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    1. #1
      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      When would you consider robots alive?

      Twenty or so years down the road, we create robots and computer programs that have true learning capabilities. Let's say they were modeled after the human mechanisms for learning to study the process of learning, the effects of different methods of learning, and learning disabilities. And like society is, a third party comes in and expands upon its natural capacity to learn emotion, enabling it to express emotion. This third party hopes to sell the robot/program for commercial purposes or something.

      At what point would you consider technology a form of life? Please disregard the rules that life must be composed of cells, and life must have the ability to reproduce. Bringing up those definitions while trying to make an argument would make the discussion a narrow one.
      Abraxas

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      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      When they can comunicate with us, and truly learn like us. When their minds and ours are on the same level.
      "There are people who say there is no God, but what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views." ~Albert Einstein

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      Quote Originally Posted by Keeper View Post
      When they can comunicate with us, and truly learn like us. When their minds and ours are on the same level.
      Technically, If its a robot, it would have to be dumbed down to have it's mind on the same level as ours... Only since they would be programed to remember everything. And have a hard drive of information in its head somewhere.
      Bollocks.

    4. #4
      What? Venomblood's Avatar
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      When they can survive on their own completely. And as you said, reproduce.

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      Cosmic Citizen ExoByte's Avatar
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      Theres a difference between Conscious and Alive.

      Alive can only, really, be based on biological factors. You'd really have to be a living, breathing, biological organism to really be alive. Conscious on the other hand is an entirely different story. Is that what you're asking Abra?


      EDIT: I totally missed the bottom part. But On the other hand, thats like saying: When would you consider this alive if there were no rules on what is alive?
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    6. #6
      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ExoByte View Post
      Theres a difference between Conscious and Alive.

      Alive can only, really, be based on biological factors. You'd really have to be a living, breathing, biological organism to really be alive. Conscious on the other hand is an entirely different story. Is that what you're asking Abra?


      EDIT: I totally missed the bottom part. But On the other hand, thats like saying: When would you consider this alive if there were no rules on what is alive?
      Yes, conscious is what I meant. But "life" should come with that package. Some more food for thought: can something be conscious without being alive?
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

    7. #7
      On the woad to wuin R.D.735's Avatar
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      From what I've read of psychology, the perception of whether or not something is alive depends on the person, but is determined by two main factors: experience and agency, experience being the capability of the thing to feel emotion and its surroundings and agency being the capability to communicate and act based on its experiences.

      An infant scores very highly in experience, but not nearly as high as an adult in terms of agency, whereas a desktop PC scores nil on both. If one wanted to set a threshold of "living-ness" relative to humans, the capabilities of an average infant would be a good place to start. A machine with equivalent perceived capabilities to an infant would be "minimally-human."

      If one wanted to be more quantitative about life and consciousness, one could create a logarithmic scale with "living-ness" proportional to Log(# of Brain Cells or computational equivalent) and set some minimal score based on an educated guess of what's required for consciousness. The downside is the question of a "computational equivalent." Supercomputers can have trillions of transistors operating at several gigahertz, whereas humans have only ~100 billion brain cells operating at ~15-20 Hz. Clearly, equivalence is defined more by structure, making a qualitative judgment inescapable.

    8. #8
      traveller gaia's Avatar
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      I would consider technology alive when it is capable of consciousness, thoughts, feelings and emotions, not simply imitating the response, as it is programmed into them.
      "you only lose what you cling to"

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      Antagonist Invader's Avatar
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      Robots can be as advanced as you want them to be, I doubt I can ever see them as 'alive'. Conscious? Yes. Alive? No.

      Imagine you could raise yourself from the dead, as a undead creature, and you had all the same attributes you do now except for the fact that you lack a pulse and any kind of regenerating cells. Now compare yourself to an intelligent, unbreathing, creative machine. You're undead right? So you're not alive. Robots will never really be alive, although they may be able to genuinely act the same way we do, or beyond.

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      I don't think life makes a great deal of difference, its simply those basic qualities, reproduction etc.

      The real issue I think is when does a robot become a person with moral rights?

    11. #11
      Your cat ate my baby Pyrofan1's Avatar
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      The real issue I think is when does a robot become a person with moral rights
      And when will the robot version of the KKK spring up

    12. #12
      Sleeping Dragon juroara's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by invader_tech View Post
      Robots can be as advanced as you want them to be, I doubt I can ever see them as 'alive'. Conscious? Yes. Alive? No.

