The Grand theory of Artificial Idiocy

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DrFrag
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Re: The Grand theory of Artificial Idiocy

Postby DrFrag » 1 month ago

Clockwork wrote:And I'm going on but 100% Steve has the correct mindset.


I found this great video of an online talk he gave. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kHG7RK_kSw The audio isn't the best but he goes into more depth about feedback mechanisms than Patrick Winston did, so I guess the understanding of neural nets is further along than I thought. I can't quite shake the feeling that we'll never figure it out, because we're trying to comprehend neural nets using our neural nets. Kind of like trying to fit a box in an identical box. But maybe we'll give birth to an AI that's smart enough to give us a dumbed down explanation. :D

On free will, when you look at atoms and molecules and cells and organisms and even right up to childhood psychology it all seems to be deterministic. There doesn't seem to be anything free of cause and effect, so it looks as though there's no free will. We can feel like we have the free will to make decisions, but that feeling really comes down to a bunch of chemicals in our brains that are all subject to cause and effect. Manolis Kellis discussed this briefly in a recent interview with Lex Fridman. I think the whole interview is great.

But there's a couple of things I can't quite shake that makes me qualify "there's no free will" with "sort of". First of all, we think we have free will. We think we can make decisions and have some sort of control over outcomes. From the perspective of evolutionary biology, that's a really odd thing to have evolved. What benefit is thinking we have free will when we don't? Wouldn't life be just as effective if we acted like robots that didn't believe in free will?

The second thing is when we act as though there's no free will, society starts to fall apart. Like if judges said "you're guilty of murder, but there's no free will so it wasn't your fault" then the whole judicial system would collapse and we'd have anarchy. If there's no free will, why is it so important that we act as though there is free will? But maybe this second point is the answer to my first point.

There's a whole bunch of weird things that only emerge from intelligence and consciousness. Justice, humour, romance, nostalgia, etc. can't be found on the atomic level, but get a biological system complex enough and those things emerge. So maybe free will is an emergent property. Our brains have become so complex that we have imaginations and we can run little mental simulations of future reality and choose a course of action that optimumly suits us, so maybe that's a kind of soft free will. Then I remember we're made of atoms so maybe that's all wrong.

Anyway I haven't read much on this topic so these are just my ramblings and maybe philosophers have sorted these things out long ago. :lol:

Strange Wings wrote:I tapped into Advaita Vedanta a bit since the last couple of months, and some things you mention here correlates with what I gathered thus far.


I agree with some parts of it, but not other parts. I think suffering is a very real thing that happens to us and I would need some strong convincing that a mental reframing can significantly alleviate it. I'm also wary of spiritual leaders explaining to us what's going on, because I think ultimately as humans we don't even know what we are. Having said that, I think there's some merit to idea that we're part of the universe experiencing itself.

On a related note, have you read Tezuka's Buddha manga? I don't know how accurate it is to the historical Siddhattha, but he wrestles with the self-inflicted suffering of the ascetics and decides it's a bit of a dead end (no pun intended). Anyway it's drawn way better than his earlier Astroboy manga and I enjoyed it. I actually have the Dhammapada next to my bed but I don't think I'll ever finish reading it. Feels like each sentence takes a week to mentally digest.

I watched another Lex Fridman interview today that was a bit related. It was with Peter Singer and he talks about suffering. He also talks a bit about robot rights and whether or not robots can experience suffering. My brain is still processing it so I don't have any coherent comments on it just yet.
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Strange Wings
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Re: The Grand theory of Artificial Idiocy

Postby Strange Wings » 1 month ago

Tetsuwan Penguin wrote:Please don't leave. We can certainly jab at each other a little bit over the insanity of politics. I meant no offense, and took none.

:) It's all okay, I'm still here. I wrote that as I just watched the terrifying explosion in Beirut on the 4th this month, leaving me in a wrong frame of mind. Don't worry, it's all cool! :D
The Trump thing was a silly joke I've had to make, but I should've realized it could also be misunderstood. It might be a touchy subject. :lol:

DrFrag wrote:I agree with some parts of it, but not other parts. I think suffering is a very real thing that happens to us and I would need some strong convincing that a mental reframing can significantly alleviate it.

Yes, suffering is a reality which we can't deny, as also is mentioned in the First Noble Truth of the Buddha. Bad things do happen to us, that's a sad fact, and I didn't intend to question that. I even think that if we'd try to mentally reframe ourselves so that we would perceive our suffering as "empty" or "insignificant", we only would enforce our suffering to the double of the load, as it would suggest that there's an "I" or a "me" which is responsible of how to deal with suffering.
It's quite a delicate topic I raised here, I'd rather not dwell too much on it.

