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Thread: are we doomed through stunted sentient growth

  1. #1 are we doomed through stunted sentient growth 
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    During human evolution we have encountered problems and invented ways to fix them or make the task better(more efficient,easier etc). We invented the bike and then the car but iv noticed that any new ideas of transport seem to be simply a different type of car for the last few decades. You would think that by now we would have thought up a new way of transport but there only seems to be changes in the materials used,comfort and fuel used. We are constantly inventing seemingly new things but they all seem to be an electronic model of what we used before. Perhaps we have grown too soft with new technology that we have stopped trying to think up fresh new and better ways to do things. If we do not attempt to make things renewable we could waste the resources and prevent our descendants from being able to save themselves(eg ship to abandon earth,shelter from storms caused by global warming...). Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.


    just wondering
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  3. #2 Re: are we doomed through stunted sentient growth 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zendra
    During human evolution we have encountered problems and invented ways to fix them or make the task better(more efficient,easier etc). We invented the bike and then the car but iv noticed that any new ideas of transport seem to be simply a different type of car for the last few decades. You would think that by now we would have thought up a new way of transport but there only seems to be changes in the materials used,comfort and fuel used. We are constantly inventing seemingly new things but they all seem to be an electronic model of what we used before. Perhaps we have grown too soft with new technology that we have stopped trying to think up fresh new and better ways to do things. If we do not attempt to make things renewable we could waste the resources and prevent our descendants from being able to save themselves(eg ship to abandon earth,shelter from storms caused by global warming...). Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    Not sure that Biology is the place for this- how does this relate to the topic of this forum? Technology is not really an element of biological evolution, though of course it could influence it. I think perhaps this is more of a cultural/social question so I may move the thread. Perhaps you could suggest a better home for it?

    Rather than being evidence of stagnation of creativity, is it not more likely that some designs are optimal for certain tasks and require little modification? Take the razor- the only design changes to it these days are the ever-increasing number of blades in series. It's a design that works well enough that the only motivation for changing it is to force the public to adopt a new standard. To create demand that isn't there because the public are happy with the razor. I have little doubt that the automobile in its current form will one day go into decline in the face of some less restrictive technology, but right now we have an infrastructure in place that facilitates it and a culture that appreciates it. It'll take a major advance to get around those factors. But you can't look at examples such as these and suggest that we're not advancing, that's just cherry picking. Technological change tends to resemble Kuhn's general model of how scientific knowledge advances. Most of the time it's incremental, though that can result in huge changes over time albeit in a very gradual way. And every now and again there's a huge leap forward. To point at the incremental advances as evidence that the leaps aren't happening is senseless. What you want is to look at both and see how they compare to the past. Last I checked the rate of advancement seemed to be accelerating overall, though it's rather tricky to quantify it. I think the likes of Kurzweil have tried, though I'm rather sceptical of whether his work amounts to much more than projecting trends.

    Anyway, whatever the rate, we're clearly still innovating- you're using one our most significant innovations right now. 40 years ago few could have imagined the internet, let alone the extent to which it would grow and diversify. Or how it would interface with mobile phone technology to give us the basically the sum of human knowledge in our pockets.


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  4. #3 Re: are we doomed through stunted sentient growth 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zendra
    During human evolution we have encountered problems and invented ways to fix them or make the task better(more efficient,easier etc). We invented the bike and then the car but iv noticed that any new ideas of transport seem to be simply a different type of car for the last few decades. You would think that by now we would have thought up a new way of transport but there only seems to be changes in the materials used,comfort and fuel used. We are constantly inventing seemingly new things but they all seem to be an electronic model of what we used before. Perhaps we have grown too soft with new technology that we have stopped trying to think up fresh new and better ways to do things. If we do not attempt to make things renewable we could waste the resources and prevent our descendants from being able to save themselves(eg ship to abandon earth,shelter from storms caused by global warming...). Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
    Solar sails are quite different from cars.
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  5. #4 Re: are we doomed through stunted sentient growth 
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    Quote Originally Posted by free radical
    Quote Originally Posted by zendra
    During human evolution we have encountered problems and invented ways to fix them or make the task better(more efficient,easier etc). We invented the bike and then the car but iv noticed that any new ideas of transport seem to be simply a different type of car for the last few decades. You would think that by now we would have thought up a new way of transport but there only seems to be changes in the materials used,comfort and fuel used. We are constantly inventing seemingly new things but they all seem to be an electronic model of what we used before. Perhaps we have grown too soft with new technology that we have stopped trying to think up fresh new and better ways to do things. If we do not attempt to make things renewable we could waste the resources and prevent our descendants from being able to save themselves(eg ship to abandon earth,shelter from storms caused by global warming...). Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
    Solar sails are quite different from cars.
    As are rockets and ion engines. :-D
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  6. #5  
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    Biological evolution can sometimes behave similarly. Once evolution finds a nice niche, it can be very difficult for random mutation to reverse.

