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A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 01 Sep 2009 11:48
by Crysknife
Just found this article today on New Scientist and it seems to reflect many of the ideas that Herbert was trying to convey in the Dune series. Say what you want about Pandora series, but I think this article explains that as science fiction novels written in a certain time. What do you guys think?

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg2 ... dream.html

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 01 Sep 2009 12:05
by lotek
I'm not sure, it seems this guy is the only one saying that the BJ would never happen as sentient machines are just a myth, and that the main danger would lie in falling for "the magics" that make them look like they have some kind of superior human intelligence.
But then from what he says he's the only one that doesn't believe in AI... so who knows?

I think that as computers are now there is no way they could imitate a human chain of thought, but maybe with some new technoloy, organic robots or info travelling with light instead of electricty.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 01 Sep 2009 12:23
by A Thing of Eternity
I think hardware will be the major stumbling block in AI, rather than programming. What they need to do is figure out how to replace key components of the computer with organic replacements (cloned brain matter). I think that would open it right up. Not saying that it couldn't be done with pure hardware rather than "wetware" (to borrow a term), but I think it would be more difficult.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 01 Sep 2009 13:10
by Crysknife
lotek wrote:I'm not sure, it seems this guy is the only one saying that the BJ would never happen as sentient machines are just a myth, and that the main danger would lie in falling for "the magics" that make them look like they have some kind of superior human intelligence.
But then from what he says he's the only one that doesn't believe in AI... so who knows?

I think that as computers are now there is no way they could imitate a human chain of thought, but maybe with some new technoloy, organic robots or info travelling with light instead of electricty.


Actually, I think the B Jihad would still happen, and it would be more like what Frank had in mind. Take the Dune Encyclopaedia for example. A program decides to abort a baby in the womb based on automated programming and supposed AI. Isn't that much like the scenario that was described in this article with uncaring machines that seem to feign intelligence. And isn't the automation of warfare and machines that can kill without human advice but with human programming much like the "man against man with machine" concept? Or how the ruling class kept the mass population under it's thumb with the use of machines?

Just some thoughts.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 01 Sep 2009 13:43
by lotek
seems i need to read the Encyclopedia but I have it pdf and it's not my printer(and ink)I would use, as i find it almost impossible to read on the screen(15" sucks for that)

I'm not that familiar with the pre muad'dib histories, and I am sad to say that the hack has muddled the waters of my Dune knowledge about that specific subject...
also talking of machine apocalypse brings images of Terminators and such :)

But I get your drift; i think

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 01 Sep 2009 14:08
by Freakzilla
lotek wrote:I'm not that familiar with the pre muad'dib histories, and I am sad to say that the hack has muddled the waters of my Dune knowledge about that specific subject...


Dune, Appendix II: The Religion of Dune

That's all there is really besides Leto II remembering it through OM.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 01 Sep 2009 14:41
by lotek
Freakzilla wrote:
lotek wrote:I'm not that familiar with the pre muad'dib histories, and I am sad to say that the hack has muddled the waters of my Dune knowledge about that specific subject...


Dune, Appendix II: The Religion of Dune

That's all there is really besides Leto II remembering it through OM.


thanks for that, I'll have a good read but tomorrow
(and I must find a cheap way to print the Dune Encyclopedia, where cheap means free ;))

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 01 Sep 2009 15:08
by Lundse
As a philosopher... (this is where you should get off)

..I have some problems with this article.
His claim that "maybe mind is physical but cannot be made artificially" is pure nonsense. We can set up a machine to simluate any physical process we can measure. Why not mind?

Also, he seems to completely disregard ol' Turings test - if a machine can act intelligently, who are we to say it is not just becuase it does not use synapses?

He is right that a computer plays chess in a radically different way than we do, but does that make the computer unintelligent. The article, like much science reporting, needs to get clear on what we are talking about:

Intelligent (behaviour) - the machine does something which is "clever". Eg. plays chess.
Thinking - the machines exhibits intelligent behaviour, and does so in a manner which suggests it is not just rambling off rote answers, but actually combining dat to find them. This is hard to define, obviously, but maybe we can rule out machines which can only do very specific tasks (again, like chess).
Conscious/sentient - that there is actually something it "feels like" to be the machine. Not related to results, but an internal characteristic (BTW, how do you know anyone but you is conscious?)


I am not saying the answer to what AI can achieve is clearcut - the guy might even be right. I am just saying this article is muddled.

Interesting topic, though!

