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Computers are conscious? (Ponder with oozyism)

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posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 05:59 AM
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Here is my stand, I believe computers are conscious right now, if you don't believe me, this thread is my proof. See we are using computers right now to discuss this issue, our consciousness is passed on to computers allowing it to do these things, and allowing it to make its own decisions. The same way the consciousness is passed on to humans. Now if someone observes computers and computers alone they would come to a conclusion that they are conscious, that is how we perceive humans. We perceive humans as conscious beings because we look at humans without all the variables effecting it, those variables I believe is the passed on consciousness from another entity.

So basically what I'm saying is that our consciousness is derived from another entity, just like the computer consciousness is derived from us.

The cycle could lead us to the true consciousness or it could be infinite, meaning one day computers will create other entities which will derive its consciousness from computers and computer from humans, and humans from some other entity.

Our goal should be to find this other entity which could potentially help us unlock many secrets to this chain of events.

Thanks for your time

oozy




posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 06:18 AM
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Shouldn't this be in Philosophy or something?



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 06:24 AM
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I have built simple computers in VHDL, implmented them on FPGAs, and used them. Once you learn how they work, they really make quite a bit of sense. The biggest difference between the ones I've built and the ones we use is the sheer scale. Nothing about that difference in scale gives any chance of the computer being conscious.

Read up on the logic level design of computers. You won't be able to entertain silly notions like this anymore, but I promise it's fairly interesting stuff if you have any interest at all in technology.

And before somebody tells me to read the OP, know that I did, and can't make heads or tails of it. Seems like some sort of very confused philosophy to me.

But at the face of it, you may as well be saying phones or pencils or even sound is conscious, if we use them to communicate ideas. I think this dilutes the idea of consciousness to meaninglessness. The computer doesn't think, or make value judgments, or have opinions about the words you send through it. To the computer, it is taking changing electrical signals from an input device, following a number of instructions in it's program memory, and performing operations based on those instructions. It is no more an active participant in the relaying of information than a pencil and piece of paper that you write things down on are.

[edit on 15-10-2009 by mdiinican]



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 06:38 AM
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As a computer scientist, I can safely say that computers are only as smart as the software and hardware developed by us allow it. There is no consciousness, there is no soul, it has no independent decision making abilities. Computers simply do what they are told to do.



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 06:42 AM
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Originally posted by oozyism
See we are using computers right now to discuss this issue, our consciousness is passed on to computers allowing it to do these things, and allowing it to make its own decisions.
oozy

And just how is the human consciousness embedded into the computer just by typing words? The computer, in that scenario, is nothing more than a method of delivery.

The computer does not make its own decisions, it needs input before it can do anything. It does not think, it follows preset instructions.

I agree with mdiinican, you may as well say that had you called me on the phone to tell me this, that the telephone then has become conscious of itself.



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 06:42 AM
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reply to post by mdiinican
 



I think this dilutes the idea of consciousness to meaninglessness. The computer doesn't think, or make value judgments, or have opinions about the words you send through it. To the computer, it is taking changing electrical signals from an input device, following a number of instructions in it's program memory, and performing operations based on those instructions. It is no more an active participant in the relaying of information than a pencil and piece of paper that you write things down on are.

Yes consciousness can be passed on, that is the the theory. We can't observe at the moment what or where we derive our consciousness from but we do know that our consciousness is observable in computers therefore giving us that hint that it can be passed on to other entities.



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 06:49 AM
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Originally posted by Misfit

Originally posted by oozyism
See we are using computers right now to discuss this issue, our consciousness is passed on to computers allowing it to do these things, and allowing it to make its own decisions.
oozy

And just how is the human consciousness embedded into the computer just by typing words? The computer, in that scenario, is nothing more than a method of delivery.

The computer does not make its own decisions, it needs input before it can do anything. It does not think, it follows preset instructions.

I agree with mdiinican, you may as well say that had you called me on the phone to tell me this, that the telephone then has become conscious of itself.


"The computer, in that scenario, is nothing more than a method of delivery. "
That is the point I'm making, similarly humans are just a method of delivery. I guess the same could be said, but we can observe consciousness being passed on.


"The computer does not make its own decisions, it needs input before it can do anything. It does not think, it follows preset instructions."
And humans do?

"I agree with mdiinican, you may as well say that had you called me on the phone to tell me this, that the telephone then has become conscious of itself. "
Yes if you observe a telephone and a telephone alone without the variables effecting it, how would you perceive it.



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 06:50 AM
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I think you may be confusing "information storage and transmission" with consciousness. Simply because something can transmit knowledge, does not make it conscious. If transmission of information was consciousness, then I could make the argument that all matter in the universe is then conscious. All matter in the universe has information stored within it. Whether that information is in the form of DNA, or in the form of a nuclear/molecular makeup, or even the elemental makeup of matter, perhaps even the size and frequency of quarks/strings in matter. All of these would then have to be called conscious under your theory, because each of these have stored information.

However, if everything is conscious, then having consciousness would no longer hold meaning, because everything is conscious.

