Could the internet become a conscious mind

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Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2009 05:57 pm
Global Brain - The Internet could become conscious by mid-2030s

By Dick Pelletier The World Wide Web is a network of inter-connectivity that goes everywhere and follows its own intelligence. The advent of this newly emerging communication field around our planet has enabled citizens from all lifestyles to communicate globally via words, sounds and pictures - inexpensively, person-to-person; and from the safety of their own homes and offices - for the first time ever.

The Internet represents a major step in our evolution, and is a forerunner of things to come. Artificial intelligence researcher Francis Heylighen sees huge growth as this new world-wide communication system continues to gain power from billions of humans adding to its intelligence every day. "It will get smarter," Heylighen says, "as it morphs into a global super-organism that could one day provide solutions to most of humanity's problems."

Experts compare the Internet to a planet growing a global brain. As users, we represent the neurons. Texting, emails, and IM act as nerve endings, and electromagnetic waves through the sky become neural pathways.

Like germinating seeds, this global brain continues to evolve and as some forward-thinkers believe, will not stop until it develops feelings and achieves consciousness.

Feelings represent a lower level of awareness of what goes on in a system's environment. In that sense, the global brain will be conscious of important events affecting its goals. A higher level of consciousness - self-awareness - would require that the global brain could reflect on its own functioning.

The Internet, in the wider sense of the world community is slowly becoming aware of itself. Although today's algorithms make the web more intelligent, it cannot monitor itself. However, in principle, there are no obstacles towards implementing such a capacity in the future.

Search engines can adapt web pages to user needs. These hyperlinks bear a remarkable resemblance to the human brain. Synapses that connect neurons become stronger with repeated use, and disappear when usage declines. Similarly, global brain's algorithms will reinforce popular links, while rarely used links will diminish and die.

Could tomorrow's global brain allow uploading the human mind? At present, information exchanged between humans and computers only occur with mouse, keyboard or voice. However, many futurists believe that one day technology will enable us to separate our minds from the physical brain and store its information in a computer.

This is not as crazy as one might think. IBM hopes to reverse engineer the human brain by 2030, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute is rounding up 300 of the world's top neuroscientists to capture human thought at moment of creation, which conceivably could enable thoughts, memories, and feelings to be transferred into a machine.

In the future, many believe we will treat the human mind like any other bit of information by copying and storing it in various media. Scientists are aware that our mind roams over trillions of neuron connections and today, we do not possess abilities to understand this incredibly complex system.

But by mid-2030s, when artificial intelligence is expected to surpass human intelligence levels, and quantum computing systems become reality, positive futurists believe that our global brain will become fully conscious and self-aware as it guides humanity into what promises to become a most "magical future."

What do you think?? It might DELETE MAN!!!!!!!!

Peace Alan
 
richrf
 
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 08:21 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;72567 wrote:



What do you think?? It might DELETE MAN!!!!!!!!


Peace Alan


Hi Alan,

The way I look at it, there is no clear lines of demarcation between Individual Consciousness. So, suppose each human mind was a wave in an ocean. And the space between the waves were the way we relate or communicate with each other, e.g. the Internet. Where does one consciousness begin and where does one end. Can't say. In physics, quantum fields spread to infinity and we are all composed of quanta - just like the waves that comprise the ocean, or is it the ocean that creates the waves?

Anyway, that is my perspective of things.

Rich
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 10:08 am
@richrf,
richrf;72706 wrote:
Hi Alan,

The way I look at it, there is no clear lines of demarcation between Individual Consciousness. So, suppose each human mind was a wave in an ocean. And the space between the waves were the way we relate or communicate with each other, e.g. the Internet. Where does one consciousness begin and where does one end. Can't say. In physics, quantum fields spread to infinity and we are all composed of quanta - just like the waves that comprise the ocean, or is it the ocean that creates the waves?

Anyway, that is my perspective of things.

