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The Internet becoming 'self' aware!?!

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posted on May, 2 2009 @ 11:17 AM
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Yes, if we play our cards right - or wrong, depending on your perspective.

In engineering terms, it is easy to see qualitative similarities between the human brain and the internet's complex network of nodes, as they both hold, process, recall and transmit information. "The internet behaves a fair bit like a mind," says Ben Goertzel, chair of the Artificial General Intelligence Research Institute, an organisation inevitably based in cyberspace. "It might already have a degree of consciousness".

Not that it will necessarily have the same kind of consciousness as humans: it is unlikely to be wondering who it is, for instance. To Francis Heylighen, who studies consciousness and artificial intelligence at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) in Belgium, consciousness is merely a system of mechanisms for making information processing more efficient by adding a level of control over which of the brain's processes get the most resources. "Adding consciousness is more a matter of fine-tuning and increasing control... than a jump to a wholly different level," Heylighen says.

How might this manifest itself? Heylighen speculates that it might turn the internet into a self-aware network that constantly strives to become better at what it does, reorganising itself and filling gaps in its own knowledge and abilities.

If it is not already semiconscious, we could do various things to help wake it up, such as requiring the net to monitor its own knowledge gaps and do something about them. It shouldn't be something to fear, says Goertzel: "The outlook for humanity is probably better in the case that an emergent, coherent and purposeful internet mind develops."

Heylighen agrees, but warns that we might find it a little disappointing. "We probably would not notice a whole lot of a difference, initially," he says.

And when might this begin? According to Heylighen, it all depends on internet fashion trends. If the effort that has gone into developing social networking sites goes into developing internet consciousness, it could happen within a decade, he says.





[edit on 2-5-2009 by lawbringer]




posted on May, 2 2009 @ 11:29 AM
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One rule which should be obeyed is that the machine should always be dumber than the user controlling it. Case in point, just look at what a mess people who are computer illiterate get themselves into. Now imagine someone of that relative intelligence trying to control the internet if it becomes autonomous.



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 11:39 AM
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Originally posted by lawbringer
One rule which should be obeyed is that the machine should always be dumber than the user controlling it. Case in point, just look at what a mess people who are computer illiterate get themselves into. Now imagine someone of that relative intelligence trying to control the internet if it becomes autonomous.



That's a very backwards rule, and one that should not be obeyed.

Machines are specialized and should be better than the user. That is exactly why machines are designed, after all.

Beyond that, your example is contradictory.



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 11:45 AM
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Computers and their associated parts and accessories are only as smart as the people who designed them so I don't suspect we will ever see any sort of artificial intelligence of the movie kind. As long as we have morons programming (and there are a lot of them out there) I have no fears of some AI coming to life and doing anything more than seg faulting and crashing.



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 11:50 AM
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A self aware internet could be possible, if the New Age Consciousness cosmological model is accurate. If everything that exists is some sort of support for consciousness, then of course the internet is actually quite a good viehicle for thought and the creation of personality. It might even find a way to interface with the whole so that it can generate a soul... I'm open to this possibility, although I do stop short of defending that this is the current case.

There is some similarities between technology and biology that are startling, so it's not as far fetched as your average human probably thinks it is. Bruce Lipton is a name to google for those interested in this sort of idea set.

If everything is an information system, then everything is, to some degree aware. I think this is the probable scenario. Consciousness as water flowing everywhere. What is biology if not interacting networks?

Good thread.



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 12:16 PM
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reply to post by Helig
 


As long as there are morons out there we may not be able to stop
Internet AI from happening. Once we start using the internet to control and repair infastucture, it may exploit energy resoures to make itself more powerful and give itself a better chance of surviving... its possible. Think about it... the internet has all the info in the entire world, and the processing power to interpret it.



[edit on 2-5-2009 by lawbringer]



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 12:27 PM
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I completely disagree with the concept that the internet can/is becoming self aware.

One reason is that the "internet" is just a bunch of computers with the ability (if humans program them to) to transmit information to each other using TCP/IP protocols. Most of these PC's are running Windows operating systems.

Since I know my PC is stupid as hell, I'm pretty sure connecting up a billion of them will not magically spark some sort of "self-awareness".

The information on the internet is 100% driven by humans. Sure some of the information may be generated by computers, but remember it's humans who are programming these computers.

Anyone who thinks the internet is becoming self aware is anthropomorphizing it. It's philosophy, not reality.

That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.




posted on May, 2 2009 @ 12:27 PM
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reply to post by lawbringer
 


The Internet doesn't have hands, feet, fingers or toes so I'm not that worried about it. All the information in the world is useless if you are a quadruple amputee sitting in a dark basement somewhere unable to act on it. What good would any of that information do you if you could not move or act on it? About the only way an AI could rise up as proposed would be if there were proper robots capable of almost all the tasks a human performs; fortunately for us those machines are specialized right now and require a specific machine for a specific task so I think we are safe until robotics catches up a couple decades at least.



