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Of Computers and Minds

User Thread
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Of Computers and Minds
What gives the human mind the ability to judge? A computer can only analyze data or simplify it, but cannot judge. After long contemplation I could not find an answer. So what is it?

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Perhaps judging is just comparing two different entities. You can't say that 1 is better than 1 because they are the same thing. But you can say that 2 is better than 1 because 2 is greater than 1. You see, judging comes into play because there are two different entities. A mind is a source of references to data, but not all data is the same, this is where morality comes in. Right and wrong to humans is like comparing prices of things. When someone takes a human life because that person stole their bike, we say it's wrong because the input (stealing the bike) does not equal the output (taking the life). It's all about pricing, being fair, being balanced. If we had a price for everything, we would know exactly what was right and what was wrong. Can everything have a price? Could we price a human life?

Another thought that just came to me:

Every machine that humanity has ever created does exactly as it is programmed to do, such is the relationship between creator and created. Isn't it only logical to assume that if we were created, we are doing exactly what we are programmed to do?

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
My '2 is better than 1' example of judgement was an example of the infinite possibilities that one could come up with. That is not to say that things that are greater are necessarily better than things that are smaller, you missed the point.

Moral judgements DO vary from person to person; I agree. But this is because every person (as you said in the dog example) values things differently. Can we standardize moral judgement by use of the Hedonic Calculus? I think it is possible, but to accomplish this we would need a standardized set of priorities and beliefs. To know with complete certainty what is right and wrong, and consequently rid the concept of all grey matter, we would first need to clearly define exactly what we prioritize in a logical hierarchy from the most important somethings to least important to the least important somethings. A standardized set of priorities can only be achieved if the entire population of a society adopts the same belief. I make this claim on the grounds that if there is more than one belief present in a society, the priorities of people must remain in a shroud of ambiguity. This is of course a result of disagreement. Right and wrong are now obviously dictated by our beliefs. They can never achieve an imperforate clarity until we all adopt the same philosophy of life. The difficulty of morality lies not in the search of an objective code of right and wrong but in our inability to definitively compare two different entities.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 42yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Black Gold is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
The computer is programmed to make a judgement based on certain data programmed into it's software.
The ability to choose one judgement in favour of others is more complex, but still a computer can be programmed to do that also.
Perhaps what a computer cannot be programmed to do is actually experience what it is like to choose out of free will what judgement to make. It is like it has been perpetually hypnotised to do what it is told.
Part of the programming is deciding based on certain data what judgement to make, and this can vary based on what value systems are installed within the programming.
The programmer holds the 'true judgement' in their work. The computer is really just an extension of the human touch put into some electronic gizmo. The 'relationship between creator and created'.
The ability to judge may have well been installed in us from 'our' creator. I guess it depends where you draw the lines between an electronic device made by man, and a living electronic circuit created by something almost out of our comprehension.
Even if we do get to judge for ourselves, other things (and other people) have their influence upon our judgement. We are hypnotised by some things. We are faced with obstacles, and lack of mindfulness.
I guess part of it comes back to 'Free Will'...
As to standardising judgement the best we could hope for could be a 'system of thresholds', as we are all born different, have different needs and different wants, and other things that make us unique. We need to personalise our existence as much as possible, but at the same time appreciate what is true and good for all.
In regards to priorities and beliefs themselves, we could achieve much through using the power of self-knowledge (involving things we know to be true from experience) combined with the use of polygraphs (to cross-reference our personal knowledge sets). Here we may be able to devise a system of beliefs and from common sense derive priorities. From there laws could be adjusted accordingly, but most likely no further than a 'system of thresholds'. The current laws were derived from our word in regards to our self-knowledge and the knowledge of others, it's just that we could take the concept of judgement further by, ironically, depending on the help of a piece of electrical equipment.
NB: Sorry for the length of my reply...

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"There is no negative one..."
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Are morals just dictated by whatever the society needs to remain functional and progressive? Right and wrong seem to be what is 'best' for the society. We live in an age of technology, efficiency and mass production. Are our morals derived from these social priorities?

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that heyjme1 is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I agree wih Blackgold here that this seems to be a question of free will and our inability to determine if we have it or not.

On regards computers, intelligent design works on the principle that accords with our best theory of nature; and the experiments seem to match it. That is, in nature, animals change adapting to their environment slowly so that when nature knows what is best for the future, it selects by a process of trial and error; that is it adapts progressively and logically but slowly. The problem I have with this is that since we don't feel how nature works, we only really know the effects of nature, we don't understand this great machine. Now, intelligent design projects work on the basis that the machine can teach itself by a proccess of trial and error. The problem here is that, sofar as I know, this works on something called teleology; that is that the ultimate destination is know; but how to get there is unkown. e.g. if we wanted a robot that could walk a dog; thats the effect but we would have to let it 'learn' how the dog behaves, how to hold the chain; what to do if it runs away; these type of questions. We would call some of these intuition and whether this is learned, programmed in us, or up to us to find out remains slightly mysterious.

Decius and ChrisD, as for the nature of science and philosophy, I think philosophy hasn't quite got its focus in the right direction. scientists are basically analysts of the present and to some extent the past, but they're generally useless and deciding how to use 'knowledge'. And this is where, as with anything, there has to be a good judge and that has to come from skills that known by 'leadership'. The future is uncertain; this is certain, but what we do now, changes it. This is where, I believe, the tools of the philosopher should be used.

So for me, as seems to be the case now, these type of questions are good for a bit of fun but don't really achieve much-they do however start to hve meaning if anyone has watched the film Artificial Intelligence.


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""No words""
[  Edited by heyjme1 at   ]
Of Computers and Minds
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