Author Topic: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...  (Read 6901 times)

Cramulus

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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2014, 07:06:00 pm »
My concern is more about using AI to extend individual life, and whether the replacement is the original in terms of continuity of consciousness. I suppose it would be good enough if the experience of moving into an artificial was at least as smooth as the transition from wakefulness to sleep to wakefulness again. But how do you prove that's what has happened?

It's like the star trek transporter problem -- if all the transporter does is break down your body into energy, beam it somewhere, then turn it back into matter and reassemble it, is it really you? Maybe your experience of consciousness would be interrupted when your body was ripped apart, and it wouldn't "pick up" again when the machine gets rebooted planetside - that's a NEW experience of consciousness, and the old you is dead.

Of course, there's no way to know, because the new person inherits all of your old experiences and perceive a continuous stream of consciousness. (I think there's a TNG episode about this, no? Where an copy of Riker created by a transporter error has been stranded on some planet for 10 years, and he thinks he's the real one ... or maybe he IS the real one)

There are characters in Transmetropolitan that do that too - transhumanists who upload their consciousness into a swarm of nanobots which can assemble themselves into any form. Then the body dies. So is the swarm the same person as the one who died? Is the person really dead or not? It's all tangled up.

I agree that the interruption in consciousness would really make me hesitate to get on that ride.

But imagine this -- what if they could digitize your brain one piece at a time, so the experience of consciousness was never interrupted?

Nanites crawl through your brain and slowly replace each neuron with a mechanical one, one by one. You might be awake the whole time.

If the essence of "you-ness" is connected to the uninterrupted experience of consciousness, would THAT be you?

If so, then the question about whether or not life can be digitally augmented, perhaps into immortality, is not really a philosophical problem, but one of process.

tyrannosaurus vex

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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2014, 10:25:30 pm »
I'd be cool with however they preserve consciousness continuity. I'm thought-experimenting about ways to test it.

1. The gun in the room and the conversation with the robot. It convinces you to your satisfaction, and you off yourself. Chances of success - nearly zero because even if you're convinced, you're not likely to want to commit suicide.

2. New idea: Right before the switch, they tell you a joke and put you under. Then they do the upload, wake up the robot, and tell it the punchline. If it it doesn't laugh, it's destroyed and they try again.
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Junkenstein

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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2014, 10:40:57 pm »
I'd be cool with however they preserve consciousness continuity. I'm thought-experimenting about ways to test it.

1. The gun in the room and the conversation with the robot. It convinces you to your satisfaction, and you off yourself. Chances of success - nearly zero because even if you're convinced, you're not likely to want to commit suicide.

2. New idea: Right before the switch, they tell you a joke and put you under. Then they do the upload, wake up the robot, and tell it the punchline. If it it doesn't laugh, it's destroyed and they try again.

The bold, I've been thinking about that a bit and I'd say the bigger problem would be for your new machine self in watching the death/suicide of "you".

That could fuck you up a little.

However, I do like the idea of you somehow certifying You2 in some way.  You2 inheriting immediately in the event of death? All possessions/debt/legal obligations could lead to an interesting situation for some. How well/long will immortal robot you be willing to care for you into your incontinence? Before being legally allowed to murder you?

This also opens up the possibility of 100+ year life terms being able to be served. And therefore even more ridiculous sentencing.

In the robot gulags of the future You2 fucking hates you.
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tyrannosaurus vex

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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2014, 11:14:00 pm »
I'd be cool with however they preserve consciousness continuity. I'm thought-experimenting about ways to test it.

1. The gun in the room and the conversation with the robot. It convinces you to your satisfaction, and you off yourself. Chances of success - nearly zero because even if you're convinced, you're not likely to want to commit suicide.

2. New idea: Right before the switch, they tell you a joke and put you under. Then they do the upload, wake up the robot, and tell it the punchline. If it it doesn't laugh, it's destroyed and they try again.

The bold, I've been thinking about that a bit and I'd say the bigger problem would be for your new machine self in watching the death/suicide of "you".

That could fuck you up a little.

However, I do like the idea of you somehow certifying You2 in some way.  You2 inheriting immediately in the event of death? All possessions/debt/legal obligations could lead to an interesting situation for some. How well/long will immortal robot you be willing to care for you into your incontinence? Before being legally allowed to murder you?