    Very important pathways are 'conserved' from the oldest organisms to the most recent mammals. Did you know that many cell cycle genes (obviously essential for cell division/replication), if knocked out of a yeast cell, can be restored by using human genes! Human proteins can function exactly as yeast proteins! Talk about inventing a car and not changing it for billions of years!

    As for engineering, petrol happens to be a fantastic fuel source. It's cheap, simple and easily accessible. Climate change has only been on the agenda for a couple of decades, and there are trillions of dollars being poured into developing new fuel sources. The change will come, but the car industry is huge and clunky: change takes time.

    Similarly, as for computers, a state-of-the-art microprocessing plant (grade 1 or 10 clean room) can cost hundreds of billions of dollars (a moderately affluent country's GDP!) to build. Building transistors took decades of refinement and technology. New transistors using carbon nanotubes, or small asymmetrical molecules are being researched. But to realise this into a fully scalable, global product is an incredible feat of engineering. It takes time. Think of 20 years ago. We had no (practical) mobile phones, no (or very little) internet. Our CRT displays were 13 inches and clunky. You have no idea how much the information age has changed our lives in such a short time. My own research is trying to build practical circuits by directing neuron development - I'd call that a quantum leap of thought from current digital circuits. (If I may say so myself!)
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  7. #6 ok 
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    Thanks Biologista where would you suggest moving this forum? Its not just cars, our society has reduced the freedom of Genetic divirsity by setting out anyone too different which means that any change has to happen without being noticed to much otherwise they will be set with all the others. It is just like pruning a tree,branches come out in different directions but we take off all the ones that are too weak(not enough numbers). You could argue this is natural selection but it isn't survival of the fittest it is survival of the majority.
    just wondering
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  8. #7  
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    Zendra, I'm not sure why you think we are reducing genetic diversity. If anything, our diversity as a species is increasing due to decreased costs of travel and the ability to choose a mate from almost anywhere in the world. Certainly not all people have this option, but many do, and more will in the future.

    The general principle of selecting against individuals who are extremely different than most of the population does have merit, however. Extreme differences are more likely to be effects of genetic problems or severe difficulties faced during development, neither of which bode well for future reproductive success. And if you encounter a person who looks very different from all the people you grew up around, this wariness is going to come into play.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  9. #8 true 
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    i didnt think about that actually. I suppose i was thinking far in the future which actually makes me ask: Given time and enough inter-racial breeding could we drop the variety of races(eg skin)?
    just wondering
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  10. #9  
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    I agree with zundra's iconoclastic position that technological change has slowed...over the last 100 years IMO. The first industrial revolution was an explosion in technology. This gathered steam so to speak and poured out around the world as the second industrial revolution, late 1800s. At that time one could practically grab at random any handful of new materials, devices, ideas, bash them together, and you'd have a patent. So bang: phonographs.

    Hand-cranked phonographs seem so obvious in hindsight. Yet it would take half a century before someone mated commonplace electric motors and the ubiquitous electricity in every household, with phonographs. Gee whiz: a record player powered like a sewing machine - what will they think of next? We're still trying out new combinations of technologies that emerged a century ago or more. Usually one synthesis leads to multiple embodiments, e.g. the remote control originally associated with model airplanes now applied to home electronics like your TV or ceiling smoke detector.