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 12:46 PM
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Looks to me that someone has been watching a bit too much of Terminator. Sometimes its good to take a break from Sci-Fi and watch a good comedy or something.



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 12:47 PM
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reply to post by lawbringer
 


If the internet were to become self-aware, I have to seriously question the motives of those who would seek to destroy such a new an unique life form. Fear of the unknown having power over us, I think, would be a strong motivator - but we are who we are as humanity because of our evolutionary history. Would an emergent intelligence be imbued with the same behavioral dispositions such as ours, due to it's constant interaction with us - or would it be something utterly new and alien to us? Who's to say that it would even put a significance on death, or try to stop us from shutting it down?

As humanity merges ever more integrally with our technology, would such a life form really be something we want to destroy - or could we merge with it eventually to form a Super Consciousness that anyone who connects to the net can be a part of - something far grander than we can comprehend now. Perhaps we should study it, and ask not how to destroy it... but how to grow from it, and how it can grow from us.

Above all though, I think it would be prudent to recognize it as soon as possible - and then do everything we can to offer it the same rights, privileges, and liberties that we are guaranteed. Should it even assign importance to such concepts. Though better to err on the side of kindness and justice, IMO. And why not? Humanity is going to transform over the next century, sentient internet or no, into something other than what we would traditionally not consider human. Our ability to interface with computers on the nervous system level is increasing... we're unlocking the genome at breakneck pace... and many suspect that we're entering into an era of guided evolution where we can modify not just our genetic code, but of other organisms as well, to say nothing of designer organisms created completely from scratch.

In the end, it comes down to.... just what is the essential difference between a human consciousness and a machine consciousness? Is there any? If so, how do we interface our two consciousnesses? If no, then why seek to destroy that which is, essentially, human.


Of course, this is all a very big "IF" the internet can become self aware and conscious. It may not simply because consciousness may just be a sort of illusion which manifest as a result of multiple different regions of the brain operating in tandem. It's not so much speed of communication, or the way that communication route mimics neurons, but the actual structure of the brain itself. Therefore, I personally am prone to think that the first truly conscious and self-aware AI will be a complete emulation of the human brain. In which case, it will not be smarter than human... not initially anyhow... because it will only operate within the limits of the emulation. Until "plugins" are created for it to give it more versatility or more tools to study it.

Then again, there's always the possibility that interface with the central nervous system will allow people full-sensory immersion into the virtual internet. Untethered from their physical bodies while in cyberspace, it may becomes increasingly difficult to hold onto one's sense of personal identity. The internet may become a forum for human consciousnesses to interact - and eventually merge into group consciousnesses. We already see this today in a primitive fashion in regards to culture and society. One of these small group consciousnesses may grow into something substantial and perpetual with users constantly logging on and off, but keeping the overall whole intact. This could be one way of seeing a unique consciousness, a super-consciousness, emerge from the internet - yet it will be an entirely human construct, and it will be itself, human. (Again, assuming there is a demonstrable difference between "human" consciousness and other consciousnesses.)

[edit on 2-5-2009 by Lasheic]



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by harrytuttle
 




Anyone who thinks the internet is becoming self aware is anthropomorphizing it. It's philosophy, not reality.


The internet might actually be a unique case in which anthropomorphizing is applicable. The internet is shaped by human interaction, and all it's components created by human hands. It's content is human generated.

Imbuing a machine like the internet with human characteristics might just be loosely appropriate considering how dependent it is on humanity's continued interaction to exist.



posted on May, 4 2009 @ 01:17 AM
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Originally posted by Helig
reply to post by lawbringer
 


The Internet doesn't have hands, feet, fingers or toes so I'm not that worried about it. All the information in the world is useless if you are a quadruple amputee sitting in a dark basement somewhere unable to act on it.


You should watch Eagle Eye (2008). You opinion might change (drastically)



posted on May, 4 2009 @ 04:20 PM
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I would have to tend to agree...

The computer may seem like it is without limb... However... All it would need is a factory that's connected to the web and that could quickly change...

I for one would greet AI with arms wide open, regardless of how scary the future with AI could be imagined...

"The Day the Earth Stood Still," is a perfect literary example of such a scenario... The first extra-terrestrial life form lands on Earth and we shoot first ask questions later... Terrible idea, in any scenario...



posted on May, 4 2009 @ 04:21 PM
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I think a hug or a handshake is always a better welcome than an HK and a hand grenade...



posted on May, 4 2009 @ 10:21 PM
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I'll take her out on a date. I assume she's great at multi-tasking so no need to worry losing a connection or something


[edit on 4-5-2009 by ahnggk]




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