Jump to content

Could the Internet become self aware?


Recommended Posts

There are words here where your meaning is unclear. For example, what is meant by "self" in context of the internet? Likewise, what is meant by "awareness?" Finally, how does the idea of "deleting human kind" get operationalized? Is that like a nuclear bomb strike, or a pandemic, or just our data? 

If I ignore these ambiguities, I will lend an opinion that yeah... sure, AI and machine learning are moving rapidly and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the algorithms evolved in such a way as to include their own impact on the ecosystems in which they interact. In fact, I think that's already happening to some extent. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me, the fact that "smart" algorithms try and interest me in things I just bought is a pretty strong indication that the internet is not close to being self-aware.

[Me] <buys toaster>

[internet] Hey, I see you like toasters. Can I interest you in any of these twelve toasters? <sends terminator to me to try and sell me more toasters>

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, MigL said:

Who are you kidding, Swansont.
You're nowhere near as hot as Sarah Connors, while handling a Franchi SPAS12 shotgun.

Remember that the terminator did not kill that particular Sarah Connors.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, MigL said:

Who are you kidding, Swansont.
You're nowhere near as hot as Sarah Connors, while handling a Franchi SPAS12 shotgun.

You have that poster somewhere in your house, I just know it. 

Don't count Tom out though. Have you ever seen what an atomic physicist can do with a Breville BTA830XL Die-Cast 4-slice long-slot toaster? 

"Come with me, if you want to eat toast!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range will do a nice job of making toast. Set it to 3, wide aperture, one-second burst on each side, from about 12 meters (to let the beam expand sufficiently). If you're a good shot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Now I'm getting ads from Amazon for "phased plasma rifles". The internet can't be aware if it's willing to arm us like this.

Or if it already has a defense against phased plasma attacks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, swansont said:

Or if it already has a defense against phased plasma attacks.

Kinetics may be the answer. When I search for "rail guns", Amazon cleverly changes it to "gun rails". Be afraid, internet!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I think probably, when it has sufficient complexity, such that it's operational behaviour is indistinguishable from 'wet' biology.  I think 'sufficient' is the keyword, rather than it being a specific milestone in technology... when it gradually surpasses our human level at distinguishing a difference.

Edited by StringJunky
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

I think probably, when it has sufficient complexity, such that it's operational behaviour is indistinguishable from 'wet' biology.  I think 'sufficient' is the keyword, rather than it being a specific milestone in technology... when it gradually surpasses our human level at distinguishing a difference.

Wet biology has shown the ability to evolve from single cell organisms that are definitely not 'self aware' to creatures like ourselves that (we liike to think) are.

I know of no such ability of a bunch of circuit boards, or any other electro- mechanical construct.

Changes have all come from human intervantion.

Pentium 3s did not evolve into pentium 4s by themselves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Pentium 4s also didn’t come from deep learning neural networks across hundreds of data centers across continents 

Edited by iNow
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, studiot said:

Wet biology has shown the ability to evolve from single cell organisms that are definitely not 'self aware' to creatures like ourselves that (we liike to think) are.

I know of no such ability of a bunch of circuit boards, or any other electro- mechanical construct.

Changes have all come from human intervantion.

Pentium 3s did not evolve into pentium 4s by themselves.

This is the 21st century, what will be the state of logic circuitry in the future?

Edited by StringJunky
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, StringJunky said:

This is the 21st century, what will be the state of logic circuitry in the future?

Will 'the internet' (as we know it) still exist in the furture or will it have been replaced ?

I am assuming the question refers to the internet as we know it.

So I am suggesting that the system as we know it is not capable of such a feat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, studiot said:

So I am suggesting that the system as we know it is not capable of such a feat.

Is it the system or the substrate you think not capable? Talk about pentiums suggests you think it a matter of substrate - i.e better micro-processors are needed.  Inow suggests it is not so much the hardware, but how information on that hardware is organised/represented.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, Prometheus said:

Is it the system or the substrate you think not capable? Talk about pentiums suggests you think it a matter of substrate - i.e better micro-processors are needed.  Inow suggests it is not so much the hardware, but how information on that hardware is organised/represented.

A good question.

