[ExI] Conscious AI or a Zombie?

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Sun Jul 2 22:52:50 UTC 2023

On Sun, Jul 2, 2023, 5:32 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> It's interesting how much diversity of thinking there is here on the
> rights of AI systems.
> I'm very interested in what everyone thinks, and would love to have a
> more formal and dynamic representation of what everyone
> currently believes on this.
> I've created a topic for this: "Robot or AI Rights
> <https://canonizer.com/topic/849-Robot-or-AI-Rights/1-Agreement>".
> And I've started the "No Rights for Abstract Systems
> <https://canonizer.com/topic/849-Robot-or-AI-Rights/2-No-Rights-for-Abstract-Systems>"
> camp.

“The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they
suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being?”
-- Jeremy Bentham

It'd be great to have camps for people who currently think differently, and
> to see which views have the most consensus, and to track this over time as
> science is able to demonstrate more about what consciousness is and isn't.

> On Sun, Jul 2, 2023 at 12:39 PM William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> Except for smell, sensations come to us from our unconscious mind.  There
>> they get routed to various brain areas and then, only perhaps (they could
>> be shut down and never get to the forebrain) to upper areas.  These
>> processes are aware of the nature of the stimuli and know where to send
>> them, but they are not available to our conscious mind.
>> Or you could say that these unconscious processes are really conscious
>> but simply not available to what we call our conscious mind.  Thus you can
>> have awareness or consciousness in part of the brain but not the part we
>> think of as our consciousness.
>> If an organism deals in some appropriate way with incoming stimuli you
>> could call it aware.  Amoebas do that.
>> bill w
>> On Sun, Jul 2, 2023 at 1:02 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> Stuart,
>>> Thank you for putting your argument into such clear words. I agree
>>> completely with your definition of CAP.
>>> Also, those videos of the AI and robotic soccer players are great. I
>>> also agree it is not logically possible to say these entities are not aware
>>> of the ball, and what else is consciousness, beyond "awareness"? If the
>>> bots are aware of the ball (which they plainly are), then they're conscious
>>> of it.
>>> Jason
>>> On Sat, Jul 1, 2023 at 6:16 PM Stuart LaForge via extropy-chat <
>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>> Quoting Jason Resch via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>:
>>>> > If you believe that philosophical zombies are logically impossible,
>>>> then
>>>> > consciousness is logically necessary (in the presence of certain
>>>> > behavioral, sensory, and introspective capacities).
>>>> Actually, I would more rigorously say that philosophical zombies are
>>>> impossible precisely BECAUSE they violate what I call causal awareness
>>>> principle or CAP. Causal awareness is hereby defined as the ability to
>>>> sense, act on, and react to ones environment as well as ones own
>>>> effect on it. Anything that is causally aware is able to act
>>>> rationally. Consciousness is necessary, but not sufficient, for causal
>>>> awareness, and therefore, rational action. However, something cannot
>>>> act rationally without being conscious too. Acting in ones own best
>>>> interests requires consciousness. A sentient being must be conscious
>>>> of those interests and the means to achieve them in the context of a
>>>> changing environment.
>>>> Here rational action is used as a proxy for intelligent behavior. That
>>>> is to say that philosophical zombies cannot exist because they would
>>>> have no way to display intelligent goal-seeking behavior because they
>>>> would not be conscious of any goal; Therefore, they could not be
>>>> conscious of how to navigate the environment to achieve a goal; nor,
>>>> would they be conscious of whether they had achieved the goal or not.
>>>> That is to say, that logically, a philosophical zombie does not have
>>>> the logical properties necessary to fit its own definition.
>>>> Philosophical zombies are an unwarranted assumption to make the Hard
>>>> Problem of consciousness seem like a different question than the
>>>> so-called Easy Problem, whereas, CAP says that the complete solution
>>>> of the Easy Problem, is also the solution to Hard Problem.
>>>> While pre-programmed behavior could mimic rational action in the short
>>>> term, any sufficient change in the p-zombie's environment, like a new
>>>> obstacle, would thwart it, and expose it as a zombie. In the harsh
>>>> world of nature, philosophical zombies, even if they came to exist by
>>>> some extraordinary chance, would quickly go extinct.
>>>> Therefore philosophical zombies, as opposed to fungal zombies, are
>>>> both logically and physically impossible. It is, in short, impossible
>>>> to do what humans evolved from worms to be able to do, without being
>>>> in some measure, more conscious than a worm.
>>>> > Accordingly, I believe
>>>> > that consciousness was an unavoidable consequence during the course of
>>>> > evolution of life on Earth as once nature created creatures having
>>>> certain
>>>> > capacities/abilities, consciousness had no other choice but to exist,
>>>> it
>>>> > became logically necessary.
>>>> Yes, there is certainly a natural history of consciousness. You can
>>>> look at the evolution of the nervous system of vertebrates through the
>>>> process of encephalization and decussation and see a causal narrative.
>>>> The moment life decided to detach itself from the ocean bottom and
>>>> move around looking for food, a complete, or open, digestive system
>>>> with a seperate mouth and anus became advantageous. Once it started
>>>> moving mouth first through the world, sensory organs like eyes or
>>>> antennae became advantageous; Moreover, those creatures which evolved
>>>> sensory organs like taste-buds and eyes near their mouths, as opposed
>>>> to near their anus, had a survival advantage.
>>>> Once an organism had a concentration of senses on its rostral or front
>>>> end, that end became differentiated from the caudal or rear end of the
>>>> organism. The cluster of sensory organs became a rudimentary head. As
>>>> part of that differentiation called encephalization, it became
>>>> advantageous for that organism to develop an organ to process the
>>>> sensory information and locate it near the sense organs. The organ I
>>>> speak of began as a small nerve cluster. As successive generations of
>>>> the organism started moving through the environment faster, sensing
>>>> and avoiding danger, finding food and resources, weathering natural
>>>> disasters and extinction events, and generally leading more
>>>> complicated lives, it finally evolved into the conscious brain.
>>>> > The same, I believe, is true for AI. It is unavoidable when we create
>>>> > machines of certain abilities, and I believe existing software is
>>>> already
>>>> > conscious. For example, my open source project on artificial sentience
>>>> > could be such an example: https://github.com/jasonkresch/bots
>>>> Yes, I agree. These AI learned how to play soccer/football on their
>>>> own. They are certainly conscious of one another, the ball, and their
>>>> goals and that consciousness allows some very complex goal-seeking
>>>> behavior to emerge. By the CAP, these AI agents in the following video
>>>> presentation of a recent Science paper by Lui et al.
>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHMwq9pv7mg&t=10s.
>>>> Some might object because the consciousness is expressed within a
>>>> virtual setting. But that's all right because Google built bodies for
>>>> the little guys:
>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbyQcCT6890
>>>> If you push one over, they stand right back up. So yeah, the CAP says
>>>> they are rudimentarily conscious because they display causal awareness
>>>> and rational action. They lie somewhere between thermostats and humans
>>>> on the consciousness scale. Someday, their consciousness may far
>>>> surpass ours.
>>>> Stuart LaForge
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