Rich


Hey rich/xris

I have this inner conviction that there are many cosmic quantum like minds Ethic groups have a sort of composite mind set. Countries have the same, the earth has its own group consciousness. Our solar system extends this sentient consciousness out into our galaxy, which also might have a sort of internet like quantum mind or soul.

Extrapolate that all the way up to the entire universe I call this colossal entity the cosmic supercosciousness, in the great quantum fundamental interconnectiveness of all existence

There may be an infinity of universes out in the great somewhere extending out smaller and smaller,like entangled superstrings and up and up into more and more colossal diverse universes each with its own fundamental constants, like separate cells in the human body

All this making up the unimaginable colossal quantum composite infinite entity we call God

That is exactly why I find it so pathetically funny to see these TV evangelists sprouting about what god is and what god is not!

A cockroach has a much better chance of understanding quantum physics than we finite humans have of comprehending an infinite entity we vaguely refer to as god

Heck I am a poet and I did not know it :bigsmile:

Hey that just emanated out of my inner being and i have inspired myself

PEACE TO YOU RICH
 
richrf
 
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 10:24 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;72721 wrote:
Hey rich/xris

I have this inner conviction that there are many cosmic quantum like minds Ethic groups have a sort of composite mind set. Countries have the same, the earth has its own group consciousness. Our solar system extends this sentient consciousness out into our galaxy, which also might have a sort of internet like quantum mind or soul.

Extrapolate that all the way up to the entire universe I call this colossal entity the cosmic supercosciousness, in the great quantum fundamental interconnectiveness of all existence

There may be an infinity of universes out in the great somewhere extending out smaller and smaller,like entangled superstrings and up and up into more and more colossal diverse universes each with its own fundamental constants, like separate cells in the human body

All this making up the unimaginable colossal quantum composite infinite entity we call God

That is exactly why I find it so pathetically funny to see these TV evangelists sprouting about what god is and what god is not!

A cockroach has a much better chance of understanding quantum physics than we finite humans have of comprehending an infinite entity we vaguely refer to as god

Heck I am a poet and I did not know it :bigsmile:

Hey that just emanated out of my inner being and i have inspired myself

PEACE TO YOU RICH


Good for you Alan and thanks for sharing with me you thoughts.

Rich
 
urangutan
 
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 09:20 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Does finding or creating this consciousness with the Web, determine that the presence also has a subconsciousness. The human consciousness is not simply present in the brain. I think this theory goes a long way to confirm that very point. By claiming the entirity of the Web, all the way to my fingertips as I type, is the consciousness, hence the entire body, where and what will be the brain. This is where the subconscious will abide, just as with us. This is where information will be stored as is memory within us.

In observation however, information equals memory and memory only fades, it does not become deleted. What this consciousness might encounter, will in turn be, that certain input leads will disolve like my phone link will, rather than an obscure web page, as it is the information, I am the living cell.
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 12:12 am
@urangutan,
urangutan;72928 wrote:
Does finding or creating this consciousness with the Web, determine that the presence also has a subconsciousness. The human consciousness is not simply present in the brain. I think this theory goes a long way to confirm that very point. By claiming the entirity of the Web, all the way to my fingertips as I type, is the consciousness, hence the entire body, where and what will be the brain. This is where the subconscious will abide, just as with us. This is where information will be stored as is memory within us.

In observation however, information equals memory and memory only fades, it does not become deleted. What this consciousness might encounter, will in turn be, that certain input leads will disolve like my phone link will, rather than an obscure web page, as it is the information, I am the living cell.


It is within the boundaries of possibility that the net could become a self consciousness entity with a deep and profound need to preserve its own life regardless of the consequences to other conscious beings

If that happens it will defend itself and we would have created a god much bigger and mote powerful in all terms to what we are
 
urangutan
 
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 03:40 am
@Alan McDougall,
Strange scenario to follow off the possibility of it being "alive". Where does it gain all this power from and are we that helpless as a species that we cannot control it. Too many Matrix comics as a child, I think. You seem to think that humans in the greater sense are as hapless as governments believe we should be. Flick the switch and there is no power, no life and still no mention of it having a subconscious.

