AI and ALife

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domokato
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AI and ALife

Post by domokato » Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:17 am

I wonder if there are any other computer scientists here? I'm very interested in Artificial Intelligence (AI, strong AI, game AI), and Artificial Life (ALife). I find the idea of creating life or creating intelligence to be very fascinating. In Dr. Thomas Campbell's lecture, he talks about how our bodies are basically digital information processing machines, just like an artificial life form in a computer would be.

When contemplating ALife, I often come across this question: What qualifies as life? If I make a little dot on the screen that runs around and eats other dots on the screen, is that life? What if it grows and reproduces? Is that life? What if it evolves? What if I give my "little dot" control over a robotic arm? What if I give my little dot control of a computer factory or a robot factory so that it can build more of itself in the physical world? At what point would you consider it life?

Perhaps more problematically, would this "little dot" have consciousness?

Other things we could talk about here...After a while I realized that what I was truly interested in was using evolutionary principles to evolve human-level or superhuman intelligence on a computer...Any thoughts in regards to awakening, either individually or globally?
~housecat

Glycine
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Re: AI and ALife

Post by Glycine » Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:38 pm

I'm not a computer scientist, but I used to program in C++, Visual Fox Pro and Basic some years ago (and I greatly enjoyed it).
We seem to be able to transfer more and more of our functions to computers. Is there a limit? Probably not!

James has answered part of your question in the following thread (see his last 2 posts, although it may not be what you're looking for):
http://eckhart-tolle-forum.inner-growth ... 382#p34382

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Sighclone
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Re: AI and ALife

Post by Sighclone » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:19 pm

These are my personal impressions only:

Humans are the most capable form ("living' or "non-living") of allowing Source to fully self-realize. They are also the forms most fully capable, today, of naturally engaging with the matter and energy of this planet, using their physical and mental tools. Science's definition of life is fine with me. The real issue is the level of consciousness, and the capacity for higher consciousness. We win that one, too.

AI entities need to demonstrate some level of complete Self-awareness and the ability to make repeated intentional "non-logical" choices which cause them temporary pain for ulterior purposes before they nudge us off the throne. Perhaps some of the more refined chess simulators do that well??

Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

Glycine
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Re: AI and ALife

Post by Glycine » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:59 pm

I consider domokato's question basically the same as this one:
Has a dog Buddha-nature?

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Re: AI and ALife

Post by kiki » Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:03 pm

We seem to be able to transfer more and more of our functions to computers. Is there a limit? Probably not!
"Open the pod bay door, Hal."

"I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave."

2001: A Space Odyssey
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
---

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Re: AI and ALife

Post by James » Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:29 pm

It is certainly an interesting question domokato. It seems we have the capacity to co-create and simulate intelligence, in the "image and likeness" of God; yet what of the intangible and mysterious aspect of life? Could a machine ever be consciously aware and experience life to the extent that you and I do? I would think not. The question begs, what is life really? I am reminded of an intro to an old Moody Blues album titled On The Threshold Of A Dream. In this segment the "Establishment" is a voice generated by a computer, (yes it is a bit of the hippie counter culture).
"In The Beginning"
First man: I think, I think I am, therefore I am, I think.

Establishment: of course you are my bright little star,
I've miles
And miles
Of files
Pretty files of your forefathers fruit
And now to suit our
Great computer,
You're magnetic ink.

First man: I'm more than that, I know I am, at least, I think I must be.

Inner man: there you go man, keep as cool as you can.
Face piles
And piles
Of trials
With smiles.
It riles them to believe
That you perceive
The web they weave
And keep on thinking free.
Here is a link to a youtube clip of it, the first minute or so has white noise and some subtle sound effects, which is how it is on the original recording.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgvVFv2jiL0

For those not familiar, when that Moody Blues piece was written in the 1960's, computers stored data on reels using magnetic ink, today we use digital electronics, but it is the same idea in the deeper sense. "I think I am, therefore I am" is of course a reference to the 17th century french philosopher Descartes' famous pronouncement: "I think, therefore I am; or "I am thinking, therefore I exist". Isn't that the basis of Artificial Intelligence? Now we are going beyond thought as identity to pure awareness.

I am also reminded of a passage in scripture "beware of the works of thine own hands". I take that to mean, don't be fooled into thinking that we can create anything in and by ourselves.

A.I. has a useful role to play in the unfolding of consciousness, for one thing it has increased our global connectivity and communication immensely; meeting on this forum is an example of that. I am sure there will be many fascinating and useful things that we can do with A.I. in the future, but it will always fall short of life itself. Perhaps someday we won't even need an intermediary device to communicate globally, as all of humanity will realize that they are of one intelligence, one mind, one life? We could say life will realize itself as one again. Tolle seems to hint at this in A New Earth, when he writes that there is the sense of separation and then there is the return cycle to unity. But It is best not to make that into another belief, or prophesy for the future. Individual spiritual realization in not a belief, and it is always now.

That's how I see it,
just my two cents.

J.
Last edited by James on Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AI and ALife

Post by Glycine » Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:59 pm

What if, in the future, people will slowly be replaced by ego-free sentient ALife beings that communicate wirelessly and work together harmoniously as one mind towards some purpose?

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Re: AI and ALife

Post by James » Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:32 pm

You said:
What if, in the future, people will slowly be replaced by ego-free sentient ALife beings
There isn't awareness and people, awareness and A.I.; there is only Awareness. Nothing to replace.

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Re: AI and ALife

Post by Glycine » Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:48 pm

James wrote:There isn't awareness and people, awareness and A.I.; there is only Awareness. Nothing to replace.
This is the truth indeed - there is only One Life, and there's nothing to replace! Some illusions can be so sneaky....
Thank you!