    I imagine technologies like genes rearranging. So we got the basic building blocks with the first industrial revolution, and we're still trying possibilities. In this way I don't see something like a cell phone as really new. It's just a combination and refinement of technology grandpa knew in his day. We've already exhausted the hottest combos - that is: combining several basic technologies like incandescent filament plus glass tube plus metal screw. All the great, basic combinations were finished and roughly perfected in the second industrial revolution.

    We do get occasional fresh "genes" to work with. The multi-purpose picture display or the internet are obvious examples. They come less frequently and they don't revolutionize like electric streetcars knocking horses off the road.

    Eventually I reckon we'll have tried everything.


    ***

    Certainly we're blurring race distinctions. It's another kind of trying new combinations, for what that's worth. We'll have more inconclusively mixed humans. In them we'll better perceive the traits that truly are relevant because we wont' be blinded by racial category.
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  11. #10  
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    Perhaps the technologies that really are changing the fastest are simply not as obvious to the public at large, because that idea that technological change has slowed is simply wrong to me. Just looking at one example: gene sequencing technology. Gene sequencers are these giant machines and computers that do all the work for you, and back in the day when the human genome project started it was expected to take 15 years to sequence one entire human genome. And today, you can get a whole genome sequenced in a matter of days. It's very expensive to do it that quickly right now, but as the technology advances further and further the expense will go down, and I'm fairly confident that within the next five to ten years it will be trivial to get your whole genome sequenced.

    My boyfriend works in computers and when he tells me some of the projects he's aware of out there, it sounds like stuff right out of science fiction. Many people are predicting that the singularity, the point when machines are smart enough to make better versions of themselves, is about 40 years away, and those people predict that our lives will change drastically when that time comes. In short, I see no reason why we should think technology is slowing down, just because a really different car or a new version of a phonograph hasn't made it's way onto the mass market yet.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    the singularity, the point when machines are smart enough to make better versions of themselves
    That's when the machine begins to rearrange its own "genetics" without us. I'm not sure that it will find many new "traits" to work with though. For example if it wants to fillet a salmon it will discover - with its colossal brain - that a knife works best. But who knows, eh, maybe it'll give us all night-vision implants to save on lighting costs.
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  13. #12  
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    ....somehow, I don't think finding a better way to fillet salmon will be a task assigned to AI's. Perhaps, I don't know, finding a more efficient means of harvesting solar energy.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  14. #13  
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    I'd feel more secure having tested it for slavish attention to human sentiment. If we choke on fishbones the machine can't be trusted with a directive like "take power: unlimited power."
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  15. #14 But machines will never replace us entirely 
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    I see what your saying Paralith because it does seem a waste to only use computers on filleting fish but the problem is that computers can only come up with the ideas within their programming. Im sure they would have many ideas but unless we program them to not take some limits(resources etc) into account they will never think 'outside of the box'. Even if we did program them not too take in limits then they would come up with so many ideas you would need to sift through them to work out what would actually work.
    just wondering
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  16. #15  
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    That's computers executing scripts. Artificial intelligence is something else. A.I. tinkers with its own internal scripts. Just aimless tinkering of course would be monkeys at typewriters. So we ground it and suggest direction by embedding a "meta-script"... then it may creatively try different means against fixed ends. Obviously some of those ends would be just what's good for humans, frequently vetoing what's only good for the project at hand.

    A danger here is that we can't be 100% sure if another's ends truly match our own. Your yellow might not be the AI's yellow. You have to trust a theory of mind on faith. Hmm... I should give tangible example of disastrous misunderstanding:

    It's an urban myth. As the story goes, one of our first experimental neural networks was a military project, meant to scan satellite photos for Soviet tanks. A neural network "learns" and "thinks" intuitively, not by pre-programmed script. So we had to teach this blank slate to recognize tanks in photos. We fed it old images from spy-planes, war movies, army exercises, etc: some with tanks and some without. And we told the neural net "tank" or "not tank" depending on the image. After a while the neural network structured itself to correctly associate "tank" with pictures containing tanks, including new pictures without any cue from us. Then one fine day we tried it on real military photos piped in live from satellite. "Tanks!" it said. Tanks tanks tanks all along the Iron Curtain, swarming in the cities, covering the lakes, everywhere tanks! Plainly this meant war, and if the neural net had panic buttons it would have pushed them all. But of course human eyes perceived no surging wave of tanks in those images.