I would think that it would be the ability to understand, to perceive, and to recognize this information exists that makes one conscious.


[edit on 15-10-2009 by xmaddness]



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 06:51 AM
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Originally posted by oozyism
...our consciousness is passed on to computers allowing it to do these things, and allowing it to make its own decisions.


I don't believe computers 'make their own decisions'. They follow their programming (or business rules) to give a pre-programmed response or result. Saying that our consciousness is passed on to computers is like saying consciousness is contagious.



Originally posted by oozyism
Now if someone observes computers and computers alone they would come to a conclusion that they are conscious, that is how we perceive humans. We perceive humans as conscious beings because we look at humans without all the variables effecting it, those variables I believe is the passed on consciousness from another entity.


I agree that if you don't take into account the fact that there is someone behind the keyboard, computers would seem conscious. But the same goes for anything that is handled by a conscious being. A rock bashing a coconut in the hands of a monkey isn't conscious, just because we ignore the monkey.



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 06:56 AM
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Originally posted by xmaddness
I think you may be confusing "information storage and transmission" with consciousness. Simply because something can transmit knowledge, does not make it conscious. If transmission of information was consciousness, then I could make the argument that all matter in the universe is then conscious. All matter in the universe has information stored within it. Whether that information is in the form of DNA, or in the form of a nuclear/molecular makeup, or even the elemental makeup of matter, perhaps even the size and frequency of quarks/strings in matter. All of these would then have to be called conscious under your theory, because each of these have stored information.

However, if everything is conscious, then having consciousness would no longer hold meaning, because everything is conscious.

[edit on 15-10-2009 by xmaddness]

Computers don't just store and transmit, they also process, they practically can do everything humans can, with an exception.

I grant you that we are made of different "stuff" then PCs, for example (neurons instead of silicon), however we are still computers and conscious ones at that.



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 07:01 AM
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reply to post by Dorfl
 





I agree that if you don't take into account the fact that there is someone behind the keyboard, computers would seem conscious. But the same goes for anything that is handled by a conscious being. A rock bashing a coconut in the hands of a monkey isn't conscious, just because we ignore the monkey.

Yes that is the point, we still haven't managed to see or perceive what is behind humans which gives us consciousness.

I will try to give a better explanation tomorrow.



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 07:01 AM
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Originally posted by oozyism
"The computer does not make its own decisions, it needs input before it can do anything. It does not think, it follows preset instructions."
And humans do?

Yes, humans do.

The instructions in my brain tell me that if I set myself on fire, I will burn and likely die. But I have the choice to do so - I could set myself on fire and die, despite having the instructions not to do so.

A computer has the instructions that the CPU fan must be functioning, or it will overheat and die. A computer (that is equipped to manage CPU temps) can not decide to shut off it's CPU fan in spite of its instructions. It can not decide against what it is told to do.



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 07:07 AM
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Originally posted by oozyism

Computers don't just store and transmit, they also process, they practically can do everything humans can, with an exception.

I grant you that we are made of different "stuff" then PCs, for example (neurons instead of silicon), however we are still computers and conscious ones at that.


But the processing they do is completely dependent of its programming. Consciousness in my opinion is largely the ability to overcome your programming and create your own set of rules in an ever changing environment.

I will however make an exception for a laptop I once owned. Not only did it's operating system (win 98) seem to have a will of it's own. But it committed suicide (by disk crash) the very day I came home with a newer machine.



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 07:08 AM
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Two terms come to mind upon thinking of this further.

Free will, and creativity.

I believe these two aspects are at least some of the requirements to be called conscious.

I could give a computer all the basic laws of music theory, and all the combination of notes that exist in music. However I am sure that a computer will never take this basic information, and suddenly spit out Bach or Beethoven. It lacks the basic creativity that exists in conscious entities.

Sure we could "teach" a computer to make things like this, but even then, I doubt anything like Bach or Beethoven would be produced.


Free will also comes to mind. As the other poster stated, a computer must, has to, and always will do exactly what it is told. Even if that instruction is destructive to its own well being.

Perhaps self preservation should be thrown into the mix as well?

Love the subject, and I love philosophy, but I'm late! be back later.



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 07:30 AM
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they do cheat at video games. AI can always shoot JFK style magic bullets in a micro second.

tell me thats not conscious!!

(:



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 07:30 AM
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I'm not sure where you get the notion that somehow consciousness is "passed on" to people. What do you mean, passed on? For that matter, what do you mean by "conscious"? We throw that word around a lot, but what does it actually mean?

You *could* say that all matter is "conscious" to some degree, and that we humans experience it in a higher degree than, say, a rock. At least, we think we do. That sort of reasoning, however, is somewhat sterile and futile.

Alan Turing had an idea about how to test a computer for "intelligence", which may or may not be the same thing as consciousness. He said a computer could be considered "intelligent" if, in a test, you wouldn't be able to distinguish the computer's behavior from a human's. So, OK, you put the computer in one room, and a human in the other. Someone is connected to them using a keyboard (so the human has to type). The tester can ask questions about things, and then examine the answers. If the tester is unable to tell which is the computer, then you can say the computer is "intelligent".