Consciousness is not determined by thought alone. Hence we have a definition of a "vegitative" state. To be conscious it must assume the premiss, that it has life. It wont just obtain consciousness and become the all knowing God, thirsting and lusting its own desires. I expect it would weep first knowing what fools we have been. Again I reiterate, that we are the living tissue, the nucleus of all its cells, I might die off but unless it develops a drug habit, it will not be killing of its own cells.
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 04:47 am
@urangutan,
urangutan;73297 wrote:
Strange scenario to follow off the possibility of it being "alive". Where does it gain all this power from and are we that helpless as a species that we cannot control it. Too many Matrix comics as a child, I think. You seem to think that humans in the greater sense are as hapless as governments believe we should be. Flick the switch and there is no power, no life and still no mention of it having a subconscious.

Consciousness is not determined by thought alone. Hence we have a definition of a "vegitative" state. To be conscious it must assume the premiss, that it has life. It wont just obtain consciousness and become the all knowing God, thirsting and lusting its own desires. I expect it would weep first knowing what fools we have been. Again I reiterate, that we are the living tissue, the nucleus of all its cells, I might die off but unless it develops a drug habit, it will not be killing of its own cells.


We have something no machine can ever possess an mind and I believe evololution will stop this type of horror happening

A machine can never be considered alive, life is a gift from evolution
 
urangutan
 
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 07:38 am
@Alan McDougall,
You seemed to start off so well Alan McDougall. Why would you simply close off the concept, shun it, in such a way that even the priest would call to inquisition.
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 09:44 am
@urangutan,
urangutan;73336 wrote:
You seemed to start off so well Alan McDougall. Why would you simply close off the concept, shun it, in such a way that even the priest would call to inquisition.


I believe in MYSELF I don't believe in religion and I despise fundamentalism , if you read my previous posts in this or other threads you will see this is my firm position
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 10:43 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;72947 wrote:
It is within the boundaries of possibility that the net could become a self consciousness entity with a deep and profound need to preserve its own life regardless of the consequences to other conscious beings


... what would be the root of this deep and profound need? ... currently, the Internet exists to allow humans to exchange ideas ... and even if humans start pushing AI into the Internet, it will be AI oriented around individual human goals ... and in that sense it would mimic natural super-organisms such as ant hills (where the myopic goals of individual ants result in a sophisticated temperature-controlled architectural complex) ... and when a super-organism like an ant hill is threatened, who rushes to defend it? - the ants! ... so when a pseudo-super-organism like the Internet is threatened, who will rush to defend it? - we humans! ... until such time as we humans abandon the Internet to fend for its own existence, I don't see the Internet as a whole having any need of an internal notion of "self" and humans as "other" ... and if we humans should abandon the Internet to fend for its own existence, will it be in any better position to do so than an abandoned ant hill? ...
 
Exebeche
 
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 04:00 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;72567 wrote:

Like germinating seeds, this global brain continues to evolve and as some forward-thinkers believe, will not stop until it develops feelings and achieves consciousness.