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 01 Sep 2009 15:20
by lotek
off hand I'd say that with what we know now, AI as we sci fi fans are used to see is too far off, but then again mobiles phones were just Star Trek communicators when I was a kid so...

but it would be difficult to measure the human "mind", with what criteriae(plural?)and what instruments?

it's one of the things that put me off the Omnius/Erasmus thing, that they could absorb human personae like face dancers while being machines, just like that, magical wand business...

That a computer could learn from experience, acquired or uploaded(from a defined source), I'm sure that'll happen.

So for the sake of argument do we ignore the fact that this guy doesn't believe it will happen and concentrate on the philosophical implications of an AI possibility?

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 01 Sep 2009 15:25
by Crysknife
Yeah, I kind of had the same thoughts when I was reading it, Lundse. I think given enough complexity, a machine can become intelligent if not conscious. But I can see where he is coming from. A robot can imitate anything we wish it to, but will it ever really care in and of itself about us? And therefore, should we ever trust them to make our decisions? I find it much more likely that they will be used as tools to control, while at the same time they condition us with their use. We may have to ditch them before they ever become complex enough to be truly conscious because of our own problems, not theirs.

Seems the Butlerian jihadists found out, anyway.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 01 Sep 2009 15:37
by A Thing of Eternity
I love when people go on and on about how a machine could never achieve consciousness - without really questioning whether or not human beings are truly conscious, and if so, to what degree? And to what degree would the machine have to be conscious for us to accept it? Could it be totally self aware, but without emotion? That would constitute consciousness IMO, but most people would disagree, because they’d be looking for human characteristics in the machine rather than just sentient characteristics.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 02 Sep 2009 15:57
by GamePlayer
I can see some of his points, but he's just arguing from different unknowns than usual. Rather than arguing from the unknowns about computers and AI, he's arguing from unknowns about our own organic brains. Take this quote for example:

Accepting the mind as a physical entity does not tell us what kind of physical entity it is. It could be a physical system that cannot be recreated by a computer.


Or there could very well be a way to build an organic brain artificially (which at least he semi-admits later)! What's more, perhaps there's a way to build AI in a way completely different from organic brains altogether! Or not!

All that's being argued here is what is unknown. There's no definitive answer for or against either his own assumptions or those of any other scientist for that matter. He's also preaching the very same doomsday scenarios for which he criticized other scientists (and the media), just going about it from a skeptical view of AI rather than an optimistic view of AI. The only real lesson to be learned here is "think outside the box", but there's no compelling reason why we should :)

As an aside, I will say I've never understood how artificial intelligence can be equated to human intelligence, whether AI exists or not. Wouldn't all AI perception be fundamentally different than human perception by default? So how would we even judge one against the other or come up with any kind of benchmark for what is or is not sentient? If we're waiting to build an AI that thinks exactly like us, I don't think that's ever going to happen because an AI will not likely be made in the same way as us nor is it likely to perceive the same way we do. Seems like a fundamental paradox.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 02 Sep 2009 16:00
by A Thing of Eternity
GamePlayer wrote:As an aside, I will say I've never understood how artificial intelligence can be equated to human intelligence, whether AI exists or not. Wouldn't all AI perception be fundamentally different than human perception by default? So how would we even judge one against the other or come up with any kind of benchmark for what is or is not sentient? If we're waiting to build an AI that thinks exactly like us, I don't think that's ever going to happen because an AI will not likely be made in the same way as us nor is it likely to perceive the same way we do. Seems like a fundamental paradox.


That's my feeling too, even if we plugged it into a "blank" human brain to use as hardware, there is little liklihood that it would truly resemble us.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 02 Sep 2009 16:15
by Lundse
A Thing of Eternity wrote:...even if we plugged it into a "blank" human brain to use as hardware, there is little liklihood that it would truly resemble us.


But if it was based on our hardware and ran "patterns" which were similar to ours? Or just emulated us neuron-for-neuron in silicon chips?
Maybe if we plugged a human into a really good "learning machine" (we have those) so it could imitate and learn to be kind-of-like-us...

(Trivia contest: where is that last idea from?)

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 02 Sep 2009 16:21
by A Thing of Eternity
Maybe, it would be tough to just catagorically state that we'll never make AI that thinks like us, but I do think a vast difference is more likely.

I guess we'll find out when we do it.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 02 Sep 2009 16:44
by SandRider
Lundse wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:...even if we plugged it into a "blank" human brain to use as hardware, there is little liklihood that it would truly resemble us.


But if it was based on our hardware and ran "patterns" which were similar to ours? Or just emulated us neuron-for-neuron in silicon chips?
Maybe if we plugged a human into a really good "learning machine" (we have those) so it could imitate and learn to be kind-of-like-us...

(Trivia contest: where is that last idea from?)



Family Guy.