DrFrag wrote:On a related note, have you read Tezuka's Buddha manga? I don't know how accurate it is to the historical Siddhattha, but he wrestles with the self-inflicted suffering of the ascetics and decides it's a bit of a dead end (no pun intended). Anyway it's drawn way better than his earlier Astroboy manga and I enjoyed it. I actually have the Dhammapada next to my bed but I don't think I'll ever finish reading it. Feels like each sentence takes a week to mentally digest.

I haven't read it yet, but I'm so intrigued now I might have a go on it. :)
After a long session of meditation, the Buddha came up with the Four Noble Truths, which basically tell about the reality of suffering in the world and how the suffering can be overcome. In deep meditation, he asked himself "Who or what is it, that experiences feelings of suffering?" and he wasn't able to locate an entity in himself.
I haven't read the Dhammapada myself, but I read a couple of biographies about the historical Buddha, written by Zen and Tibetan Buddhists. It provided a quite good overview of his life and teachings.
「頼むから、仕事をさせてくれ」
- 手塚治虫先生の最後の言葉

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jeffbert
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Re: The Grand theory of Artificial Idiocy

Postby jeffbert » 1 month ago

Interesting discussion!
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Clockwork
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Re: The Grand theory of Artificial Idiocy

Postby Clockwork » 1 month ago

Clearly Steve doesn't mean to "crack" life in the same sense as Buddhism does, that's silly. He means he's trying to find the mechanism of life as it might also apply to biological life.

By the way Steve seriously needs funds, he does not have a lab or a company because he does not like working with them. He doesn't like other people working on his work so he's ended up pushing away most people who can financially help, because they usually want to be involved. He now relies only on donations. Universities have funded him but he's run out.

Maybe poke him on Twitter about it and ask him about his private website, Grandroids.com, if you donate he'll give you access.

And this has been bothering me for a while and I don't really know how to word this but
DrFrag wrote:Even a basic human brain with the lightning fast mathematical skills of a pocket calculator, plus a built-in wikipedia, would be an incredible leap forward in intelligent life.

Disagreed.
Grand's vision of future machines is that they will have emotions, that's the breakthrough.
They aren't built to be perfect super-machines and that should not be the point. I actually doubt expecting them to perform such standard computing functions is realistic. I mean really, math?

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Strange Wings
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Re: The Grand theory of Artificial Idiocy

Postby Strange Wings » 1 month ago

DrFrag wrote:The second thing is when we act as though there's no free will, society starts to fall apart. Like if judges said "you're guilty of murder, but there's no free will so it wasn't your fault" then the whole judicial system would collapse and we'd have anarchy. If there's no free will, why is it so important that we act as though there is free will? But maybe this second point is the answer to my first point.

This got me thinking for quite a while recently.
I think free will is an illusion, because what we call free will still appears in the limited spectrum of our conditioned mind since our childhood. Religion, education and upbringing form our moral and ethical thinking and behaviour, it has become sort of a BIOS-setup deep in our brains. You brought up the example of "comprehending neural nets using our neural nets" earlier, and I think that also applies on our notion of free will, which is also a concept and therefore "A neural network in our brain which has been formed somewhere in the past". Schopenhauer stated 'we can always do what we want, but never WANT what we want', and I think he has a point there. :D
There's also Dostojewski's "Crime And Punishment" (Tezuka even drew a Manga adaption of it), which treats the topic of free will when the main protagonist, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, defends himself in court by stating that in consideration of the given circumstances happened in his past, in fact he just couldn't act any different than to commit the murder he did. Nonetheless the judge sentenced him in favor of the public welfare, like, Star Trek's Mister Spock would say: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few!"

Also, what I think is preventing most of us from becoming anarchic is a deep-seated subtle sense of compassion. However, some people just seem to have too limited access to that compassion, so their brains are getting too involved in thinking, and strong emotions start to appear which they can't control any longer.
A gunman's mass killing is a startling fact of how related both existentialism and nihilism actually are. The middle way between those two extremes has been proven to work pretty well, although it certainly isn't always easy to abide to that principle, as everyone's circumstances in life are so different.
「頼むから、仕事をさせてくれ」

- 手塚治虫先生の最後の言葉

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fafner
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Re: The Grand theory of Artificial Idiocy

Postby fafner » 1 month ago

Clockwork, I am registered on grandroids.com since the beginning, I thought your name was familiar and I'm rather certain I saw you there (but there doesn't seem to be a list of users anywhere so I couldn't check). I would gladly pay a small amount each month the way patreon works, as I'm sure many others would too. That would help him make enough money each month to keep going (and if it doesn't I would raise my amount as much as possible). If there is a way I would really like to know it, otherwise we should suggest him something like that.
The real sign that someone has become a fanatic is that he completely loses his sense of humor about some important facet of his life. When humor goes, it means he's lost his perspective.

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