    Careful review of the network's learning material revealed the root of misunderstanding: most pictures containing tanks were shot on clear, sunny days - fine weather to go purposely photographing tanks in the field. A greater number of "not tank" photos included rain and gloomy weather. So the neural net learned, logically and easily, that a tank is a sunny day. We built a machine to wage war on sunny days until haze of destruction blankets all Eastern Europe.
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  17. #16  
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    It's never sunny in Eastern Europe - so Armageddon is still a while off

    I agree with you, Paralith, about the public at large not comprehending technological change. To most people, a laptop or iPhone is a plastic shell imbued with magical chi, and not a marvel of modern engineering. The Industrial Revolution was driven largely by the accessibility of 'portable energy' and large scale application of heat and work. 1960-2000 technology was based on the transistor. It's impact on science and society, huge.

    Re: Neural networks, they are still programmed. They adapt their classification based off applying Bayesian statistics to a set of training data. It is still humans that develop these algorithms and the computers blindly follow them. Of course, it can create the perception of true intelligence. Afterall, we ourselves just follow a set of instructions written in our genome sequences and epigenetics.

    I believe that the great improvement in computer technology will come from a move away from scripted serial programming on processors, and a move towards parallel FPGA-like computation, with crazy feedback loops offering the complex circuit behaviour required for adaptation. Anyone heard of the Memristor? This nano-scale device could fundamentally change electronic circuits and computers.
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  18. #17 not sure of subject name 
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    You said an AI would slowly work out the best way to achieve a project but what about thinking up ideas from scratch. Such as the idea that Paralith suggested could an AI think up something like spraying liquid from a hose hanging high in the air(actually its a stupid idea when you hear their details but its just an example)?
    just wondering
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  19. #18  
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    Imagination doesn't really pull things out of nowhere. It just gambles on the fringe of knowledge, away from the certain. For example it combines the known hose plus hanging plus spraying liquid; the trick is to synthesize diverse knowns in a way that actually makes sense. There are just so many fruitless blind alleys when you step out of linear thinking, it's usually a waste of human time. Successfully creative people are professional gamblers. They have a knack for predicting just which strange lines of thought might pay off. They also employ problem solving tricks (e.g. "turn it upside down") that can be formalized and programmed into a computer. I think the greatest advantage of computers though is their brute force. They can run through possibilities faster than us, and pursue each possibility further too. That's why computers now win at chess.

    Computers are beginning to model the physical world. They can "think about" three-dimensional objects and just now we're programming computers to calculate the physics of virtual worlds on the fly. So pretty soon I guess we'll be able to give them a condition like "employing these materials drop the egg without breaking it" and, much like solving how to checkmate the king, they'll just brute-force through all possibilities, using known materials and physics rules, to output the best solution.

    It may not be a large step from there to have computers grinding out the best solutions to more abstract problems. But if we can't articulate our problems, or we don't know what we want, our only recourse is to have computers first model humanity itself. As a problem object. Then they may enlighten us.
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  20. #19 not sure of subject name 
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    You say that an AI would slowley(for a computer) work out what was the best way to achieve something but would it actually be able to think up a new and different idea all by itself without borrowing from other current ideas? Part of the human genius is thinking outside the box and creating ideas from scratch that may even seem stupid at first. An example i have is where some people are considering pumping liquid out of a hose hanging high in the air above the arctic(its actually stupid when you hear the details but its just an example). Would an AI actually be able to think up something seeminly crazy and new?
    just wondering
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  21. #20 accident. 
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    sorry for the repeat i didnt realise it went through.it said error
    just wondering
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  22. #21  
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    humans don't think of things from scratch, we think of things from experience. Combined with this and our amazing systems to harness accidentally discovered principles, we are easily convinced of our creativity.
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  23. #22 are you sure 
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    Yes but what about our ability to think and consider something which leads us to experiment. I think the first 5 minutes of the movie '2001 space oddeysey' is a great example of this.
    just wondering
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  24. #23 Re: not sure of subject name 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zendra
    think up a new and different idea
    We don't think up truly new ideas though. In your example all the elements exist already. It's just a whacky combination of elements. Sometimes a whacky combination actually works, and works surprisingly well. A chess computer wins by trying every whacky combination possible on the chess board. A creative person thinks the same, but for lack of raw processing power must guess which pursuits are likely fruitful.