This also opens up the possibility of 100+ year life terms being able to be served. And therefore even more ridiculous sentencing.

In the robot gulags of the future You2 fucking hates you.

I really like Cram's idea of replacing neurons and synapses one at a time using nanites. That might be the only way to ensure that one's self-identity has a chance to adapt to and assimilate the technology. It would also solve the problem of what to do with the "old" you. It would also be a lot easier to sell a technology like that than to sell "upload yourself to a computer, then discard your useless biomass", even if it was perfect.

If it did lead to immortality or significantly longer lifespans, there could certainly be the possibility of 1,000-year prison sentences being carried out, though once you had gone full robot it would be (theoretically) possible to temporarily deposit a prisoner's consciousness into a virtual universe where time passes a thousand times faster -- assuming the purpose of incarceration is reform, rather than getting rid of the offender. I don't think "gulags" would be of much use at all, though, even for nefarious purposes. If we had the technology to bend consciousness itself, it would be trivial to automate whatever actual labor was done in gulags. Prisoners who would be disposed of in work camps today would probably just be permanently deleted instead.
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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2014, 02:17:59 pm »
You are all assuming that what you have now is continuous consciousness.
We can't even walk into a different room without forgetting what we were doing.Hell, I can't even open the fridge without forgetting what i was doing.
There is no continuous consciousness, that is just a lie your old you tells your new you through memories. And memories change every time you remember them.
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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2014, 02:30:43 pm »
You are all assuming that what you have now is continuous consciousness.
We can't even walk into a different room without forgetting what we were doing.Hell, I can't even open the fridge without forgetting what i was doing.
There is no continuous consciousness, that is just a lie your old you tells your new you through memories. And memories change every time you remember them.

I would believe this but my Id just can't wrap around it.
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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2014, 02:35:14 pm »
You might have fun reading some of R S Bakker's blog, Vex.  Even though he should be working on The Unholy Consult he puts up some quite interesting stuff on the Blind Brain Theory.

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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2014, 03:26:10 pm »
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If we had the technology to bend consciousness itself, it would be trivial to automate whatever actual labor was done in gulags. Prisoners who would be disposed of in work camps today would probably just be permanently deleted instead.

I just had a futuregasm.
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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2014, 03:30:23 pm »
You might have fun reading some of R S Bakker's blog, Vex.  Even though he should be working on The Unholy Consult he puts up some quite interesting stuff on the Blind Brain Theory.

Thanks for the recommendation, I'll try to check it out over the course of the day. Reading the one about enlightenment now.
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Nephew Twiddleton

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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2014, 03:46:48 am »
So I heard about it years back and was all, like, "yadda yadda, what-evs, f'kin miles away but, yeah, sure maybe it'll go one of those ways if we survive the next couple of million years or so". So now I'm hearing some guru fuck, name of Kurtrzwell or something has said he reckons it's a decade and a half away or some shit and he's got "followers"

Kurzweil is thought to be a cranky genius by some. Totally right in some ways and dude, stop smoking weed in others. I can't comment on it one way or another.

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What I do know is that I've been present since the early days of this bullshit and I reckon I could have just about have imagined a future with devices like smartphones in it but only as a vague "video call" device from the 21st century. I'm pretty confident I have a handle on how some of this shit is going to develop over the next half dozen or so years but, beyond that? Fuck knows, man. Am I a believer?

Not predicting things beyond ten years from now is healthy skepticism. We have achieved a level of technology somewhat on level with the United Federation of Planets, working on others that they can do, and all well before Zephram's late 21st century warp flight. NASA's working on the groundwork for FTL right now. In some ways we are technologically superior to Star Trek. For example, we have way sleeker iPads than Kirk, and we only need one of them unlike Picard or Sisko who get piles of them because you can only store so much on one in an interstellar republic, apparently. But at the same time it's 2014 and I don't have a fucking hoverboard.

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Suddenly I find myself concerned about dying "too soon".

