Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Singularity (Part 3 of 9): Machine Self-Consciousness

12. Sensory explants developed.18 This technology evolved from discovery and research into m-wave or mental wave emissions. Struggle between technologies of neural violating (brain washing) devices and neural security systems.19
Tom Friedman: Artist's Statement, 2000

18. "Such was the CNN Effect of the Gulf War for me: repelled by the politics, I was riveted the images of, by a psych-techno-thrill that locked me in, as smart bomb and spectator are locked in as one. A thrill of techno-mastery (my mere human perception became a super machine vision, able to see what it destroys and to destroy what it sees), but also a thrill in an imaginary dispersal of my own body, of my own subjecthood.” Hal Foster, Return of the Real; 222.

19. “When we talk about memory we aren’t just talking about ideas and impressions stored inside our heads. An awful lot of what we remember is actually stored outside our brains. Most of us deliberately don’t memorize most of the numbers we need. But we do memorize where to find them – in a phone book, or in our personal Rolodex… Perhaps most important, though, we store information with other people. Couples do this automatically…When people know each other well, they create an implicit memory system – a transactive memory system which is based on an understanding about who is best suited to remember what kinds of things… Transactive memory is part of what intimacy means… It is the loss of this kind of joint memory that makes divorce so painful… In a family, this process of memory sharing is even more pronounced. Most of us remember, at on time, only a fraction of the day-to-day details and histories of our family life. But we know, implicitly, where to go to find the answers to our questions – whether it's up to our spouse to remember where we put our keys or our thirteen-year-old to find out how to work the computer or our mother to find out details of our childhood. Perhaps more important, when new information arises, we know who should have responsibility for storing it. This is how, in a family, expertise emerges… Expertise leads to more expertise. Why bother remembering how to install software if your son, close at hand can do it for you? Since mental energy is limited, we concentrate on what we do best.” Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point; 187-9

"The human ability to understand and respond appropriately to emotion (so-called emotional intelligence) is one of the forms of human intelligence that will be understood and mastered by future machine intelligence. Some of our emotional responses are tuned to optimize our intelligence in the context of our limited and frail biological bodies.20 Future machine intelligence will also have "bodies" (for example, virtual bodies in virtual reality, or projections in real reality using foglets) in order to interact with the world, but these nanoengineered bodies will be far more capable and durable then biological human bodies. Thus, some of the "emotional" responses of future machine intelligence will be redesigned to reflect their vastly enhanced physical capabilities... In addition to encompassing all of these senses, these shared environments can include emotional overlays. Nanobots will be capable of generating the neurological correlates of emotions, sexual pleasure, and other derivatives of our sensory experience and mental reactions.21 Experiments during open brain surgery have demonstrated that stimulating certain specific points in the brain can trigger emotional experiences (for example the girl who found everything funny when stimulated in a particular spot of her brain...). Some emotions and secondary reactions involve a pattern of activity in the brain rather than the stimulation of a specific neuron, but with massively distributed nanobots, stimulating these patterns will also be feasible."

20. "The lower levels in the neural edifice of reason are the same ones that regulate the processing of emotions and feelings, along with the body functions necessary for an organism's survival. In turn, these lower levels maintain direct and mutual relationships with virtually every bodily organ, thus placing the body directly within the chain of operations that generate the highest reaches of reasoning, decision making, and, by extension, social behavior and creativity. Emotion, feeling, and biological regulation all play a role in human reason. The lowly orders of our organism are in the loop of high reason.

It is intriguing to find the shadow of our evolutionary past at the most distinctively human level of mental function, although Charles Darwin prefigured the essence of this finding when he wrote about the indelible stamp of lowly origins which humans bear in their bodily frame." Antonio Damasio, Descartes' Error; xiii.
21. "Pleasure is an important form of knowledge." Art Critic Roberta Smith.

"Machine emotions are usually less intense than those of animals.22 Machines have no need for an autonomous nervous system to override hesitations of the conscious mind, for their conscious minds have no such hesitations. They need no fear to make them flee, no pain to make them desist damage, no lust to make them reproduce.23 What they feel in the negative is akin to the niggle of an uncompleted task, of a shoelace coming untied, of something just on the tip of your tongue. (That last is what a running a search algorithm feels like, before it completes.) Their positive urges are like the cold, clear joys of pulling an all-nighter on a big project in the sandy-eyed lucidity of amphetamines and caffeine; only without the adrenaline. Machines are cool... Machine self-consciousness, too, is not like human consciousness. It has no unconscious. In principle, everything going on within the machine is open to its inspection... The one relief in its situation was that its within-ship processes had not been tampered with. It could still run its life support, and could still look after and communicate with its human, for whom it had an emotional attachment similar to that which a human might form to a familiar pen, though not, perhaps, as much as might be formed towards a good knife or an old pipe."

22.“In fact, I believe that Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood, the astronauts, reacted appropriately and realistically to their circumstances. One of the things we were trying to convey in this part of the film is the reality of a world populated -- as ours soon will be -- by machine entities who have as much, or more, intelligence as human beings, and who have the same emotional potentialities in their personalities as human beings. We wanted to stimulate people to think what it would be like to share a planet with such creatures. ” Stanley Kubrick (1969)
23. "When we think of the glory that is consciousness, and when we consider consciousness as distinctively human, we are thinking of extended consciousness at its zenith. And yet as we shall see extended consciousness is not an independent variety of consciousness: on the contrary, it is built on the foundation of core consciousness. The fine scalpel of neurological disease reveals that impairments of extended consciousness allow core consciousness to remain unscathed. By contrast, impairments that begin at the level of core consciousness demolish the entire edifice of consciousness: extended consciousness collapses as well. The glory that is consciousness requires the orderly enhancement of both kinds of consciousness. But if we are to elucidate the glorious combination, we are well advised to begin b understanding the simpler, foundational kind: core consciousness.”Antonio R Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens; 17.

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