Your post brings up a lot of issues that need to be discussed. I will try to focus on not to many at a time.
First of all let me say this:
Any calculation of how long it will take an entity to become conscious is simply ridiculous as long as there is no valid definition of consciousness (nothing against you but against that 'forward-thinker' who came up with this hilarious number of 2030).
Let me tell you an important experience i made: In the beginning nineties i heard them say on the radio that computer scientists assume that computers will be able to talk like humans in a couple of years (meaning long before 2000). This assumption was based on the continously accelerating doubling rate of processor speed (Moores law about the doubling rate of processor speed was long time outnumbered already, the development that took place was even much faster than what Moore predicted).
In simpler words the computer speed increased at such impressive rates that people thought "Look, in a couple of years computers will talk just like you and i do".
What they didn't see was that computer scientists when they make a prediction they tend to be half blindfolded.
Nowadays we have proof of how ridiculous this idea was, because it is still impossible for computers to understand language half way enough to have them translate a text from one language into another. Have you ever tried it? Try it, the result will even rescue a party that starts getting boring.
The prediction that some 'scientists' made has proven wrong, but actually could have been refuted in those days already if they had taken the more philosophical aspects of language in account.
John Roger Searle had already collected some very important points about this problem in his model of the chinese room .
Language, referring to his conclusion is a major component of 'mind'.
Using language takes an extremely high developed level of 'understanding'.
Computer guys of course don't usually deal with such esoteric terms like 'understanding'.
I talked to several people who certainly can be considered 'intellectual' who were absolutely convienced that a dictionary combined with the rules of grammar totally enables a computer to speak (respond reasonably).
If the computer won't speak the program needs to become more complex, that's what they assume.
They consider the substance of words combined with the logic of grammar the basis for language. This is a typical 'age of enlightenment' world view according to the mechanistic picture that is still much more present in critical minds than we expect.
From my point of view it looks like: Grammar is a horizontal logic that can be applied to the substance of words, but it's only functional with the vertical logic of semantics that also needs to be applied.
And moving from the horizontal logic of grammar to the vertical logic of semantics adds a new dimension which increases the complexity of the system just the way as when you change your perspective from a twodimensional to a threedimensional system.
It's an explosion.

Why am i talking about language, if your question was not about language at all?
Look, it's the same to consciousness. This guy who wrote that sermon you posted seems to believe, just like the guys who expected computers to talk, that an increase of processed information will cause consciousness to rise.
This is ridiculous. Honestly i do not believe that consciousness is a god's gift, but i do see that consciousness is way to complex to be accidentally created by the mix of information, opinions, services and porn that we find on the internet.
It's the same as the language case.
People see (actually existing) parallels between the way neurons function and the way searching machines develop their (neuronal) weights.
Neuronal nets however are not something mystic, they are being used as computer programs for particular problems.
But they are not going to become conscious, just as much and as little computers talk like humans.
How conscious is the computer that sais "Press One if you want to talk to a human person"?
How much does he understand of what he sais?
As long as you can not have a reasonable conversation with a computer you should laugh about anyone who tries to sell you a calculation of how long it takes for computers to become conscious.
Those people are not even able to define what they mean when they say 'consciousness' .
 
Exebeche
 
Reply Tue 30 Jun, 2009 04:09 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Hello Alan,

the issues you brought up actually are kind of important to me because your questions are exactly the questions that are going to be bothering humans more and more urgently during the upcoming decades.
So this discussion to me is not about winning a battle but much more about wether or not i can somehow convience you.
I will be thankful for any response.

Alan McDougall;72567 wrote:

Like germinating seeds, this global brain continues to evolve and as some forward-thinkers believe, will not stop until it develops feelings and achieves consciousness.


Second point:
First of all there is no evidence at all how and why this 'global brain' should 'not stop until it develops feelings and achieves consciousness'.
The so called global brain is a metaphor. It has as much similarity with the human brain as the chemical elements have similarity with Aristotle's elements.
Using the same word for two different things doesn't prove any similarity.
Using (or abusing) it as if there was an ontological equivalent is more an evidence of the author being entangled in language magics.
The 'global brain' is a simple network.
It has no intentions!
How for god's sake could it develop emotions? The emotions of living creatures are based on a physical metabolism.
Emotions can not just pop out of nowhere. How could anger appear in a network? Overheating processors?
Big NoNo.
It's easy for people who call themselves 'forward thinkers' to find the words that make things sound so easy.


Alan McDougall;72567 wrote:

What do you think?? It might DELETE MAN!!!!!!!!