      Imagine you could raise yourself from the dead, as a undead creature, and you had all the same attributes you do now except for the fact that you lack a pulse and any kind of regenerating cells. Now compare yourself to an intelligent, unbreathing, creative machine. You're undead right? So you're not alive. Robots will never really be alive, although they may be able to genuinely act the same way we do, or beyond.

      there is no such thing as the undead.

      using fantasy as an argument that you can be conscious but not alive is just silly.

      if you are conscious, you are alive. there is only the living and the dead, and nothing in between. (if a spirit is conscious, it is alive)

      we can't however use the definition of a living thing to determine when a robot is alive, as our definitions wouldn't even work for life on other planets. we can only know a robot is alive when it shows some form of consciousness. a low level of self-awareness

      just comparing plants to rocks is a good starting point of what early behaviors we can look for in robots. that is, if you are willing to look at a plant a little more un-biased, than they are just lifeless rocks that grow leaves.

      - plants distinguish themselves from their environment (a low level of self awareness)
      - plants then react to the environment based on what is good for their 'self'.

      I mean a seed, a simple brainless seed, always grows when the time is right. the seed can 'measure' soil type, gravity, moisture, oxygen. plants interact with their environment. and their interaction is instinctual.

      for a robot this low level of consciousness would be displayed if it can interact with its environment in such a way, that it shows it distinguishes itself from its environment, and can make decisions based on itself and the environment. for example - a robot that works on wheels is not going to wheel off a cliff.

      a robot with no consciousness - is going to wheel off the cliff. thus showing it has no concept of self-versus-environment.

      this is where a lot of AI research has become stagnant though. visual stimuli is not easy to program, and a lot of AI that I know about, use visual stimuli. many years ago they tested a robot in a parking lot. its job was simple. to find the cube in the parking lot.

      in the parking lot were many objects. cubes, pyramids, spheres, and so on. it took, like..THREE DAYS of this robot just sitting there and looking, to decide what on earth is the cube. they did not think it would take this long for the robot to find the cube. as humans, and as mammals we take for granted all the things we can do. though AI, we actually begin to realize how complicated we are as organisms. reacting to the kind of visual stimuli that we have, requires a brain more capable than any computer today.

      anyways, distinguishing the self from environment, and then interacting with that environment is very - instinctual or rather programmed behavior.

      though it is important behavior for any living thing.

      the next type of important behavior is learned behavior - that is the ability to learn from experience. this is normally what we are interested in when talking about AI. but its very difficult to define what is learned behavior, even in animal behavior we argue whether something is instinctual or not. so its going to be very difficult to pinpoint learned behavior in robots from instinct.

      for example, if the learned behavior was because of a program "A" to learn "A" after stimulus "A", then is it still learned behavior? otherwise every dog would know how to 'sit', but obviously they don't. there is more going on to learned behavior then just a 'new' reaction to a stimulus.

      ps, I don't think reproduction has anything to do with the answer. reproduction is important to life in general, but not a single living thing has to actually reproduce itself to prove that it is alive. otherwise, all of us here who have never had children would be considered not-alive.

      I do not need to got pregnant to be alive. so neither does anything else in existence need to reproduce to be alive.
      Last edited by juroara; 04-04-2008 at 05:34 PM.

    13. #13
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      As soon as they can store and retrieve information.

    14. #14
      Dreaming up music skysaw's Avatar
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      There's still not a complete understanding or agreement as to what life actually is. Everytime one introduces a condition which must be met in order to consider something alive, a counter-example is given that is hard to explain away.

      Consciousness doesn't do it:
      Is a mushroom conscious? How about a cold virus?
      Is an unconsious person dead?

      Emotion doesn't do it:
      As far as we are able to determine, a barnacle does not have emotion. Nor do humans with certain autistic conditions.

      Original thought doesn't do it:
      Computer programs that have complex emergent behaviors, and those using evolutionary programming exhibit behavior all together not anticipated by those who created them. On the other side, an oak tree is not likely to produce original thoughts.

      Self-preservation doesn't do it:
      There are humans without a sense of self-preservation that are clearly alive. There are also examples of machines that do exhibit self-preservation on a rudimentary level.

      Reproduction doesn't do it:
      If a person is sterile, are they therefore dead? If a machine is built that duplicates itself, does it necessarily mean it's alive?

      Possesion of a "soul" doesn't do it:
      There is no evidence to suggest that we have souls, but even if we were certain we did, how do we know whether or not a worm, a gnat, poison ivy, or a rock have one? How could we ever know if a computer had one or not?

      Sense of morality doesn't do it:
      The world is full of humans without this, so this can't be our definition. It's doubtful a chicken has one either. Further, there's no test to tell if a puddle of water has one or not.

      Mobility? No. Communication? No. Decision-making? Metabolism? Nervous system? ... none of these are good barometers because they don't clearly divide what we consider alive from what we consider not alive.