    That means our creative thinking is even predictable. For example most people tracing a maze choose paths oriented toward the exit. With experience you may learn that cunning mazes take this into account, so the best tactic is trying to avoid the exit (especially at the beginning :wink: ). Some longstanding problems are like that maze. The obvious approach doesn't lead anywhere. Even knowing that, we can't solve the problem because no one's foolish enough to invest and probably squander a lifetime chasing silliness in the infinite mazes of real life.

    Better get the machine to do that.
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  25. #24 Yep 
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    Well ideas are generally combining two or more elements aren't they? And can computers even AIs actually think in a way so they do not try and take on the problem head on but look around for alternative ways that might not even seem related?
    just wondering
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  26. #25  
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    Machines are less predictable, in that that they bring no biases about how things are supposed to happen. The linear paths obvious to us, they can't even intuit. For example the first dozen moves a chess computer might contemplate (maybe picked at random), a human player would pass over because experience says those are weird moves, only children open with such moves and children always lose. The computer unashamedly considers weird moves and explores them in depth. It might happen to consider moves that seem sensible to us, but the computer does not feel attached to them.
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  27. #26 Pretty Impressive 
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    Well you have increased my respect for computers but isnt it true that like i said before they would come up with so many ideas that we would need to sift through what might actually work. Could a computer stop and contemplate weather something might work, would they be able to think up ideas and experiments that haven't been tried before instead of just using current facts?
    just wondering
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  28. #27  
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    Early AIs won't have common sense of what's appropriate. A physics modelling inventor computer might output, say, a washable condom that also feeds the fish while you're on vacation. Works flawlessly, but would you want it? The problem is kinda like buying toys for children you dont' know. Huge risk of giving a lame toy the kid will be ashamed to own. Meanwhile the TV advertised thingy that the child most wants is a piece of junk you know will die of spent batteries and cracked wings five minutes out of the box. So yeah we'll have to sift an AI's output for good ideas. Yet too much sifting and we may just get the crap we wish for.

    Truly new ideas, your guess is as good as mine. What's truly new? The origin of life. Some say life happened with the right ingredients present, arranging and rearranging until that absurdly improbable combination came up. Computers do excel at such activities.

    I think I've rambled off topic long enough.
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  29. #28 ah well 
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    ok then well i would like to ask if you agree we have slowed down in our sentient growth(although it might take leaps i suppose) and may focus more on improving current things instead of inventing new ones
    just wondering
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  30. #29  
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    Why care about my opinion? Forums are for ranting and talking at cross purposes!

    Yes I agree our sentient growth has slowed, if you mean for individuals. I think that as a collective we're accelerating. If things go as they have since life began, we're due for some form of emerging "higher level" sentience or organization. If we conform to the historic pattern then we wont' really fathom the significance of the emergence , it'll "just happen", and we'll be a parts of it, unable to stop being parts of it. Maybe it's happened already? We wouldn't know.
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  31. #30 ok 
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    i just wanted to check i wasnt the only one thinking this.thanks
    just wondering
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  32. #31  
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    Isn't sentient an absolute? IE, something is either sentient or not, in which case it cannot slow or speed development, as this would imply degrees of sentience, which there are none, are there?
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  33. #32 Not too sure 
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    I dont think there is an absolute sentience,you could say we became sentient when we started using tools but many animals use tools(eg a leaf) yet they are not like us. You could also say that stopping and thinking about something is being sentient but gorrilas will do that to, humans have societies but so do apes. By slowing sentient growth i meant that we have stopped inventing new ways and instead have been developing our current tools(eg cars) and making them bigger and more comfortable. Yes we are making them more economic but everything has in a sense evolved from an original design.
    just wondering
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  34. #33  
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    Can you define sentience please?
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  35. #34 heres what i found 
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    # [noun] state of elementary or undifferentiated consciousness; "the crash intruded on his awareness"
    Synonyms: awareness

