On 06 Aug 2012, at 10:29, rclough wrote:

Perhaps I am wrong, but I have a problem with the concept of artificial intelligence and hence artificial life-- at least according to my
understanding of what intelligence is.

As I see it, intelligence is the ability to make choices completely on one's own. Autonomously.

Thus intelligence is simply self-determination of some issue. By self-determination I don't mean free will, athough that might be a possibility.The "self" could use anything in memory, (including current perceptions or awareness) or even anything ever thought of. Darwin tells us that such choices must be mostly appropriate choices, but sometimes they might occur mistakenly, sometimes irrationally, or deceptively. That is, to lie, deception being quite common in nature.

But a computer program can only make choices that the programmer previously allowed. So in effect the choices are made by the computer programmer, The programmer is the puppet master.. But such a programmed "robot" cannot be conscious, for there is no self to be aware. There is only the presence of electrical signals, which
are objective, but no subjectivity.

Thus one might "simulate" life, but one can never create life in a computer.

Materialism has the same fatal defect, for it is completely objective,
and so cannot have a self, which is subjective, to be aware.

But the notion of self and self-determination (and indetermination) is what computer science explains the best. I'm afraid that you have a pre-Gödelian notion of machine in mind. Today we have progress tremendously: we know that we don't really know what are universal machines, and what they are capable of. They escape all complete theory, and prevent psychology/theology of reductionism.
Empirically, we have also good reason to bet on comp.
And methodologically it is a good avenue, as this makes it possible to be able to refute comp one day, if false.



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