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Re: Aliens

#61  Postby PensivePenny » Dec 29, 2016 8:10 pm

Fermi and Drake aside, if given a choice there is intelligent life on other planets or there isn't, I'd go with IS. It's absurd to think that of the millions and millions of chances just in our galaxy, that there isn't other life out there. Say there are only 4 other planets with such life in the galaxy... the nearest neighbor is 40 or 50 thousand light years away! We'll never see them.
Evolution saddens me. In an environment where irrational thinking is protected, the disparity in the population rate of creationists vs that of rational thinkers, equates to a creationist win. Let's remove warning labels from products as an equalizer.
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Re: Aliens

#62  Postby tuco » Dec 29, 2016 8:17 pm

Aside indeed, just ignore it. Its me, I want to say it and I will.

I want to believe there is, but if asked I cannot say and stay intellectually honest. It indeed seems absurd and I realize it every time I look at the starry skies above. How little, perhaps insignificant, we are. This is about as close as I get to feeling "God".
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Re: Aliens

#63  Postby Clive Durdle » Dec 30, 2016 5:29 pm

"In the threatening situation of the world today, when people are beginning to see that everything is at stake, the projection-creating fantasy soars beyond the realm of earthly organizations and powers into the heavens, into interstellar space, where the rulers of human fate, the gods, once had their abode in the planets.... Even people who would never have thought that a religious problem could be a serious matter that concerned them personally are beginning to ask themselves fundamental questions. Under these circumstances it would not be at all surprising if those sections of the community who ask themselves nothing were visited by `visions,' by a widespread myth seriously believed in by some and rejected as absurd by others."--C. G. Jung, in Flying Saucers
"We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
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Re: Aliens

#64  Postby crank » Dec 30, 2016 6:53 pm

Clive Durdle wrote:What I am discussing is how intelligence and bodies cannot be separated- the octopus is the classic example, but how we perceive the universe is utterly dependent on our senses, and abilities to handle and move.

Artificial intelligence will not get it until it is also going through all human developmental processes including epigenetics and the whole system processes that we are - we are not things but verbs. Some sci-fi has got this - complex adaptive dynamic systems.

On Descartes, we reify sight, when that is a klugy process. We are too used to framing things, in photography, tv, film. But our critical sense is actually touch, all the senses are specialisms of skin, which is about relations with the surrounding world and universe.

So if we find aliens, communicating with them will be about working out how they relate to the universe, with their set of senses and prostheses.

Computers are a blind alley - they are too specialised in a very small set of ways of interacting with the universe.

I don't understand almost everything you've said. Like saying touch is our 'critical sense' whatever that means. Our retinas are almost part of our brains, the cells that form it are split off from what goes on to form the brain fairly late in development, and the percentage of the brain devoted to sight is huge, the large parts more involved in 'touch', which is somewhat a vague term, is probably more involved with motor skills like balance, body position awareness etc, and not 'cognitive' at all. Sight is hugely 'cognitive, it's what gives us the ability to see far in front of us, and that is extremely important in why intelligence gets developed. Plants don't have brains, they don't move, have no need to see what's far away, the sea squirt laval form moves, has a brain, but the adult form is sessile and loses its brain, this isn't an accident.

Requiring 'epigenetics' in an Ai makes no sense. I agree it's highly likely to build an AI may require some form of development-like processes, but only initially. If you have something that could be called 'genes' in this process, then I guess you could have something that was 'epigenetic', but that's stretching the metaphor a bit too far for me.

The rest is really irrelevant. My first post posits one reason for why we don't see aliens, and doesn't mentions AIs, the second, the reply to your reply, only mentioned them as a way we might off ourselves. We have AIs now, they're ubiquitous, and not up to human levels of processing power. I think you are assuming AIs of human processing power require them to be conscious and to think somehow like we do, and that simply isn't the case. And that's all irrelevant to my post, which is about us going 'trans', trans human, as in putting our minds into machines. Is that an AI? Depends on how you define the term. Whether this is even possible is certainly a much debated topic, and it's obvious it is, what the implications of doing that are are certainly not obvious, no one knows, and if they think they do, they're wrong.

'computers are a blind alley' is also a misguided statement. What is a computer? Any AI is going to be one, we are computers, so I don't understand what limits you are placing on what the term encompasses. Computers are not 'specialized', any regular PC-type computer is Turing complete, and that is no small potatoes. What ways are there of interacting with the universe that can't be done by machines? There certainly isn't any sense that humans have that isn't already understood pretty well and implementable in machines today. How we process the information these senses send to the brain isn't understood well, but it will be at some point, to think otherwise is the definition of a dualist, isn't it? That there's something ineffable, permanently ineffable, in how our brains work?
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-George Carlin, who died 2008. Ha, now we have human centipedes running the place
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