopilot - just taking input from the senses, bouncing it around, and producing responses in a purely mechanical way (like our crying robot, or the Chinese Room for that matter).

But if my own brain is anything to go by, it doesn't. It is actually aware of what it's doing (to an extent!). It knows it is here. Cogito ergo sum.

Personally, I think a robot of the future could have the same experience, provided it was based on a neural network (a proper synthetic brain), rather than a series of programmer-mandated rules that help it produce human-seeming behaviour. A true artificial intelligence would have to start out like a baby and develop a personality over time, in response to experience, with just a small number of hard-coded rules about stuff like trial and feedback.

If a robot produced strikingly human-seeming behaviour that had arisen over time from a synthetic neural network, and produced signs of suffering without being directly trained or programmed to do so, then I would err on the side of assuming that it could suffer.

That's my two penn'orth anyway :)



Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:10 pm
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
I agree with subjective experience comment.
Subjective experience, or "qualia" (sp?) is evidently a mind/body connection.

Consider a beautiful robot companion and I looking at a beautiful sunset.
My subjective experience gives the sunset meaning. My robot lover (I'll take Rachel of Blade Runner) would not have a subjective moment. Nor could she share a true subjective reaction to it. She could define it only from a database of symbols, or appropriate linguistic responses she'd calculate as appropriate for the moment.

Could I have the subjective experience of what it's like to be a cat? A dog? A bat? A rat?
Could my female companion, in turn, surpass my inability to not know what it's like to be a cat, by knowing what it's like to actually be a woman? Then we are now talking about having created something greater than us. That's really beyond even discussing AI.

While we are at it, why don't we talk about zombies. They are more or less fully functional but they too would lack a subjective consciousness. Are zombies entitled to "rights?"
We are assigning rights to objects that can not have subjective experience.
Where does it end?



Last edited by ant on Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:38 pm
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
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The smartest computers we have now are not even close to the level of a rat's brain, let alone, say, a chimpanzee.


The reverse is also true. The smartest humans alive are not even close to the level of ability computers have in certain areas.

Can AI be considered sentient even if it lacked emotion? Could an AI be considered sentient even if it did not experience suffering? These two characteristics seem to be byproducts of an evolved intelligence. But a crafted intelligence does not need these capacities for behavioral control. I would wonder at the morality of crafting an intelligence that was capable of suffering, especially if there were other means to arrive at the end result.


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Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:57 pm
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
The painting fool.

http://www.thepaintingfool.com/about/index.html

Image

This is a computer system that someone is trying to get to paint creatively.

What this amounts to is machine learning.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_learning

whereby to teach a computer what the letter "A" is, and recognize it in all it's forms, they show the system hundreds, thousands of examples of the letter "A" in different fonts and as written by numerous hands. The computer builds a model of the structures which comprise "A" and thereafter will continue to be able to recognize that symbol even when done in a way which it has not previously observed.

In a lot of ways, this is how our own brains work. You learn to recognize patterns by seeing them repeated and building a causal relationship

If this programmer succeeds, and you might say that he has already done so to a degree, in getting TPF to paint scenes from it's own "imagination", rather than from a digital image, does that satisfy your criteria for what creativity is?

If not, how would this example differ from our own creativity?


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Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:43 am
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
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These two characteristics seem to be byproducts of an evolved intelligence.



On what basis?



Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:19 pm
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
On the basis that a connotation of the definition of intelligence doesn't require them. I would ask for reasoning as to why these characteristics are required in any definition of intelligence. I don't see that they are. It would be alien intelligence, but intelligence all the same.


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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
Quote:
The smartest humans alive are not even close to the level of ability computers have in certain areas.


Define "smart"



Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:32 pm
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
He's talking about directly comparable abilities.

The most accomplished human at math will perform more slowly than powerful number-crunching machines.

There are other comparisons.


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:31 am
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
http://io9.com/5886178/why-mass-effect- ... generation

Sci-fi universes let us explore interesting questions. in the above link someone makes the case for "mass effect", a sci-fi video game universe, where many interesting social questions and human suppositions can be questioned.

One angle on thie whole thread is the treatment of "the other". You could substitute sentient AI for clones, or synthetic life, or aliens, and the questions are largly the same.

how do we treat the other? Why do we insist on human privilage? Mass effect sets up a world that subverts our assumptions of human privilage, and the consequence is very interesting subtle social commentary.

From the link:

Quote:
Mass Effect is the first blockbuster franchise in the postmodern era to directly confront a godless, meaningless universe indifferent to humanity. Amid the entertaining game play, the interspecies romance, and entertaining characters, cosmological questions about the value of existence influence every decision. The game is about justifying survival, not of mere intelligent life in the universe, the Reapers are that, but of a kind of intelligence. Therein the triple layered question – What value does galactic civilization bring to the universe; What value does humanity bring to galactic civilization, and What value do I bring to humanity – forces the player to recontextualize his or her participation in the experiment of existence.


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:16 am
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Post Re: What do we owe sentient machines?
Michio Kaku has been saying for a while now that moore's law is doomed to fall apart soon due to quantum uncertainty.

But these guys seem to think otherwise.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-20/t ... or/3839524

Atomic transistors.


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:18 am
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