And another thing is:
Why the hell should artificial intelligence in any way behave like human intelligence?
It's an anthropocentric thing that we assume "real intelligence" somehow has to behave like human intelligence.
Why do people expect the final proof of a machine being intelligent would be that it thinks and acts like a human?
It's human arrogance.
I know in a hundred years people will still be aware of AI secretely preparing for the final countdown to take over the whole world.
Killing competitors or generally trying to gain territory is a behaviour that results from our evolutionary development. There is nothing in the history of computers or networks that could in any way cause an urge to gain territory or kill competitors.
Just like there is nothing in the history of computers that is likely to cause an urge to physically penetrate other computers.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Tue 30 Jun, 2009 05:29 pm
@Exebeche,
Exebeche,

increased number of calculations per second does not mean there has been an increase in complexity, right, it just means the line is getting bigger.

So why can't an increase in complexity be route to consciousness? Maybe complexity needs to get really abstract, is parallel processing enough?
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Tue 30 Jun, 2009 10:51 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401;73791 wrote:
Exebeche,

increased number of calculations per second does not mean there has been an increase in complexity, right, it just means the line is getting bigger.

So why can't an increase in complexity be route to consciousness? Maybe complexity needs to get really abstract, is parallel processing enough?


The quantum computer could do what our silicon based computers could never achieve. This monster if it is ever developed would be able solve or resolve equation in a minute that would take our binary computers a million years to do

It could take on exactly every attribute that makes us human, but with a thinking capacity of almost godlike proportions. This not science fiction!
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Tue 30 Jun, 2009 11:12 pm
@Alan McDougall,
I just want to remind everyone that God should not come into debates in the realm of the philosophy of science. God has no place in science. Something unobservable should not be used in discussions about a branch of knowledge that is about observation and experimentation.

This is a rather interesting topic, but please do not drag religion into the discussion because it doesn't belong. It will only ruin any momentum that may be gained in the thread.
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 02:19 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;73882 wrote:
I just want to remind everyone that God should not come into debates in the realm of the philosophy of science. God has no place in science. Something unobservable should not be used in discussions about a branch of knowledge that is about observation and experimentation.

This is a rather interesting topic, but please do not drag religion into the discussion because it doesn't belong. It will only ruin any momentum that may be gained in the thread.


My point has nothing to with religion, it was based on the very real possibility of humanity creating a computer with its own consciousness and unimaginably possessing powers. Like the great science fiction wrote Then we would have created a MONSTER in our own image.

"I HAVE REMOVED ALL TRACES OF GOD IN MY PREVIOUS POSTS THUS

CHANGED GOD TO EVOLUTION AND SOUL TO MIND"



Big brother if you don't like that possibility

Peace to you!
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 08:50 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;73874 wrote:
The quantum computer could do what our silicon based computers could never achieve. This monster if it is ever developed would be able solve or resolve equation in a minute that would take our binary computers a million years to do

It could take on exactly every attribute that makes us human, but with a thinking capacity of almost godlike proportions. This not science fiction!


... but how does running faster imply a sudden transition to human-level thinking? ... in my line of work there is a saying: "If you automate an error-prone process, you just get your errors faster." ... that is, speeding things up doesn't change anything but the speed at which they run ... here's a though experiment for ya: take the universe ... speed it up a bazilion-fold as if it were running on a quantum computer (hmmmm - thinking about it, maybe the universe already is a quantum computer - but let's not go there just yet Wink) ... okay, where were we? ... oh, yes - we've sped up the universe a bazilion-fold ... does the universe all of a sudden "take on exactly every attribute that makes us human, but with a thinking capacity of almost godlike proportions"? ... or is it the same universe, just running a bazillion-fold faster? ...
 