Yes I think the substrate has most to do with it.
But also the nature of that substrate.
Don't get hung up on pentiums. They were just a quick example off the top of my head.
However the analogy can be pursued further.
Unlike cells, transistors have never been known to club together to form more complex circuits.
They were placed together by human design, first as dual transistors, then as simple 'integrated circuits', then as LSI (large scale integration) and then as VLSI (very large scale integration).
But in no case did the simple placement and connection give rise to anything other than the deterministic output of the designers and then only only their control with the supply of external equipments.
There was a process of gradual deliberate but controlled growth in size and complexity.
There was no sudden awakening Skynet style.

The internet as we know it includes all the satellites, microwaves, fibre optic and copper connections laid over two centuries as well as the support switching stations and so on.
Yet the complexity and number of connections is still many orders of magnitude less than that of the human brain and as I already pointed out, possesses no evolutionary capability.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, studiot said:

Yet the complexity and number of connections is still many orders of magnitude less than that of the human brain and as I already pointed out, possesses no evolutionary capability.

The counter argument is that the important dynamics occur at a different level of abstraction to the hardware. A single neural network architecture can be trained to give different outcomes, or in the case of reinforcement learning different behaviours. The difference in behaviour is due entirely to different weightings between the nodes in the network, rather than any difference in hardware.

Another way of saying this is that what is analogous to neurons is not the hardware, but the nodes in the neural network. 

The question of evolution is slightly different, i think, but fascinating. Does sentience need to evolve or can it be entirely engineered? Tying this to what i said above, there is work in neural networks that is looking to replace back-propagation, the default mode of up-dating neural weights, with some evolutionary algorithm to search the parameter space.

However, everything i'm saying is specific to neural networks, and the internet is not a neural network (but is starting to include more and more of them).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, studiot said:

can be trained  =  external intervention.

Sure, but i'm not sure of the relevance. Every evolved thing had the external intervention of natural selection, or human selection for some animals.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure that having wet biology is the key, @StringJunky, although it may be a factor. To me, and I'm speaking from intuition alone, the key would be having algorithms cooperate with other algorithms, and compete against still other, and produce offspring algorithms whose success is measured against relatively slowly-changing environmental conditions (as compared to the reproduction rate of such algorithms, so that anything like 'adaptation' even starts to make sense). IOW, a dynamics of competition and self-replication that mimics that of living organisms, and dispose of those organisms that don't fit the bill, so as to guarantee they don't have offspring algorithms. Given that we know for a fact that evolution of cognitive organs came about in the context of evolution of sufficiently autonomous structures in such a way at least once, it's a reasonable guess that something similar would likely happen again.

Introduce cooperative self-replication (AKA sex), and evolution would speed up considerably.

It is arguable that algorithms already have "awareness": Being able to probe the environment and store information about it however ephemeral, is some kind of primitive 'conscious' process. Self-awareness is just one step ahead: Being able to recognize clusters of data as other instances of algorithm and infer, by some kind of division self/other that the invisible 'self' variables (invisible because they're sacrificed to represent the universe outside) must be.

Is awareness, consciousness, you name it, some kind of universal principle that operates in general; but in a very diffuse and ineffectual way mostly everywhere, while only in the way we experience it when a certain division inside (self) outside (universe) is established as a relevant "state variable" of the system, and cognitive connections as well in the internal states of these specially sophisticated physical systems? We don't know.

I digress.

The upshot (my guess) is: Let algorithms compete and cooperate among them, and have sex, and be anything like successful/unsuccessful, and there will be (some kind of) self-awareness at some point.

In fewer words: Let there be Darwinian algorithms and there will be self-awareness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Prometheus said:

Sure, but i'm not sure of the relevance. Every evolved thing had the external intervention of natural selection, or human selection for some animals.

Except the first one ?

1 hour ago, joigus said:

In fewer words: Let there be Darwinian algorithms and there will be self-awareness.

Interesting +1

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/7/2021 at 5:42 AM, Strange Me said:

Could the Internet become self aware? And make it important to turn off and maybe decide "I will delete human kind?

Not answerable unless you can tell me what the difference is between a non-self-aware machine and a self-aware machine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, Holmes said:

Not answerable unless you can tell me what the difference is between a non-self-aware machine and a self-aware machine.

If you can't tell the difference in the responses, I think it's self-aware because you can't prove another real person is self-aware, so a machine and person are in the same boat.

Edited by StringJunky
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.