As a biological entity, especially one with sentience, this should be your default position. Your goal is to stay alive as long as possible, and hopefully have as many offspring as you can in the process. Whenever anyone dies, it's too soon. Especially for a technological species with foreknowledge of both individual mortality and eventual extinction.[/quote]

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Please, please, please peedee - blind me with science and tell me I can go back to not being even remotely phased by the concept of death because it's definitely going to happen to me, right?  :eek:

I will do what I can in light of all these comments and being a late guy to the party. Forthcoming.
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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2014, 04:12:46 am »
Some drug that totally reprograms DNA and keeps me a healthy 25 or 30 years old, indefinitely. Next ten years? To be honest I know fuck all about that shit.

The best I can speak on this is that you can't reprogram DNA without it being a monumental waste of time. You can do it with a single unicellular organism, but consider that Pent is a collection of approximately 100 trillion genetically identical individual cells. Reprogramming your DNA would be the equivalent of reprogramming 100 trillion computers to make them work longer. The trick is telomeres. Those are the caps on your DNA that prevent fraying. Problem is, they get smaller with each cell division in eukaryotes (which include animals, plants, fungi, and a host of microorganisms that aren't bacteria or archaea). Part of the reason we age is because our telomeres get shorter and our DNA starts to fray. Make a drug that lengthens telomeres and there's your fountain of youth.


So anyway, AI and uploading your memories and personality. Unfortunately that really isn't a solution. You're basically just programming some fancy computer to act like you act. Even if they eventually get it to 169% accuracy (and though I don't want to live forever, I do hope I get to live through the trial and error phase of that project), what the hell does that have to do with you? So there's a computer out there attached to a robot body and nobody can tell the difference between that thing and you unless the batteries run out. Well so what? Is that robot you now?

If the mind mimics the parent mind, then yes, it is the same. I'm going to address this more in the transporter problem, but hang on to your seat there Vex, because believe it or not you are taking up a vaguely theist position and I am taking a vaguely atheistic position. Tables, how do they work?
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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2014, 04:48:03 am »
It's like the star trek transporter problem -- if all the transporter does is break down your body into energy, beam it somewhere, then turn it back into matter and reassemble it, is it really you?
Yes.
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Maybe your experience of consciousness would be interrupted when your body was ripped apart, and it wouldn't "pick up" again when the machine gets rebooted planetside - that's a NEW experience of consciousness, and the old you is dead.

It's not though. We experience that every day when we go to bed. Your consciousness is interrupted for  a couple of hours, then you get something similar to consciousness, then you stop existing again, then you approach consciousness again, then you disappear again and then you alarm clock goes off. For most of those 8 hours you may as well, from your own perspective, be dead. The only difference is that you can vaguely experience things and maybe as a survival instinct become conscious again.

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Of course, there's no way to know, because the new person inherits all of your old experiences and perceive a continuous stream of consciousness. (I think there's a TNG episode about this, no? Where an copy of Riker created by a transporter error has been stranded on some planet for 10 years, and he thinks he's the real one ... or maybe he IS the real one)
Yes. He ended up going by Tom Riker (William Thomas Riker) and becoming a Maquis, comically ripping off fake cheek hair in a dramatic moment on Deep Space Nine in order to somehow demonstrate that Commander Will Riker somehow didn't change his facial hair in the past 24 hours. Actually I watched that episode with Villager and she and I cracked up laughing. She because she forgot about the TNG episode and thought he was from the Mirror Universe, and me that she would assume that, and the ridiculousness of the whole scene as one thing.

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There are characters in Transmetropolitan that do that too - transhumanists who upload their consciousness into a swarm of nanobots which can assemble themselves into any form. Then the body dies. So is the swarm the same person as the one who died? Is the person really dead or not? It's all tangled up.

I agree that the interruption in consciousness would really make me hesitate to get on that ride.

But imagine this -- what if they could digitize your brain one piece at a time, so the experience of consciousness was never interrupted?

Nanites crawl through your brain and slowly replace each neuron with a mechanical one, one by one. You might be awake the whole time.

If the essence of "you-ness" is connected to the uninterrupted experience of consciousness, would THAT be you?

If so, then the question about whether or not life can be digitally augmented, perhaps into immortality, is not really a philosophical problem, but one of process.

Again, you all go to sleep right?

