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Author Topic: A thinking machine ?  (Read 10343 times)

another_someone

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Re: A thinking machine ?
« Reply #25 on: 05/01/2006 05:08:34 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

quote:
The question is whether we either could, or would wish to, build something that was exactly like a human being?


That is akin to the perennial question about why do people climb mountains. The answer being, because it's there.
It's not so much a case of "Why should we?" as "Can we?".




As individual proof of concepts, yes; but are we likely to mass produce these things if they have no utility, that is another matter.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: A thinking machine ?
« Reply #26 on: 05/01/2006 05:29:01 »
I think it's relatively safe to assume that we will not be able to create a machine that is exactly like a human being.It might resemble humanity but will never live it. Only human beings can do that !

However, the entertainment industry of the future may seek to create robots with humanistic qualities !...the possibilities of human-robots are endless.

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
 

another_someone

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Re: A thinking machine ?
« Reply #27 on: 05/01/2006 07:45:19 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

I think it's relatively safe to assume that we will not be able to create a machine that is exactly like a human being.It might resemble humanity but will never live it. Only human beings can do that !



Now that is a whole separate question what is life?

quote:

However, the entertainment industry of the future may seek to create robots with humanistic qualities !...the possibilities of human-robots are endless.



You mean a more sophisticated version of a blow up doll! :)

Though, joking aside, I could see serious social problems if the sex industry started using sophisticated robots.  If one looks at the role of machines elsewhere in society, it has been to substitute for slave labour.  If the sex industry went down the same road, it could undermine the role of inter-human sex in society.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: A thinking machine ?
« Reply #28 on: 05/01/2006 13:05:45 »
quote:
As individual proof of concepts, yes; but are we likely to mass produce these things if they have no utility, that is another matter.


A machine wouldn't necessarily have to look like a human to have human qualities. The human body is not a particularly efficient design for most tasks we perform. It is a multi-function tool. Historically we have designed machines that our physiology finds easier to use, not necessarily for the efficiency of the machine concerned. These days, however, that is changing. With the development of more "intelligent" machines, human intervention is decreased so the machine can be designed to be more efficient.
Just take housework as an example. If we wanted to design a robot for that task, it's not very likely that it would be humanoid. However, much housework has to be done in situ - for instance dish-washing. What is the point of building a mobile machine to do that? Far better to have a stationary machine that the dishes are brought to; unless, of course, the machine can collect the dishes and then go to a spot where it can plug in to the water supply.
However, an intelligent machine that can tell what type of items have been put in it for washing would be sensible. It wouldn't look much like a housewife though! :D
I think we are far more likely to have less-complex machines designed for specific tasks, and with just enough intelligence to be able to perform those tasks.
 

another_someone

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Re: A thinking machine ?
« Reply #29 on: 05/01/2006 20:14:30 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

A machine wouldn't necessarily have to look like a human to have human qualities.



It does not need to look like a human to have some human qualities, but if it were to have all the qualities of a human then it must also look like a human.

quote:

 The human body is not a particularly efficient design for most tasks we perform. It is a multi-function tool. Historically we have designed machines that our physiology finds easier to use, not necessarily for the efficiency of the machine concerned. These days, however, that is changing. With the development of more "intelligent" machines, human intervention is decreased so the machine can be designed to be more efficient.



This is exactly what I've been saying humans would have no advantage in building machines that function as if they were human.

quote:

Just take housework as an example. If we wanted to design a robot for that task, it's not very likely that it would be humanoid. However, much housework has to be done in situ - for instance dish-washing. What is the point of building a mobile machine to do that? Far better to have a stationary machine that the dishes are brought to; unless, of course, the machine can collect the dishes and then go to a spot where it can plug in to the water supply.
However, an intelligent machine that can tell what type of items have been put in it for washing would be sensible. It wouldn't look much like a housewife though! :D
I think we are far more likely to have less-complex machines designed for specific tasks, and with just enough intelligence to be able to perform those tasks.



I have no problem with any of the above, but it does seems different from your earlier comment that appeared to assert that if people were capable of building very human-like machines that they would inevitably do so.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: A thinking machine ?
« Reply #30 on: 06/01/2006 12:21:30 »
quote:
I have no problem with any of the above, but it does seems different from your earlier comment that appeared to assert that if people were capable of building very human-like machines that they would inevitably do so.


And I believe that to be the case. As you said...

 
quote:
As individual proof of concepts, yes; but are we likely to mass produce these things if they have no utility, that is another matter.


I haven't said anywhere that machines resembling humans would be mass-produced.


 
quote:
It does not need to look like a human to have some human qualities, but if it were to have all the qualities of a human then it must also look like a human.


