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#1 2006-10-26 04:25:10

Toast
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Registered: 2006-10-08
Posts: 1,321

What life is important?

Say you created a digital world where digital beings existed. They would be just like humans: they would have their owns thoughts and emotions, but also be unaware of their situation, living life normally. The digital beings wouldn't really be humans since you created them yourself (they would be just very, very complex code) but they also would be... in a way. Would it be ethically wrong to reboot the program? Would it be ethically wrong to terminate the program?
Share your thoughts:

Last edited by Toast (2006-10-26 04:25:39)

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#2 2006-10-26 04:40:05

Devantè
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Registered: 2006-07-14
Posts: 6,400

Re: What life is important?

Well, no. You created them, you may destroy them.

On the other hand, it is wrong to interfere with something when it has evolved so much.

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#3 2006-10-26 05:34:10

mathsyperson
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Registered: 2005-06-22
Posts: 4,900

Re: What life is important?

I'd say it would be OK to reboot the program. You're not killing the beings in your world, you're just deleting them. They wouldn't be aware of themselves dying and they wouldn't know that they ever existed.


Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

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#4 2006-10-26 05:58:25

Devantè
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Posts: 6,400

Re: What life is important?

Plus, you would need to reboot the program before your 'digital beings' evolve and create technology too powerful to contain.

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#5 2006-10-26 09:50:53

MathsIsFun
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Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,551

Re: What life is important?

OK, just because you created them doesn't mean you can destroy them. Do your parents have that right? smile

But are they sentient? The trouble with current "digital life" is that it does not make its own decisions ... all of its actions can be predicted. If you don't believe me, then imagine two copies of the same program started at the same time - they will track each other perfectly.

But I belive there is one simple step to get over this "just a machine" argument. Put a true random number generator in the box. The numbers would be generated by some physical process like nuclear decay, or "white noise" from some electronic cicuit (perhaps a simple computer chip that has been fried or microwaved would do nicely).

Now you would have a true entity that would make its own decisions! If sufficiently complicated and motivated towards survival we may call it "Alive!".


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#6 2006-10-26 11:03:51

mathsyperson
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Registered: 2005-06-22
Posts: 4,900

Re: What life is important?

But you did much more than create them. You created all of the other beings that they interact with, along with any beings that they don't, and not only that, but the entire world they live in. Parents don't have the right do destroy their children because their creation is only a tiny part of the whole world. As the whole world is yours, you can technically do whatever you want with it.

I'm starting to sound dangerously like a theist. yikes


Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

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#7 2006-10-26 14:03:22

Ricky
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Registered: 2005-12-04
Posts: 3,791

Re: What life is important?

You created their world.  So?  How does this logically imply that you should be allowed to destroy it as well?

Never did quite understandt that line of reasoning.


"In the real world, this would be a problem.  But in mathematics, we can just define a place where this problem doesn't exist.  So we'll go ahead and do that now..."

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#8 2006-10-26 19:40:21

George,Y
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Registered: 2006-03-12
Posts: 1,306

Re: What life is important?

So are we created? (The Movie Series "Matrix "and Existentialism)


It's not allowed. Rather, it's because the creator has the power to destroy the creation as well.


X'(y-Xβ)=0

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#9 2006-10-26 20:46:26

Dross
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Registered: 2006-08-24
Posts: 325

Re: What life is important?

MathsIsFun wrote:

But are they sentient? The trouble with current "digital life" is that it does not make its own decisions ... all of its actions can be predicted. If you don't believe me, then imagine two copies of the same program started at the same time - they will track each other perfectly.

But I belive there is one simple step to get over this "just a machine" argument. Put a true random number generator in the box. The numbers would be generated by some physical process like nuclear decay, or "white noise" from some electronic cicuit (perhaps a simple computer chip that has been fried or microwaved would do nicely).

How would this make the being more than "just a machine" - it is still "just a machine", only now instead of having it's decisions made for it by code, it's having it's decisions made entirely at random. It will behave in strange ways, and most importantly, it will not be making it's own decisions.

I think two questions need to be adressed here, really:

1) Does this "being" that is part of a software code really exist, as we know it? If so, where is it? Is it "inside the machine" that created it? I don't think it makes sense to say that such a thing exists.

2) Is it a subject of experience? If the thing does exist, does it have experiences? You can give it a variable "sad" which is true or false, and when it gets dumped then sad is set to true, when it gets flowers then sad is set to false, but is it really feeling these emotions? I think it would be difficult and optimistc (at best) to argue that it does.
We know (or at least, I know) that there is something that it is like to be human. I have feelings, thoughts, and so on. A digitally created "being" (if it even exists) would certainly not. It would be like a rock (presumably they have no thoughts, though I could be wrong tongue) and it would not be "cruel" to destroy it as it would not be "hurt".