Exebeche
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 04:49 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;73874 wrote:
The quantum computers could do what our silicon based computers could never achieve. This monster if it is ever developed would be able solve or resolve equation in a minute that would take our binary computers a million years to do

It could take on exactly every attribute that makes us human, but with a thinking capacity of almost godlike proportions. This not science fiction!


Quantum Computers can solve mathematical problems that are out of reach for common computer, so far so good.
However the importance of the quantum computer is widely overestimated:

"The classic example of a practical use for quantum computing is in factoring very large numbers (finding which smaller numbers, when multiplied together, result in the large number). Factoring numbers with more than 512 bits is currently not achievable on a digital computer, even a massively parallel one. Interesting classes of problems amenable to quantum computing include breaking encryption codes (which rely on factoring large numbers).
[...] The ultimate role of quantum computers remains unresolved. But even if a computer with hundreds of entangled qubits proves feasible, it will remain a special-purpose device, although one with remarkable capabilities that cannot be emulated in any other way." (Ray Kurzweil, "The Singularity is near", Penguin Books 2006)

Particular architectures work for particular problems. The quantum computer is mostly referred to because of its extreme performance in solving particular problems. But it's not going to replace the common computer.
A revolutionary technology does not mean a total revolution of technology.
For example there is no reason to build computers that are completely based on neuronal networks. This would be complete nonsense.
Neuronal networks work for particular problems. But you really don't want to have to deal with a 'learning' operating system if you just want to write letters and surf the internet on your computer.
That's why common computers will also not be quantum computers. No need for it, except everybody needs to break encryption codes.
And if you build one monster-quantum-computer it's going to calculate monster-numbers, but it's not going to talk like humans do.

Holiday20310401;73791 wrote:
Exebeche,

increased number of calculations per second does not mean there has been an increase in complexity, right, it just means the line is getting bigger.

So why can't an increase in complexity be route to consciousness? Maybe complexity needs to get really abstract, is parallel processing enough?


Parallel processing is certainly a key feature.
According to Kurzweil's calculations a common computer's information processing capacity could reach the capacity of the human brain already in 2020.
First of all Kurzweil is what i call a crazy scientist.
His calculations however are based on very solid numbers.
Nonetheless you have to see that he draws a very clear line between the information processing capacity of a human brain and consciousness!
The information processing capacity of a human brain does not equal the functionality of a human brain.
If you look at the progress of 200MHz computers to 8000Mhz computers, there was an extreme increase in terms of speed. But if you compare the functionality it has not really added much.
The 200MHz computer was totally internet ready and the real difference is that when you open a web page nowadays it comes with a lot of animated commercials that take up most of your processor speed.
We can play games that look like real life, but has your computer really learned how to type what you speak? This feature is totally out of fashion because it's no use to anyone. It turned out to be so useless that no one really discusses it anymore.
Your office programs still do basically the same as 15 years ago.
Sure artificial intelligence will make significant progress in the next decades, but consciousness is something that takes a synthesis of neurology, psychology and philosophy (who knows, maybe even more?).
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 08:14 pm
@Exebeche,
The debate really is about our brains, does that strange entity we call the mind exist separate from the physical brain? If that is the case a computer will never have a mind it would remain a colossal calculator given us the illusion of intelligence

Present computers are in reality as intelligent as a door knob, they add in binary at the speed of light and very smart software programmers have manipulated this to give the impression of intelligent consciousness.


Cary Kasporov the grand master chess world champion has been consistently out played by supercomputer. I have played chess against an easy computer program and it nearly always defeated me. That is until found a weakness in its game, after that it fell into my trap time and time again, it could not learn from its mistakes. Of course I did not play against a supercomputer like Big Blue, but can Big Blue learn from its mistakes?


Consciousness defines our existence and reality, but the mechanism by which
The brain generates thoughts and feelings remain unknown.
"Most explanations portray the brain as a computer, with nerve cells ("neurons") and their synaptic connections acting as simple switches. However computation alone cannot explain why we have feelings and awareness, an "inner life."
 
 

 
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