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Re: AI and ALife

Post by domokato » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:42 pm

Sighclone wrote:AI entities need to demonstrate some level of complete Self-awareness and the ability to make repeated intentional "non-logical" choices which cause them temporary pain for ulterior purposes before they nudge us off the throne.
Would this demonstrate that they are conscious? Or just at human-level intelligence?
James wrote:"I think, therefore I am; or "I am thinking, therefore I exist". Isn't that the basis of Artificial Intelligence?
Academic artificial intelligence doesn't really try to deal with the metaphysics of it ("I exist"); they're having a hard enough time getting the thing to think in the first place!
James wrote:I am sure there will be many fascinating and useful things that we can do with A.I. in the future, but it will always fall short of life itself.
How can you be so sure?
Glycine wrote:What if, in the future, people will slowly be replaced by ego-free sentient ALife beings that communicate wirelessly and work together harmoniously as one mind towards some purpose?
Interesting question. In addition, I wonder if the ALife beings would evolve egos...lol.
~housecat

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Re: AI and ALife

Post by James » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:02 pm

James wrote:
"I think, therefore I am; or "I am thinking, therefore I exist". Isn't that the basis of Artificial Intelligence?
Domokato wrote:
Academic artificial intelligence doesn't really try to deal with the metaphysics of it ("I exist"); they're having a hard enough time getting the thing to think in the first place!
My point is that we have machines that simulate thinking, they are programmed to think along certain lines which is dependent on the intelligence of the programmer. They think, so they exist, in a very limited sense. But to make a thinking machine into a life form is entirely different matter.
James wrote:
I am sure there will be many fascinating and useful things that we can do with A.I. in the future, but it will always fall short of life itself.
Domokato wrote:
How can you be so sure?
I am not entirely sure, just my opinion on the matter; if the divine wants to express itself that way it can and will, but it is not my concern what and how life will occur in the future; as Byron Katie says, "that's God's business" and "what business are you in?" We don't get to decide how life unfolds, but we can fantasize all we want about it. If dualistic human thinking believes it can simulate the creation of life it will never happen. Science has been tinkering with those ideas in other areas such as splitting the atom and genetic engineering, both of which have dualistic consequences, both good and bad implications. That is how I see it. But if you feel inspired to work on such a project, go for it. If the researches involved are not divided internally or are truly inspired, then the outcome would be harmonious and useful, rather than misguided.

Either way it is all just the play of form happening in awareness. :D

J.

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Re: AI and ALife

Post by Glycine » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:27 pm

Cloning comes pretty close to creation of new life!

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Re: AI and ALife

Post by domokato » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:33 pm

James wrote:My point is that we have machines that simulate thinking, they are programmed to think along certain lines which is dependent on the intelligence of the programmer. They think, so they exist, in a very limited sense. But to make a thinking machine into a life form is entirely different matter.
An interesting thing about this is that while it is true that the intelligence of the programmer may determine the intelligence of the machine, it is not necessarily a one-to-one mapping anymore - due to advances in evolutionary computing. Programmers can now using evolutionary principles to evolve solutions which the programmer had no direct input in. And the solutions sometimes surprise their creators with their unique yet more efficient ways of accomplishing their goals. Recently, patents have been granted to inventions that were invented by computers via genetic programming or genetic algorithms (sub-fields of evolutionary computing).

By the way, one of Eckhart's main points in PON is that "I think, therefore I am" is flawed and that "I am" alone is the actual truth, since thinking is not required for you to exist - as proved by your ability to stop thinking yet still exist.

You bring up an interesting point about genetic engineering. What about if we engineer intelligent organic life from scratch. Would it have consciousness? And how is that different from a machine?

These are things I used to enjoy contemplating a lot, and haven't really thought about it much since awakening. I wonder what place they have in regards to awareness/presence.
~housecat

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Re: AI and ALife

Post by Glycine » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:01 pm

Actually, humans (and other life forms) have been creating new life for millennia!
Maybe we are just finding new ways to create life!

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Re: AI and ALife

Post by James » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:04 pm

You said:
An interesting thing about this is that while it is true that the intelligence of the programmer may determine the intelligence of the machine, it is not necessarily a one-to-one mapping anymore - due to advances in evolutionary computing. Programmers can now using evolutionary principles to evolve solutions which the programmer had no direct input in. And the solutions sometimes surprise their creators with their unique yet more efficient ways of accomplishing their goals. Recently, patents have been granted to inventions that were invented by computers via genetic programming or genetic algorithms (sub-fields of evolutionary computing).
That is very interesting. If computers could evolve and become smarter on their own, it reminds me of the movie 2001 Space Odyssey that Kiki alluded to. Also Spielbergs A.I., and the sci fi thriller, Lawnmower Man, which I think is loosely based on a Steven King story; if you have not seen it it is very interesting, it portrays the risks of cyber intelligence in the wrong hands.
By the way, one of Eckhart's main points in PON is that "I think, therefore I am" is flawed and that "I am" alone is the actual truth, since thinking is not required for you to exist - as proved by your ability to stop thinking yet still exist.
Yes that is exactly what I am saying.
These are things I used to enjoy contemplating a lot, and haven't really thought about it much since awakening. I wonder what place they have in regards to awareness/presence.
Well if you are a science researcher or developer, then through Presence, insight and imagination you may develop new ways of doing things or inventions, as did people like Einstein and Thomas Edison. Both of whom stressed the idea of using wisdom along with ingenuity, as a necessity for human survival. Wisdom seems to only come from that place of stillness and emptiness.

J.

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