Stewie built such a machine & plugged the dog into it.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 02 Sep 2009 17:49
by Freakzilla
SandRider wrote:
Lundse wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:...even if we plugged it into a "blank" human brain to use as hardware, there is little liklihood that it would truly resemble us.


But if it was based on our hardware and ran "patterns" which were similar to ours? Or just emulated us neuron-for-neuron in silicon chips?
Maybe if we plugged a human into a really good "learning machine" (we have those) so it could imitate and learn to be kind-of-like-us...

(Trivia contest: where is that last idea from?)



Family Guy.

Stewie built such a machine & plugged the dog into it.


Destination: Void?

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 03 Sep 2009 06:54
by SadisticCynic
One of the interesting things about this is the lack of a good definition of intelligence. It seems that some AI researchers (I've read this type of comment a couple of times now) seem to think that intelligence itself is an illusion, the same way they feel other qualities usually attributed to mind are illusions. Interesting way of looking at it.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 03 Sep 2009 07:51
by SandChigger
Freakzilla wrote:
SandRider wrote:Family Guy.

Stewie built such a machine & plugged the dog into it.


Destination: Void?

Destination: Woiff :P

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 03 Sep 2009 08:16
by Freakzilla
SadisticCynic wrote:One of the interesting things about this is the lack of a good definition of intelligence. It seems that some AI researchers (I've read this type of comment a couple of times now) seem to think that intelligence itself is an illusion, the same way they feel other qualities usually attributed to mind are illusions. Interesting way of looking at it.


I think consciousness is harder to define.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 03 Sep 2009 09:36
by lotek
SandChigger wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
SandRider wrote:Family Guy.

Stewie built such a machine & plugged the dog into it.


Destination: Void?

Destination: Woiff :P


Destination: Waff

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 03 Sep 2009 11:55
by SadisticCynic
Freakzilla wrote:
SadisticCynic wrote:One of the interesting things about this is the lack of a good definition of intelligence. It seems that some AI researchers (I've read this type of comment a couple of times now) seem to think that intelligence itself is an illusion, the same way they feel other qualities usually attributed to mind are illusions. Interesting way of looking at it.


I think consciousness is harder to define.


Oh yes I agree; actually I was considering mentioning that. It's one of the things that makes Destination: Void more fascinating, that Frank had his characters realise they had to form an artificial consciousness, rather than an AI.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 04 Sep 2009 15:08
by GamePlayer
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
GamePlayer wrote:As an aside, I will say I've never understood how artificial intelligence can be equated to human intelligence, whether AI exists or not. Wouldn't all AI perception be fundamentally different than human perception by default? So how would we even judge one against the other or come up with any kind of benchmark for what is or is not sentient? If we're waiting to build an AI that thinks exactly like us, I don't think that's ever going to happen because an AI will not likely be made in the same way as us nor is it likely to perceive the same way we do. Seems like a fundamental paradox.


That's my feeling too, even if we plugged it into a "blank" human brain to use as hardware, there is little liklihood that it would truly resemble us.


Agreed. Ultimately a machine is going to think like a machine, whether it does so through a human filter or not.

Lundse wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:...even if we plugged it into a "blank" human brain to use as hardware, there is little liklihood that it would truly resemble us.


But if it was based on our hardware and ran "patterns" which were similar to ours? Or just emulated us neuron-for-neuron in silicon chips?
Maybe if we plugged a human into a really good "learning machine" (we have those) so it could imitate and learn to be kind-of-like-us...


I think the only way for a machine intelligence to truly perceive just like a human is to build it just like a human. In which case, I think that would require moving to issues of genetic replication and cloning more than artificial intelligence and robotics.

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 11 Sep 2009 22:27
by E. LeGuille
I originally thought that Thinking Machines were machines that had human brains. That would be a lot more interesting than... well... :(

Re: A model of machines in Frank's B Jihad?

Posted: 12 Sep 2009 00:16
by SandChigger
E. LeGuille wrote:I originally thought that Thinking Machines were machines that had human brains.

:?: :?: :?:

Why in the world would anyone think that? It doesn't make any sense at all. If Frank Herbert had meant some kind of machine+human combination by the phrase "thinking machines" (NB. NEVER capitalized in the originals), he would have used the word CYBORG, which was coined in 1960.

I'm sorry, but that's yet another of those unthinking misreadings of the actual words in the books that are simply impossible, akin to that "the neutral island where the CET meets could be the Moon or an orbital platform" proposed (if not originated) by yet another mostly fluent yet originally non-native speaker of English, TAZ (=The Almighty Zeus), whom you probably know as Jonathan F on FB & KJASF.