    # [noun] the faculty through which the external world is apprehended; "in the dark he had to depend on touch and on his senses of smell and hearing"
    Synonyms: sense, sensation, sentiency, sensory faculty

    # [noun] the readiness to perceive sensations; elementary or undifferentiated consciousness; "gave sentience to slugs and newts"- Richard Eberhart

    doesn't seem quite right though
    just wondering
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  36. #35  
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    and "sentient" is "in possession of sentience?"
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  37. #36  
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    In "higher level sentience or organization" I refrained from saying "consciousness" because that would load completely different meanings than intended.

    Illustrate "levels of sentience": Take an office worker. She's part of a bureaucracy, which is legally defined as a "person". Indeed "the system" does have a mind of its own, with its own kinds of senses, problem solving, feedbacks, and self scrutiny. The individual worker cannot grasp the "mind of the machine" she comprises, and she doesn't' have to. Neither do the executives. The machine will work just fine without anybody grasping how it thinks or what its thinking.

    So I'm (vaguely) defining sentience as a system's emergent ability to self organize and adapt to changes, with components that needn't think on its own level.

    Reductionism would say "corporations are just individual humans" but that's like saying minds are "just individual neurons". Sentience is not a kind of material like grey matter or memory chips or office cubicles, it's a "higher level" emergence from organizations of "lower level" sentiences.

    Is a neuron then, at its own level, sentient? I would say yes in the sense explained above. A neuron is a self organizing system adapting to changes affecting "the system" in a manner emergent from the neuron's component parts.

    I'm suggesting that at least a tentative degree of sentience emerges wherever there's potential organization. Because brains are structured as fertile grounds for sentience the most striking sentience emerges from their neurons. So striking we're inclined to think sentience belongs to brain alone.
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  38. #37  
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    We all like to hear ourselves talk Pong, but please, for all of our sakes, pay attention to what your saying.

    ""the system" does have a mind of its own"

    "he machine will work just fine without anybody grasping how it thinks or what its thinking. "

    So the system/machine doesn't have a mind of it's own, but has thoughts... am I missing something?

    " Sentience is not a kind of material like grey matter or memory chips or office cubicles, it's a "higher level" emergence from organizations of "lower level" sentiences. "

    Sentience is an idea. Sentience doesn't come from a lower sentience, if it did, where did the initial sentience come from?


    Nothing anyone has said so far supports the claim that there are levels of sentience, or that sentience grows at different speeds. The definitions provided by zendra show sentience to be an a "state" a "faculty" or a "readiness." All three of these are definite, since you cannot qualify a noun(although you can describe it... for example "very red"[semantically incorrect] vs "light red" or "dark red"[semantically correct])

    one is either in such a state or not, one either has such a faculty or not, and one is either ready or not.

    So you can describe the type of sentience something has, but you cannot say one type of sentience is better, higher, or increasing as compared to another, it is just different, and you can observe the differences between two types of sentience.
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  39. #38  
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    Please read about emergence.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    you cannot say one type of sentience is better, higher, or increasing as compared to another, it is just different, and you can observe the differences between two types of sentience.
    Higher doesn't mean better. It describes the position of an emergence relative to its components, which themselves may be emergent. For example higher level computer processes operate above, and depend on, lower level processes. At the lowest level (in languages) you have machine code. At the highest level you have programs interacting across networks, creating something greater than the sum of parts. And so on.

    So we can talk of layers / levels of emergence.

    Your sentience emerges from your brain. It's position is defined horizontally between peer sentiences (like Zendra's or Pong's); and vertically between its components (like subconscious operations, finally neurons) and higher-level emergences (this discussion). The position of this discussion relative to us is totally relevant. It is not "just different", it's part of a hierarchy and depends on the hierarchy.... which I'd better stress again does not mean it's better or worse: there's no pinnacle with God at the top or anything like that.
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  40. #39  
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    this is BS, to elucidate sentiences is not a word

    If you think there are multiple sentiences, then please share some, clearly labeled as lower, middle and higher sentiences, so those of us who truly do want to understand what the hell it is you're talking about, might be able to try with a minimum of brain hemorrhaging.
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    I provided the examples of corporations possessing sentience, and different levels of software having sentience. Sentience is the ability to perceive, and that's pretty widespread and ordinary. Your cells have sentience, your lungs have sentience.

