12 Nov 2003 cat   » (Apprentice)

Posted as a reply to the question as to whether machines will ever be conscious: Moravec wrote a book, Machine Evolution, the jest of which, I believe, is that machines are following the path humans followed only they are moving a lot faster. Another thing to keep in mind is that humans started off thinking that everything had a spirit including rocks. It's called animism. Life is a stimulus response organism. A machine that responds to stimuli, that follows cybernetic principles might be said to be artificially alive. Beyond that it is a matter of complexity. At what level do natural organisms attain consciousness? If an organism has a nerve cell does that mean it has the ability to be conscious of something? Isn't this the same as the old argument about intelligence? Look at viruses. Will viruses ever evolve into something more complex? Will the net itself ever develope a sense of idenity? It is the thing that most closely resembles the human brain. I think that that is the thing that disappoints me the most about robots.net. So much of it is devoted to the brain of the robot. The internet should be brain of the robot! Or at least it will be someday. As with everything else I am in too much of a hurry. The first brains were just dead ends on the spinal cord. They were just muscle controllers. That's where we are today. Look at Aibo, Asimov and the robot olympics. The most glaring deficit in all these logic designs is the lack of feedback. Of course what should one expect when the goal is basic survival? Think of what life was like for early human beings when life expectancy was about twenty years. Inhibitions and IQ weren't real high on the list.

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