On Tuesday, September 10, 2013 2:07:26 AM UTC-4, Dennis Ochei wrote:
> Craig,
> I've been trying to stay focused studying the past few days (medical exam 
> D: ), but now im procrastinating....
> So which of the following are you advancing
> No implementation of rules could ever perfectly exemplify (or at least to 
> such a degree that no human could every tell it was a mere implementation 
> of rules and not "the real thing") the behavior of:
> 1)  an electron
> 2) an atom
> 3) a molecule
> 4) a macro-molecule
> 5) an organelle
> 6) a cell
> 7) a sponge
> 8) a nematode
> 9) a fruit fly
> 10) a frog
> 11) a dog
> 12) a rhesus macaque
> 13) a human
> ?
I am advancing the idea that that there is a formula. We can say that the 
numbers on your list, 1-13, can correspond to what I call the pathetic 
constant (p). The higher the number, the more likely that we, as humans 
will attribute feelings and/or the expectation that the public phenomena is 
associated with a private experience which is worthy of our consideration. 
If we misattribute a high p value (i.e. human feelings) to a very low p 
phenomenon then we are committing the pathetic fallacy 

In light of that, let me reorganize the chart:

(13) myself
(12) people who remind me of myself
(11) people who are familiar
(10) people who look or behave in an unfamiliar way
(9) living primates
(8) living mammals
(7) animals
(6) reptiles, insects
(5) plants
(4) cells under a microscope
(3) movies of any of the above
(2) photos of any of the above
(1) dead bodies of animals
(0) stuffed animals (taxidermy)
(-1) stuffed animals (synthetic), robot looking robots
(-2) cartoons, fictional characters, graphic simulations, entopic 
(-3) AI, verbal simulations
(-4) natural phenomena - clouds, mountains
(-5) significant objects - jewels, antiques
(-6) common objects - trash can, pile of sand
(-7/14) invisible abstraction - wraps around from absolutely generic 
unconsciousness to God concepts

When we try to include phenomena which we cannot directly interact with, 
such as those on an astrophysical or subatomic scale, or 'information' 
constructs, we have to fit it into our natural schema intuitively, which I 
think is both deceptive on one level and potentially contains true insights 
on another.

If we looked at a pile of yeast, it might look to us like powder (-6) but 
the actual yeast cells deserve more of a (4 to 5) rating. The gap going in 
that direction would be an antipathetic gap. Treating a stuffed animal (-2) 
as a pet (7 to 9) would be a pathetic gap.

To make matters more complicated, our own state of consciousness alters and 
distorts the scale. A child's empathy may differ from an adult's. A child 
who has been traumatized by a bear may feel different about animals and be 
more susceptible to a pathetic gap because of their fear. Their toy bear 
may have to be thrown out. The entire scale is made of prejudice, but it is 
not prejudice which is completely unfounded. The lens through which we 
empathize with others is made of accumulated aesthetic experiences which 
have roots beyond our conscious mind. Our history as a species with snakes 
and spiders is present in the attitudes of people - some people more than 
others, and some cultures more than others.

It's not the rules that make something seem alive, it is the aesthetic 
presence. We are exquisitely sensitive to the aesthetics of living 
organisms. We may not be able to tell the difference between a real plant 
and a plastic plant from 10 yards away, but if we can look at it close up, 
touch the leaves, smell it, we can know very quickly what we are dealing 
with. We can be easily misdirected with simulations - puppets, trompe 
l'oeil, etc, but this superficial empathy is not exactly the same as our 
deep, even subconscious understanding, and it is certainly not the same as 
what the entity we are judging is experiencing.

To simulate an aesthetic presence is not necessarily possible. We can make 
synthetic fabrics now that have a natural feel to a much greater degree 
than was possible 20 years ago, but we can still tell the difference on 
some level, and our skin can tell the difference. If we keep improving the 
fabric, it may be possible that at some point no expert will be able to 
tell the difference without scientific tools, but that is not necessarily 
true. A human being who has a talent for appreciating fabric may have a 
palette whose sensitivity will always learn to spot a fake.

The assumption you make is that we are talking about degrees of complexity, 
and that complexity is an objective value defined in mathematical terms. My 
view is that the complexity is only the tip of the iceberg. What we are 
really talking about is sensitivity and authenticity. A woodgrain laminate 
is easy to distinguish from a hardwood floor to someone who is paying 
attention, but not as easy as it is to distinguish a mannequin from a 
living person. Even a casual observer can get a sense of fake diamonds vs 
real, but perhaps with a greater margin of error than a gemologist.

To sum up, I would say that the rules that make a living person different 
from a dead person are not proportional to the significance of that 
difference. Being alive is not something that arises from a confluence of 
rules, rather rules are derived from our generalizations about what we have 
observed of the publicly measurable aspects of life. Most of live, however, 
is not public or measurable.

Good luck on your exam!

> On Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 11:41 PM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>
> > wrote:
>> On Monday, September 9, 2013 11:39:31 PM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:
>>> (Resending complete email - trying to do this on a phone.)
>>> On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>>>> On Thursday, September 5, 2013, Craig Weinberg wrote:
>>>>> My position would suggest that the more mechanistic the conditions of 
>>>>> the test, the more it stacks the test in favor of not being able to tell 
>>>>> the difference. If you want to fool someone into thinking an AI is alive, 
>>>>> get a small group of people who lean toward aspberger's traits and show 
>>>>> them short, unrelated examples in a highly controlled context. 
>>>> You accept, of course, that people with Aspbergers have feelings even 
>>>> though they don't express them like everyone else?
>> Certainly. I was using the idea of selecting for Aspberger traits as a 
>> way of stacking the deck toward a result that de-emphasizes emotional 
>> discernment of others behavior.
>>>>> If you want to really bring out the differences between the two, use a 
>>>>> diverse audience and have them interact freely for a long time in many 
>>>>> different contexts, often without oversight. What you are looking for is 
>>>>> aesthetic cues that may not even be able to be named - intuitions of 
>>>>> something about the AI being off or untrustworthy, continuity gaps, 
>>>>> non-fluidity, etc. It's sort of like taking a video screen out into the 
>>>>> sunlight. You get a better view of what it isn't when you can see more of 
>>>>> what it is.
>>> It sounds like you're proposing a variant of the Turing Test. What would 
>>> you say if the diverse audience decided the AI probably had feelings, or 
>>> probably had feelings but different to most people's, like the Aspergers 
>>> case?
>> Between the two tests, I'm showing the opposite of what is typically 
>> intended by the Turing Test. I am proposing a way to test the extent to 
>> which any given Turing-type test reflects the bias of the interpreter 
>> rather than any intrinsic quality of the target of the test.
>> It's hard to say for sure that a positive outcome for the test has any 
>> meaning. It's mainly to prove a negative. Maybe only one person out of ten 
>> million can pick up on the subtle cues that give away the simulation, and 
>> maybe they are too shy to speak up in public. Maybe only dogs can tell its 
>> not a person. My hunch though is that this is academic. I expect that 
>> simulations will always be pretty easy to figure out given enough time and 
>> diversity of audience and interaction. If at some point in time that is no 
>> longer the case, the ability to tell the difference will probably be 
>> available as an app for our own augmented human systems.
>> Craig
>>>> -- 
>>>> Stathis Papaioannou
>>> -- 
>>> Stathis Papaioannou
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