    Lol, a Jedi can feel the sentiences flowing through him!

    In the context of hierarchical organizations it's necessary to talk of "sentiences" ...or would you prefer: "multiplicities of sentience"? I'm sorry the language is klunky. Help if you will. But I will not drop a concept just because it translate poorly to english.

    I've focused on sentients that also self-organize and display some purposeful behaviour. I've avoided saying "intelligent things" because that would invite rating and dismissal vs. human intelligence. Maybe this all sounds far-out to you if "sentience" means "human-like consciousness"? Is that it?
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  42. #41  
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    You have not clearly stated multiple examples of sentience, nor have you defined what you are talking about when you speak of sentience(which might help the translation process, btw, what language are you translating from?)

    does zendra's definition suffice? if not then maybe another word would, if you just went so far as to define the word(which is slightly different than providing an analogous example) we could figure out what that word, if there is one, would be.

    so please define what you are talking about, since it doesn't sound like sentience; and please provide a clear, non analogous example of what you refer to "lower sentience" being the "foundation" of "higher sentience."

    If you cannot provide a legit example of what your talking about... is it possible that what your talking about doesn't exist, but is maybe a misunderstanding of something that does?
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    if you just went so far as to define the word
    I have, and have:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Sentience is the ability to perceive


    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    what language are you translating from?
    I'm translating from concepts, "grounded" lol in systems theory. This stuff is very hard to articulate in words, though a child might grasp it intuitively.


    I get the feeling this discussion's rolling down an up-escalator. Let's say never mind.
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  44. #43  
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    my apologies, you have defined the word, but your definition is very ambiguous, and I am not content with it(maybe because I am not familiar with systems theory), but that shouldn't prevent us from continuing the discussion.

    Sentience is: "a system's emergent ability to self organize and adapt to changes, with components that needn't think on its own level. "

    So clearly what you are talking about is valid, but it is also founded circular logic.

    If you say for example

    "Human sentience is stunted, to prove this: our ability to self organize and adapt to changes, is stunted" You are saying the same thing twice, more or less.


    Anyway, I don't care much to bring up the past discussion, if you are not willing to continue. If the topic is dead, so be it.

    just to let you know, if you were unable to conclude on your own:

    I was referring to an individual organism's sentience(ability/willingness to perceive, and/or state of perception), corresponding to the definitions provided by zendra. I hope this helps you understand where I'm coming from, as I now understand where you are coming from.
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  45. #44 sorry iv been away 
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    ok well i like your definition so maybe its not sentient growth. I still believe that we have slowed down in our process of inventing and growing as a race by inventing less new things and instead just building on our current things. To keep moving forwards we need to keep thinking up new and fresh(crazy) things instead of just working with what we have.
    just wondering
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    Well, as I've said before, I don't think there is anything that suggests we have ever intentionally developed anything "new"

    "new" being, "not based on something prior"


    Everything we "discover" is through observation, much of which is just something we happen to be doing at the time, and is largely accidental. Like the infamous "eureka" moment that leads us to accidentally discover that running around the streets naked is a good way to be immortalized in the history books. :-D
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    I think zendra sees that our discoveries are growing less novel, even though we have more of them. Discovering a thousand variations on the cup is less novel than discovering the cup itself.

    I explained this as consequence of the industrial revolution, wherein a comprehensive suite of cups and saucers, knives and forks, popped into existence. We're still refining those and learning to handle them in combinations that now, generations later, seem novel to us. But a spork is not really very novel, and neither do you find real novelty on a cupboard of diverse coffee cups.

    In that light we seem to be struggling especially with physics. If reality is the meat, we're attacking it with devices that are more elaborate, and less elegant, with each "new" theory built upon the last. Occam's razor? Epic fail!
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