      So perhaps life is ultimately undefineable. Or perhaps liveliness is a sliding scale, and when enough evidence from several of the above categories presents itself for consideration, the cumulative weight is considered by an individual who makes an assessment based on their own personal recognition point on the scale.

      Perhaps the question is not "when will robots be alive," but rather "when will we realize they've always been alive?" In this sense, we are all part of the "robot" collective. In our case, however, our parts are made of organic molecules rather than silicon and steel.
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      Life has one unsepreable thing that nonliving things can not do:

      The ability to store and retrieve and use information in some way.

      Yes, that means anything that can do that is "alive".

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    17. #17
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      Robots are alive, they're just incredibly unintelligent. They possess much less life than a vegetable.
      Last edited by really; 04-05-2008 at 07:09 AM.

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      Not true.

      One thing is no more alive then another.

      Intelligence is litte? Are you kidding me? Take a look at ASIMO!

      I do think however that people miss the thing that there are two kinds of life on earth:

      Organic, and Inorganic. The funny thing is, both are Silicon/Carbon based.


    19. #19
      Dreaming up music skysaw's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Seismosaur View Post
      Life has one unsepreable thing that nonliving things can not do:
      Quote Originally Posted by Seismosaur View Post
      One thing is no more alive then another.
      Please make up your mind. In the first quote you claim there is a clear distinction between the living and nonliving. In the second, you claim there is none.

      Intelligence is litte? Are you kidding me? Take a look at ASIMO!
      Asimo is about as intelligent as a gnat. I think you've been fooled by the fact that it walks upright and talks.

      I do think however that people miss the thing that there are two kinds of life on earth:

      Organic, and Inorganic. The funny thing is, both are Silicon/Carbon based.
      No, the funny thing is that you've convinced yourself that you know something about the subject. All organic life that we know of is carbon-based. Inorganic life (if we accept it as "alive") can be based on just about anything. Perhaps you meant one is carbon based and the other silicon?
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      Quote Originally Posted by skysaw View Post
      Please make up your mind. In the first quote you claim there is a clear distinction between the living and nonliving. In the second, you claim there is none.


      Asimo is about as intelligent as a gnat. I think you've been fooled by the fact that it walks upright and talks.


      No, the funny thing is that you've convinced yourself that you know something about the subject. All organic life that we know of is carbon-based. Inorganic life (if we accept it as "alive") can be based on just about anything. Perhaps you meant one is carbon based and the other silicon?

      What the hell are you talking about?

      1. Yes. Once something is alive there are no "levels" of being alive. You are either alive or you are not.

      2. I measure AI in CCC (I think that's the right acronym). Which, in ASIMO, is ~300 million ccc (Human brain is ~1 billion)

      3. Okay, this is clearly just you hating on me, because it wasn't done well.
      a. I do know something about the subject.
      b. Yes, that we know of Did you read the part "on earth"? Or did you just skim?
      c. Inorganic life, ON EARTH, here, created by humans, is generally run through, get this, a SILLICON chip that mimics a brain.

      Read, man.

    21. #21
      Dreaming up music skysaw's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Seismosaur View Post
      Organic, and Inorganic. The funny thing is, both are Silicon/Carbon based.
      Here, you are clearly saying that organic life is both silicon and carbon based, and that inorganic life is also silicon and carbon based. Maybe it's not what you meant, but then I guess you should choose your words more carefully.

      Quote Originally Posted by Seismosaur View Post
      Inorganic life, ON EARTH, here, created by humans, is generally run through, get this, a SILLICON chip that mimics a brain.
      You say that as if there might be someone still left on the planet that doesn't already know this.

      Read, man.
      I can only read up to the level of the material presented to me. If you want me to read what you mean to say, then you're just going to have to learn to write what you mean to say.
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      You're the one reading into what isn't there

    23. #23
      Dreaming up music skysaw's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Seismosaur View Post
      You're the one reading into what isn't there
      You're absolutely correct in this. This is why why you need to write more clearly.
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    24. #24
      On the woad to wuin R.D.735's Avatar
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      There's really no definitive way of classifying things as 'alive' or 'intelligent.' The process is almost completely subjective, so you can justify whatever your position is on artificial entities. This is one subject that majority rule will eventually sort out in its own cultural way, whatever we individuals may think about it.

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      Quote Originally Posted by skysaw View Post
      You're absolutely correct in this. This is why why you need to write more clearly.
      The only thing I wrote incorrectly that would have caused much problem was the organic/inorganic life thing.

      I meant to poke fun at that organic life does not do well in silicon, but human-created artificial life does.

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