Are the robots we create alive?
← Thread:User talk:Sheldor/Are the robots we create alive?/reply (108)
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I'm a determinist, and I believe we do have choice. As I've noted before, I believe that we make choices like computers do, our perception of our current environment, as well as our memories of past events, are our inputs, and decisions are our outputs. When our perception and memory give us the same input, we will give the same decisions as output.
Free will is a self-defeating concept, for our choices to be completely non-deterministic, they would have to be truly random (Which I believe is impossible, anyway.), which gives the person in question no say in the matter at all.
I really think you're warping the meaning of the word "choice" here. Would you say a tennis ball makes the choice to bounce off the ground?
- "Choice consists of the mental process of judging the merits of multiple options and selecting one or more of them. While a choice can be made between imagined options ("what would I do if ...?"), often a choice is made between real options and followed by the corresponding action. For example, a route for a journey is chosen based on the preference of arriving at a given destination as soon as possible. The preferred (and therefore chosen) route is then derived from information about how long each of the possible routes take. This can be done by a route planner. If the preference is more complex, such as involving the scenery of the route, cognition and feeling are more intertwined, and the choice is less easy to delegate to a computer program or assistant."
As I've said before, choice is weighing options and selecting the one that seems to be the most beneficial. Tennis balls do not do this, they are not intelligent systems, they are just objects directly following the laws of pysics. Humans and computers ultimately do follow the laws of physics, but they also exhibit the qualities of intelligence and choice.
I would say that excerpt assumes a degree of free will. To a determinist, a tennis ball bouncing and a human's brain pulsing with electricity and then moving a mouth to form a sentence are just a series of atoms interacting in a purely deterministic way according to the laws of physics. Calling one a "choice" and the other "just objects directly following the laws of physics" seems disingenuous.
But I'll drop it if you want to choose to have your cake and eat it too. ;)
Eating cake is unhealthy. ;)
You are correct. I believe all matter in the universe behaves deterministically according to the laws of physics (even those that we have not yet discovered). Not unlike the way cells in Conway's Game of Life interact with each other deterministically.
Intelligent systems are special arrangements or patterns of matter (or Life cells). Intelligent systems behave differently than non-intelligent systems (like a tennis ball), even though they still follow the same physical laws.
Tennis balls could be used to create logic gates. With enough of them, one could create a very basic (and inefficient) computer. Though the tennis balls themselves cannot make decisions, when enough of them are arranged together, they form an intelligent system that can receive inputs and give outputs.
A man actually did create a Universal Turing Machine in Life, using cells that directly obey deterministic laws.