Bad speling makes me [sic]

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#10 2006-10-26 22:24:32

mathsyperson
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Registered: 2005-06-22
Posts: 4,900

Re: What life is important?

The Matrix is different because that has real people that are trapped in the computer world. You can't destroy that world because you didn't create the people that live in it.

Besides, if you did then you'd lose all your batteries.


Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

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#11 2006-10-26 22:40:58

MathsIsFun
Administrator
Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,551

Re: What life is important?

But what are WE? The brain is simply a place where our thoughts are.

And how do we make decisions? Why would we do something one way yesterday, and another today?

What is free will?

If we were to meet alien life based on silicon rather than on carbon, would we see it as sentient?

I think our defintions of "alive", "free will", "intelligent" etc need to be based on concepts that don't specify our bodies.

Very deep stuff. (Won't affect our lives at the moment, but fun to think about.)


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#12 2006-11-28 15:25:15

Martha-Rita
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Registered: 2006-11-28
Posts: 3

Re: What life is important?

mathsyperson wrote:

I'm starting to sound dangerously like a theist. yikes

Maybe a bunch of codes randomly formed together which created a perfect digital world all by accident and coincidence just like our world. wink big_smile

The Matrix is different because that has real people that are trapped in the computer world.

Maybe what is different is the 'real' people have a soul otherwise deleting the digital people you have created in the digital world is no different than our world being 'deleted.'
Are we not programed by nature? We are programmed to eat when we are hungry, drink when we are thirsty and to multiply. We can view ourselves in the same way we view our digital creation all 'programed' to act a certain way, even with free will.

Martha-Rita

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#13 2006-11-28 17:25:50

Patrick
Real Member
Registered: 2006-02-24
Posts: 1,005

Re: What life is important?

Martha: We have souls? I'm sorry but that's just not a valid argument in my book. An assumption I bet you can't prove to me.

First off, IF you created a form of AI as you guys describe it, no way in hell you'd turn it off smile

Secondly I don't think you guys are describeing life, as some of you say, it's thoughts.

Third thing I have to say, is about the 'right to kill' thing. We all have the right(I don't like that word, right. As if it was some divine rule) to kill or destroy whatever we want. Acting against what we call moral and ethics doesn't make you a bad person, just a different person. It's obvious that the person would be "bad" according to most peoples beliefs, but I don't think that the words bad and good makes sence on it's own. It has to been bad - according to x or good - according to y.

Lastly I think this is very interresting, what if we could create thoughts? Human-made thoughts, although not in human brains, would mean, to me, that we're not that special after all.

Last edited by Patrick (2006-11-28 17:28:42)


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#14 2006-11-28 18:41:21

MathsIsFun
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Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,551

Re: What life is important?

Imagine there is an artificial neuron. It behaves like a normal neuron but picks up its energy from radio waves. It can take its place in the brain just like other neurons.

Every few months you get an injection of these neurons and they gradually take the place of your dead neurons. You grow old but smarter. Eventually you are about 200 years old (most organs transplanted) and a brain scan reveals that you have no natural neurons left.

What are you?


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#15 2006-11-28 18:51:40

luca-deltodesco
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Registered: 2006-05-05
Posts: 1,470

Re: What life is important?

a silicon based human (lol)


The Beginning Of All Things To End.
The End Of All Things To Come.

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#16 2006-11-29 11:49:43

Martha-Rita
Member
Registered: 2006-11-28
Posts: 3

Re: What life is important?

Patrick wrote:

Martha: We have souls? I'm sorry but that's just not a valid argument in my book. An assumption I bet you can't prove to me.

First off, IF you created a form of AI as you guys describe it, no way in hell you'd turn it off smile

Secondly I don't think you guys are describeing life, as some of you say, it's thoughts.

Third thing I have to say, is about the 'right to kill' thing. We all have the right(I don't like that word, right. As if it was some divine rule) to kill or destroy whatever we want. Acting against what we call moral and ethics doesn't make you a bad person, just a different person. It's obvious that the person would be "bad" according to most peoples beliefs, but I don't think that the words bad and good makes sence on it's own. It has to been bad - according to x or good - according to y.

Lastly I think this is very interresting, what if we could create thoughts? Human-made thoughts, although not in human brains, would mean, to me, that we're not that special after all.

So according to this belief there is no absolute right or wrong, good or evil. We may not like wars and innocent civilians bombed but there is nothing wrong with it? Hitlar is not evil just different?

Why is it widely accepted accross all cultures that killing is wrong and a terrible thing?
Martha-Rita

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#17 2006-11-29 12:44:15

Ricky
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Registered: 2005-12-04
Posts: 3,791

Re: What life is important?

