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g_pepper comments on The map of the methods of optimisation (types of intelligence) - Less Wrong Discussion

4 Post author: turchin 15 September 2016 03:04PM

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Comment author: g_pepper 15 September 2016 04:17:55PM 0 points [-]

You say of the Internet (search engines, database engines, exchange media, distributed calculations) that it is "self-aware". That seems like a strong claim to make with no further explanation. How did you arrive at that conclusion?

Comment author: turchin 15 September 2016 04:32:12PM *  1 point [-]

I meant that Internet knows about its own existence in form of scientific research which studies Internet and is published in the Internet. It is also self-aware by the mind of people who use it, nothing mystical here.

I think that idea of "consciousness" should be broken in several separate ideas:

  1. Self-aware - something simply including model of itself.

  2. Have qualia - ability to have own qualitative subjective experiences

  3. Field of consciousness - united perception field which integrate different modalities in one group of things actual now. (For example mainstream mass media play such role for civilization, but they don't have their own qualia).

Comment author: g_pepper 15 September 2016 05:43:19PM 1 point [-]

I meant that Internet knows about its own existence in form of scientific research which studies Internet and is published in the Internet. It is also self-aware by the mind of people who use it, nothing mystical here.

I suspect that this idea of self awareness differs considerably from what most people think of by self awareness. For example, your criteria would seem to classify the following things as self-aware:

  1. A printed edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, if that edition contains an article about the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  2. A corporate IT department's Asset Management System (which is a computer-based repository of information about applications that the department manages), if it contains information about the Asset Management System.
  3. Any literary work which refers to itself (e.g. John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, in which two of the characters discuss the opera itself at various points in the opera, or Denis Diderot's novel Jacques The Fatalist and His Master, which contains numerous asides in which the narrator discusses Diderot's novel).

Do you consider those things to be self aware?

Comment author: turchin 15 September 2016 09:51:30PM 1 point [-]

Self-aware is about agent which has its own model and able to construct it. Wiki said: "Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-awareness

Britannica's printed edition is not agent, but its authors were agents and they knew that they were writing an encyclopaedia and that they are its authors.

Internet include agents which thinks about internet and plan its development.

But evolution (until human appeared) didn't include or needed any idea about evolution and nicely worked without it.

What is your understanding of the idea of "self-awareness"?

Comment author: g_pepper 15 September 2016 11:55:24PM 0 points [-]

What is your understanding of the idea of "self-awareness"?

The definition that you supplied: "Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals" sounds about right to me. By that definition, the internet would only be self-aware if you include the internet's architects and users as part of the internet (as you did above). It is not surprising that a system that contains rational agents as a part of itself is self-aware; many an inanimate object could be considered self-aware if we consider its builders and users as a part of it - for example the three examples I listed previously would be self-aware given that consideration. But, in the case of the internet and in the cases of my examples, it is the intelligent agents that provide the self-awareness; so self awareness is an attribute of the intelligent agents rather than of the internet per se (or the encyclopaedia per se, etc.).