Are the robots we create alive?

Fragment of a discussion from User talk:Sheldor
Jump to navigation Jump to search

we'll they are both primarily philosophical discussions so I would expect them to be similar.

I'll try to not get say too much since I am rather addicted to philosophical discussions ( I'm considering switching to a philosophy major.) but ( also note that I'm of the scholastic school of thought) the idea that robots are alive ( especially virtual robots) is absurd. I can try to give a longer explanation of you want, but on an intuitive level, consider the ease with which people classify robots and animals ( and vegetables, since those too are alive) differently. Defining life, if I remember correctly, was a long and difficult process, but we still had an excellent of what things were alive long before we could define it. The fact that you expect disagreement show s that you realize some people see a difference between the robots and living things. do you have any ideas what the difference (even if just perceived) it's?

NOTE IF YOU DO NOT WANT A LONG AND DETAILED DISCUSSION OF PHILOSOPHY, IGNORE THIS POST.( or just tell me and everyone else can talk about it)

AW23:38, 24 February 2013

Sure. Bring it on. :)

I assume most of the definitions of life were created some time ago, before we had any intelligent technology. It seems somewhat foolish to use biological definitions on virtual robots running on silicon computers. They are simply very different forms of intelligence.

Biological life is very inefficient, not to mention needlessly fragile, because it is the result of two billion years of random mutations that just happen to not be a hindrance to survival, with no conscious decisions being made at all (unless you believe in creationism, but that's a subject for another forum). Robots and computers, on the other hand, are carefully designed by conscious beings to be efficient, effective, and secure. One might even say that, in the future, "artificial" life could be more alive than biological life.

Many people have trouble thinking of robots as alive because they have spent their entire lives seeing only biological forms exhibiting the qualities of life. In fact, we were taught in early childhood that only carbon-based biology could be considered alive.

Sheldor01:21, 25 February 2013

We were taught in early childhood that only cell-based organisms are alive. It is an even more restricted definition than carbon-based. But in a robot forum, the negative entropy definition is more meaninful.

Now, saying that cell-based biology is inefficient is a very strong assumption. What other kinds of systems have negative entropy?

Also saying that no conscious decisions are being made at all is another very strong assumption. Molecular biology follows quantum mechanics rules, which includes mutation and everything else that happens inside a cell.

Read the entire discussion to see the close interaction between quantum mechanics and consciousness. As a consequence, you see the close interaction between consciousness and molecular biology, and thus biological life.

MN15:22, 25 February 2013

If I correctly understand entropy (And please, correct me if I'm wrong.), it is the concept of complex phenomena becoming simpler phenomena, for example, a ceramic mug gains entropy when it shatters. And negative entropy is the concept of simple phenomena becoming more complex, for example, a canvas gains negentropy when an artist paints on it.

How does negentropy not apply to bots? As I mentioned in the OP, there are "learning" bots like Gaff and Engineer. You must admit that these bots are more intelligent and complex after a battle than before it.

Sheldor23:06, 25 February 2013

Are they? They have gathered more data, but they are using the same algorithms (defined by their source code) the entire battle, every battle.

Also, just curious, why do you single out Gaff and Engineer? Just because neural nets are most similar to biological brains? I don't consider them any more or less "learning bots" than DrussGT or Sabreur.

Voidious23:19, 25 February 2013

Technically, yes, they do use roughly the same code in every battle. But, they change the way they use data, which is effectively the same. And there are genetic bots that literally change their own code, I just didn't mention them because I couldn't think of a specific example.

You can't honestly believe Sabreur is as adaptive as DrussGT. The only "learning" Sabreur does is incrementing a variable every time the onDeath event is called.

Sheldor00:11, 26 February 2013

In positive entropy, organized phenomena becomes more disorganized. It is the natural course of the universe.

In negative entropy, disorganized phenomena becomes more organized. The catch here is that a system needs energy to reverse the natural course and have negative entropy.

No robot in Robocode consumes energy on its own, unless a user plugs the computer in a wall socket. If a computer/robot knew how to find energy on its own and plug itself into an energy source, then we would have some form negative entropy. If they knew how to repair themselves and/or replicate themselves and their existence would prevail as long as there is an energy source, then the negative entropy definition of life would be completely fulfilled.

MN00:54, 26 February 2013

You're implying that something has to have a physical presence to be considered alive. Whether something is physical or virtual doesn't affect its state of order.

The robots, in a way, do repair themselves by hitting the opponent and getting the energy bonus. It is impossible for them to "reproduce" in the sense of creating new robots in the middle of a battle. Their existence prevails as long as they kill the enemy and avoid getting killed themselves.

Sheldor04:07, 26 February 2013

To fulfill negative entropy, yes it needs physical presence. Binary states changing back and forth inside a computer don't relate to entropy and are thus irrelevant to this definition.

Consciousness on the other side is another independent concept. Skynet is a character which existed inside a computer as an AI and was sentient. Why was it sentient? Because the movie tells it was.

Virtual robots in Robocode exhibit intelligence which is a 3rd concept. But intelligence as a combination of perception and decision making. Intelligence can help a system achieve negative entropy. Although most Robocode AIs are designed to maximize destruction. If they were ported to a physical robot, they would be maximizing positive entropy.

MN05:19, 26 February 2013