Why is it widely accepted accross all cultures that killing is wrong and a terrible thing?
Martha-Rita

Evolutionary psychology.  It is an artifact of our complex brains and evolution.  In the most simplistic terms, I kill person X, the friends of person X kill me.  Thus, those who kill tend to be killed and don't produce offspring.

Of course, it's much more complex than that, and the field is still very new to science.  But that is the basics.  Our brains are preprogrammed to not like killing.


"In the real world, this would be a problem.  But in mathematics, we can just define a place where this problem doesn't exist.  So we'll go ahead and do that now..."

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#18 2006-11-29 14:48:58

MathsIsFun
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Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,551

Re: What life is important?

And more ... we have empathy. We don't like to see people, or cute animals, suffer.


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#19 2006-12-01 17:42:47

Martha-Rita
Member
Registered: 2006-11-28
Posts: 3

Re: What life is important?

Ricky wrote:

Why is it widely accepted accross all cultures that killing is wrong and a terrible thing?
Martha-Rita

Evolutionary psychology.  It is an artifact of our complex brains and evolution.  In the most simplistic terms, I kill person X, the friends of person X kill me.  Thus, those who kill tend to be killed and don't produce offspring.

Of course, it's much more complex than that, and the field is still very new to science.  But that is the basics.  Our brains are preprogrammed to not like killing.

Can't you kill and not be killed in responce?

And more ... we have empathy. We don't like to see people, or cute animals, suffer.

What about those who are sadistic?

Martha-Rita

Last edited by Martha-Rita (2006-12-01 17:43:22)

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#20 2006-12-02 09:07:18

Patrick
Real Member
Registered: 2006-02-24
Posts: 1,005

Re: What life is important?

Martha-Rita wrote:

Can't you kill and not be killed in responce?

Of course you can, that wasn't the point. It is(/was) more likely that you'll die, if you kill someone else.

What about those who are sadistic?

Those people probably lack the ability to feel empathy.

Last edited by Patrick (2006-12-02 09:08:41)


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#21 2006-12-02 10:52:02

MathsIsFun
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Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,551

Re: What life is important?

Just think about normal life.

People who are cooperative and "nice" tend to stick together and reject people who are "nasty".

And there is strength in a group (different abilities combine, the strong look after the weak and the weak can become strong, sharing food leads to better overall diet, several pairs of eyes can see more, etc).

So natural selection leads to a concentration of "nice" genes, and then we pass laws on "niceness" and get a police force courts etc to enforce the laws.

And society is born!

OK, that was a little simplistic, but it is a general idea of how "good" and "bad" come about.

And it is actually very interesting to think how "nasty" survives at all, but it does.


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#22 2006-12-02 20:41:12

espeon
Real Member
Registered: 2006-02-05
Posts: 2,586

Re: What life is important?

Toast wrote:

Say you created a digital world where digital beings existed. They would be just like humans: they would have their owns thoughts and emotions, but also be unaware of their situation, living life normally. The digital beings wouldn't really be humans since you created them yourself (they would be just very, very complex code) but they also would be... in a way. Would it be ethically wrong to reboot the program? Would it be ethically wrong to terminate the program?
Share your thoughts:

if u had kingdom hearts 2 and played it until ansem the wise tried to turn kingdom hearts 2 into data you'll get the answer.

where did you get the idea for that question though?


Presenting the Prinny dance.
Take this dood! Huh doood!!! HUH DOOOOD!?!? DOOD HUH!!!!!! DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#23 2006-12-07 23:28:36

WiZaRd
Real Member
Registered: 2006-09-22
Posts: 570

Re: What life is important?

Lectures on Life!!


Be Happy!

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#24 2006-12-08 20:33:53

Devantè
Real Member
Registered: 2006-07-14
Posts: 6,400

Re: What life is important?

We could pause them for a period of time. It's not like they'll know that that has happened.

Also, why would we terminate the program? Are they building digital creations themselves or real creations? Then I believe that our race and the race of the digital beings cannot collide. This may have a rather devastating effect.

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#25 2007-01-03 21:22:51

Toast
Real Member
Registered: 2006-10-08
Posts: 1,321

Re: What life is important?

What if the codes that were used to make these virtual beings were inserted into a mechanical human? Now we're talking cyborgs or androids, whichever you prefer.

I think that our concept of what is 'real', in terms of what we have been discussing, is limited only by what we see as being normal to us. It is all a matter of perspective, which may ultimately in the future incite debates like this to turn into a [insert debate concerning discrimination] debate. And, as all debates of the like have turned out in the past, I believe that there will be general acceptance of artificial life as being normal.

I weakly believe that everything is natural, because the infinite realm that everything exists in is related intimately to us in every way, and we are like brothers and sisters to everything else in the ultimate realm in which we exist.

I got the question primarily from watching several physics documentaries that aired on SBS some time ago, and from countless other sources (including, I guess, things like Kingdom Hearts, The Matrix etc.).

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