The other thing too is that you are a pattern. What defines you is that pattern. Your body, on a cellular level, is constantly changing. Your cell membranes behave like a really fucking fast liquid. The whole objection with the transporter thing is that you disappear and stop existing for a few seconds and then reappear but is it you. Yeah. It is. You aren't your constituent atoms which are quite frankly constantly changing. Typing on a keyboard? Sorry, your atoms actually just went all over the place just to type "Typing on a keyboard." If you want your chemical structure to remain exactly the same, then you prefer death with no decomposition. So, what matter is it where those atoms happen to be? You're not even made of the same atoms that you were when you were born. The big problem there is well, photocopying photocopies of photocopies.


It's basically a question of the nature of consciousness, or the "soul" -- is your soul simply your ability to process information, or is it your awareness that you are processing information? I think that question may be reading too much into it, though I'm not a neuroscientist so I can't be sure. Maybe human self-awareness is just an artifact of processing information the way we do.

In a way it is. Consciousness is an emergent property. And that property emerges as a result, as I understand it, of how much and how efficiently neurons are communicating with each other. Here's a question. Where do we go between being awake and dreaming? We're out for a whole 8 hours during sleep, and we only approach consciousness for a few minutes  here and there within that time.

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My concern is more about using AI to extend individual life, and whether the replacement is the original in terms of continuity of consciousness. I suppose it would be good enough if the experience of moving into an artificial was at least as smooth as the transition from wakefulness to sleep to wakefulness again. But how do you prove that's what has happened?

Replacement is continuity. Which I will get to.

I really like Cram's idea of replacing neurons and synapses one at a time using nanites.

This was also touched upon, briefly, and without proof of concept, in TNG. It was the episode where Data and Lore teamed up with the Borg liberated by Hugh and wanted to research how to perfect the Borg so that they would be totally mechanical and not organic at all. The experiment was going to be done on Geordi and he successfully appealed to Data's new found emotions to spare him.
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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2014, 04:52:25 am »
I pasted those two bits in backwards, but point is made I think.
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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2014, 05:12:58 am »
I'm not taking the position that uploading consciousness is impossible or that consciousness springs from some supernatural force, only that I'd want to make sure the switch to electronic format would be imperceptible for the conscious mind. Also they need to figure out more than just keeping a sense of consciousness continuity, since there's more to being human than just being aware. If a person becomes digital, is procreation impossible after that point? Would a human psyche be able to cope with little or no risk of death? How would a human mind react to centuries of experience? Would bacon still be delicious?
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Re: 'kay, so, this singularity thing...
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2014, 05:30:08 am »
I'm not taking the position that uploading consciousness is impossible or that consciousness springs from some supernatural force,
just as a side note this may be a part of the reason why theists and atheists don't see eye to eye. The supernatural is impossible by definition. Within a strong theistic model a god sets the rules of what is natural. I believe in an afterlife. I would never consider the process of spiritual immortality to be somehow separated from nature.
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only that I'd want to make sure the switch to electronic format would be imperceptible for the conscious mind.
Like transitioning between full consciousness and a dream state a few hours later?
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Also they need to figure out more than just keeping a sense of consciousness continuity, since there's more to being human than just being aware.
Of course. You know, except for the fact that our own brains can't maintain that continuity. You know, sleep. Or even daydreaming.
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If a person becomes digital, is procreation impossible after that point? Would a human psyche be able to cope with little or no risk of death? How would a human mind react to centuries of experience? Would bacon still be delicious?

a) Procreation is not impossible but limited. Remember that humans are two types of programming: psychological/sociological and genetic
Genetic reproduction would become impossible. Psychological programming would become a matter of agreeing with other software.
b) I suspect the human mind is wired to not only accept but achieve immortality. Our level of intelligence does two things: the realization that we will in fact die and the realization that maybe we can cheat that by whatever means necessary.
c) there is no indication that we individually process experiences in the same way, only that we interpret them as beneficial or not, or something. It sounds like philosophical wankery but it is quite possible that if you were able to live in my head, you would see that what I would label blue is perceived as some sort of nasty yellow. Same with tastes. We agree that bacon is awesome. But the way my brain codes "bacon is awesome" might be interpreted by your brain as "why can't I stop eating feces?!"
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