I have to disagree with that statement.
A double amputee doesn't look exactly like the average person, but is still human. Take that argument further. Cut off all of a person's limbs and you are left with a torso & a head. Still human though.
Add prosthetic limbs. Still human? What about transplanting an artificial heart into someone? Does that make them non-human?
Now assume we get to the stage where all the functions of the body, but not those of the brain, can be performed by machines. You could then dispense with the torso & connect the person's head to the machines to keep him alive. Still human or not?
At what point does not looking human entail not being human?
 

another_someone

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Re: A thinking machine ?
« Reply #31 on: 06/01/2006 15:28:47 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

A double amputee doesn't look exactly like the average person, but is still human. Take that argument further. Cut off all of a person's limbs and you are left with a torso & a head. Still human though.



What I said was if it did not look like a human, it could not function totally as a human.

What you regard as a functioning human, or looking human, is open to interpretation.  Does someone missing their limbs either function or look like a 'average' human is open to interpretation, but that the function and appearance is interrelated still holds true.  The person lacks both the appearance and the function of his limbs.  That does not make the person non-human, but it does highlight the correlation between appearance and function.

quote:

Add prosthetic limbs. Still human? What about transplanting an artificial heart into someone? Does that make them non-human?



I never said anything about whether it was or was not human not least because the issue of whether someone is human is as much subjective as objective it is a more a statement about whether the individual is 'one of us' or not 'one of us' than a statement of physical reality.  If someone loses their limbs, we would not disown the individual as 'one of us'.

What I said was there was a correlation between appearance and function.


 

another_someone

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Re: A thinking machine ?
« Reply #32 on: 06/01/2006 19:32:00 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

 
quote:
It does not need to look like a human to have some human qualities, but if it were to have all the qualities of a human then it must also look like a human.


I have to disagree with that statement.



OK, I have come back to this because I think there is a misunderstanding about what I intended to mean by it.

As I said, it does not need to look like a human to perform some of the functions of a human.  You can wash dishes without looking human.

On the other hand, you cannot express human body language unless you have a body fairly similar (although it need not be exactly like) that of a human.

In the extreme case of performing human functions, you cannot create something that would perform the function of human reproduction unless it had human genes.

It all depends upon how completely you wish to mimic the entire range of human activity, or merely replicate certain selected functions of human activity.  If you need to replicate everything a human does, and perform all the functions exactly as a human would perform such functions, then you must be in all discernible ways, a human (and that includes not deviating in appearance from a human).

The reality is I cannot see any reason why anyone would wish to accurately replicate the totality of human function, so that limitation is not really a limitation for that which we might actually wish to achieve with our robots.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: A thinking machine ?
« Reply #33 on: 06/01/2006 21:33:42 »
quote:
It all depends upon how completely you wish to mimic the entire range of human activity, or merely replicate certain selected functions of human activity. If you need to replicate everything a human does, and perform all the functions exactly as a human would perform such functions, then you must be in all discernible ways, a human (and that includes not deviating in appearance from a human).

The reality is I cannot see any reason why anyone would wish to accurately replicate the totality of human function, so that limitation is not really a limitation for that which we might actually wish to achieve with our robots.


I do believe we have more-or-less converged at last! :)
I misunderstood what you meant by "qualities". I was thinking as a psychologist not a biologist.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2006 21:34:57 by DoctorBeaver »
 

another_someone

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Re: A thinking machine ?
« Reply #34 on: 06/01/2006 22:32:15 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

I misunderstood what you meant by "qualities". I was thinking as a psychologist not a biologist.



Given the original context of the question was simply about thought, it is perfectly reasonable to say that the broader biology of the robot is not pertinent to the issue.

The issue of broader biological comparisons with humans arose from two comments that were made by neilep and Thondor:

quote:
Originally posted by neilep

The only reason why I think the machine might cite human desires and rights as a model for it's own self is purely because the machine itself is the progeny of mankind. It is designed, constructed and programmed by humans to exist in the human world and therefore its experiences are to be of service to humans in our world....though one would expect it to also favour rights related to it's own manifestation too...ie: a gallon of high grade WD40 every three weeks !



quote:
Originally posted by Thondar  

I think we could design and make a complete system (software and hardware) that could fool a person in some ways, but just in some ways, I don't think that a computer will be even nearly as a human because we way to much complicated.



Out psychology is not only a consequence of our brain, but a consequence of our awareness of our own body.  We could teach a computer to linguistically mimic human self awareness, but if that self awareness was to be indistinguishable from human self awareness then the computer would have to believe it has a body similar to that of a human.  It might be argued that it merely needs the belief, not the reality, of inhabiting a human body; but if it was self aware of having a very non-human body, this would give it a very different awareness of itself, and this would have to manifest itself in one way or another in its interactions with humans.

It would depend upon the function we require of the computer as to whether we would wish it to be aware of its own physical reality, whether we would wish it to believe it had a human body (such would only be practical if the computer was not associated with any substantial physical interactions with the world around it), or to have no substantial self awareness at all.
 

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Re: A thinking machine ?
« Reply #34 on: 06/01/2006 22:32:15 »

 

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