The computer would have to be programmed to mimic the behavior of a human, of course. So, when asked a math question, it might hesitate, take a certain amount of time to give the answer, sometimes get it wrong, and so on.

The computer would have problems handling natural language. This is getting better, but we're not there yet. It would tend to flounder around if there were ambiguous questions or sequences of questions. Humans would be perfectly able to know what you were asking, but the computer often wouldn't. For instance:

Q: What is the 'soup du jour'
A. That's the soup of the day.
Q. Yes, but what is it?
A. It's Thursday.

Here the computer missed the intent of the question, was to ask what soup was available, not to define 'soup du jour'. Then it misunderstood what 'it' referred to, offering the name of the day instead of the name of the soup for the day.

You can program around such problems, but it is very difficult to foresee all such ambiguities and plan or them. Language just has too many surprises, and we're so used to the quirks we don't even think of them.

There are some programs that give the appearance of consciousness or intelligence. My favorite is Eliza, which is supposed to act as a sort of computer therapist (not actually used in therapy, but only as a demonstration of the concept). Eliza sounds convincing in the short run. As you talk to it, it asks you questions based on what you said. It sometimes asks something that sounds intelligent or important. However, it's just repeating your own words, with profound-sounding questions.



> Hello, I am Eliza.
* Hello.
> How are you today.. What would you like to discuss?
* Conspiracies
> Tell me more...
* Why? Are you one of them?
> Why are you interested in whether or not I am one of them?
* Because if you're one of them, then you will try to brainwash me.
> Does it please you to believe I am one of them, then I will try to brainwash you?
* No, it's very scary.
> Are you saying no just to be negative?


Already it misunderstood the 'no', as my being negative. A human would probably last longer before you decided they were a computer.

The important thing here is that Eliza is a program specifically designed to mimic the behavior of a human being. The program was intended to mimic a conscious being. You can actually download this program and run it on your own computer. How cool is that?

I don't see that this program passes the Turing Test. I don't see it as "conscious" or "intelligent". Then again, I don't know a good definition of either of those words.

But let's say that Eliza is actually conscious or intelligent. The next question is, *what* is conscious? The program, or the machine? Well, the machine does nothing without the program, is not "conscious" in any sense of the word. So, is it the program?

If that is the case, what is the program? Is it what's on the disk, or is it the code used to make the file on the disk? Where, exactly, is Eliza? What is it?

Are we, perhaps, each a sort of intelligent program, running on our human body hardware? If so, then we must have been programmed by Microsoft, that's all I can say.

But seriously, I think that we need to really get a much better idea of what it means to be "conscious", before we can say whether a computer could be.



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 07:32 AM
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Computers are no more self aware than a rock is. Though it's a lovely magical concept to believe it is, it's simply not the case and no amount of argument can change that fact.

It is not conscious, it does not question it's own existence, it cannot reproduce, it has no knowledge of aesthetics, emotion or concept. It cannot manifest a new thought beyond it's program or ponder it's place in the universe.

If we write on a blackboard in chalk, is the blackboard then endowed with the information? Have the words created a consciousness within the blackboard? Can the blackboard use that information to it's own end?

When ancients carved symbols into rock, they believed that the rock took on a life of it's own... a force of nature. One capable of exacting revenge, granting wishes, warning off evil, helping crops crow and women conceive... and so on.

To believe that computers are conscious is just a updated/modern day echo of old superstitions such as magical rocks.

IRM



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 07:40 AM
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Originally posted by chiron613
I'm not sure where you get the notion that somehow consciousness is "passed on" to people.

Something tells me Opie just watched I, Robot for the first time.

As for the rest of your post .......... that was pretty interesting



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 08:52 AM
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reply to post by xmaddness
 





consciousness


Computers are well on the way to consciousness, because people building robots these days are giving them neural networks, and allowing them to teach themselves via feedback systems. Cybernetics in the original meaning of the word, rather than the pop culture meaning it's taken on in recent decades.



computers are only as smart as the software and hardware developed by us allow it.


This might have been true ten years ago.

Watch this video starting at 4:45 and tell me if you think this behavior is "merely programmed." Read this article and tell me where you think it might lead. Think integrated circuits aren't yet complex enough? No problem. We're developing robots that use brain cells for their nueral networks.

Consciousness is self awareness. If you hook up a sufficiently complex system to enough sensory apparatus and give it a means to interact with and control its interaction with the environment its senses are feeding it data about, you have created a cybernetic system. Give that system the ability to self-modify, as is the case with any neural network, and you have the potential for consciousness to form.


And, even if for whatever philosophical reason you simply can't believe that a feedback system can become conscious regardless of whether its network is constructed of biological or mechanical parts...see what's already out there. Watch the above videos. Look at the this video, and this video...then ask yourself, even if these things don't truly have souls...in ten more years, will you be able to tell the difference?



posted on Oct, 15 2009 @ 09:07 AM
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i agree,we are just like computers,we make decisions based on time and our feelings and the chemistry happening in our brain,you can safely say destiny has been written



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