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    •  
      CommentAuthorLuke
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2007
     (44.21)
    The claims of the Mind Brain institute that they'll have a fully modeled human brain within a decade are far-fetched. What they've already done is astounding, simulating the entire neocortical column of a rat electronically. They shouldn't have to make megaclaims on top of that to get attention but unfortunately they do.

    The main problem is that their method isn't scalable to humans. Where there were holes in the recorded data they needed they just went out and hacked rat brains apart to get the information they needed. Unless a few million people suddenly get extremely selfless about neurological research and every human rights organisation in the world agrees to close their eyes for a few years, the same method isn't going to work for us.

    On the upside at least they understand computer technology - they admit that current hardware has no hope of being good enough for their plans, but point out that since their plans extend to 2015 it isn't current hardware they'll be using.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSara 013
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2007
     (44.22)
    (Willow)
    When will the people building these things realize the way we are constructed is not the best way? Humans are inefficient.
    Almost everything is inefficient: humans, animals, and machines probably most of all.
    The human body, while it can be fragile and inefficient, is a remarkable thing that shouldn't be so easily dismissed because of that.
    We are trying to mimic something that may not be best. Just because something isn't exactly Artificial (Human) Intelligence doesn't make it unintelligent, just unlike us.
    They are trying to mimic something they understand and can relate to.
    Trying to create a "perfect" working artificial model of something one has not even yet conceived of may prove... tricky; consider the human form a starting point.

    And by the way, non-human artificial intelligence is worked on all the time.
    (Vanessa! Where are you and your army of Artificial Neural Networks?)
    I imagine the human form robots just get more media attention because they're novel and easier for the layperson to understand.
    Are we trying to create non-biological clones or new lifeforms?
    We create non-biological clones every day. They're called objects. Or were you referring to something else...?
    •  
      CommentAuthorturing
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2007
     (44.23)
    I think the main difficulty with AI is that the problem you're trying to solve is very ill-defined. Create an intelligent consciousness -- what does that actually mean? Where do you even begin? What the hell is "consciousness", really? What is thinking? We can build machines that are very good at processing data in all sorts of inventive ways, but is that the same as thinking? By what standard do we even decide what counts as thinking? How do you know when you've created something that's intelligent? (The Turing test is pretty vague, and in any case only tests how much like human intelligence something is.)

    I'm skeptical of anything claiming that a problem that's not even properly defined is imminently solvable.

    That said, the Digital Brain project sounds amazing. There's all sorts of amazing things you could do with that. Think of the possibilities for testing new drugs, if you can simulate the interactions of neurotransmitters accurately.

    (If nothing else, it will make lots of pretty pictures that Tool can use for album covers.)
    •  
      CommentAuthorLuke
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2007
     (44.24)
    The Blue Brain project to simulate a brain isn't about creating AI - it's about better understanding the existing model to help find ways to fix it when it breaks (as turing says)

    Which will make it all the funner when they discover that if you create a working reproduction of a pattern that creates consciousness, you might just have created consciousness. Or when someone points it out to them - if it's the machine itself it'll be a pretty fun conversation.
  1.  (44.25)
    Sara - I agree wholeheartedly that it's a good starting point. It's what we know best. But I also don't think we should stress about replicating the human brain exactly.
    I was referring to human clones. Apologies - I'm not the best at writing - gesticulations are difficult to convey in text, and I often get too excited for even my fingers to keep up. Words disappear left and right. I assume they're hiding with my single socks and favorite pens. Plotting. Under the sink.

    Turing - Yes! Can anyone here even define what makes us conscious and/or sentient? What the hell are we looking for?
    (perhaps by replicating it we'll be able to answer that question..)
    •  
      CommentAuthorJaredRules
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2007
     (44.26)
    Woah Luke, that's an interesting point. If you create an accurate working model of the human brain, isn't it conceivable that conciousness would be running within that model?
    •  
      CommentAuthorturing
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2007
     (44.27)
    It does raise the question of whose brain it is you're modeling.
  2.  (44.28)
    A friend of mine (-topher in VA) had an interesting idea about how the pathways that formed in your brain were what determined your "soul" (or consciousness/sentience)

    Some synapses are strengthened through use, though initially formed by a sort of random choice of paths. One of the reasons it's encouraged to take new routes to work, do crossword puzzles, just explore your world in new ways, is that it builds multiple pathways to the same point. If that makes sense.
    So theoretically even if people with the same genes go through the same experiences, due to the random factor, the "soul" is different (individual) for each person.

    I don't know enough about neuroscience (or nanotechnology) to know if this is even remotely possible. Just thought I'd throw it in there as a bit extra.
  3.  (44.29)
    Yeah, Vanessa's travelling laptopless right now. I'll ping her when she gets home, I think...
    •  
      CommentAuthorlamuella
    • CommentTimeNov 30th 2007
     (44.30)
    I won't be impressed until we make the robot cry.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFerburton
    • CommentTimeNov 30th 2007
     (44.31)
    leaking oil down their shiney robot faces.
    • CommentAuthorDRomigh
    • CommentTimeDec 1st 2007
     (44.32)
    "Good news, everyone! I've made the toaster feel emotions!"
    • CommentAuthorlex
    • CommentTimeDec 2nd 2007
     (44.33)
    I am not afraid of machines becoming as intelligent as humans, I am afraid of them becoming as stupid as humans.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBarkos
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
     (44.34)
    The scary part could be when these newly sentient machines start to refine their intelligence. Improve upon themselves. We as humans for the most part have not yet tapped into our potentials of our own brains, imagine what A.I.might perfect in the area of "psi"? A stretch, I know, from the previous debate but something to think about. Or fear. One of the two.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJaredRules
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
     (44.35)
    Psi as in like "mental powers?" Wouldn't that just be wireless networking? :-)
    •  
      CommentAuthorhyim
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
     (44.36)
    We as humans for the most part have not yet tapped into our potentials of our own brains


    It was always my understanding our brains and bodies didn't much evolve -if not not at all- since we branched out into sapiens sapiens, and that the running joke nowadays was trying to understand the nature of the universe with an organ suited for yelling at each other from tree branches.
    •  
      CommentAuthormuse hick
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
     (44.37)
    i wonder if they could use their research to help politicians and nra members?
    •  
      CommentAuthortonymoore
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
     (44.38)
    now we must see them driven before us and hear the lament of their robot women.

    it's them or us.

    -T
    •  
      CommentAuthorBarkos
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
     (44.39)
    Psi as in like "mental powers?" Wouldn't that just be wireless networking? :-)

    Good point Jared.
    •  
      CommentAuthorV
    • CommentTimeDec 18th 2007
     (44.40)
    @Sara Hello darling. How are you? I was away in London when the forum started and I'm just seeing this now. You are totally right, by the way, that human-looking robots get all the fucking love dammit! Maybe I'll have to start a thread for robots that don't resemble mammals. Like the beloved geckobots. So clever with their wall climbing! How I love them.

    @Warren Thanks for thinking of me, sir. You know I could always use a prod to try talking science with actual humans. If I actually practice I may yet learn how to communicate. I hope. Sadly, I'm not sure I have much to say that isn't already mentioned in this thread, but perhaps I'll try elaborating some (I hilariously say it like I might be able to resist inflicting my babble) and see where it gets me.

    First of all, keep in mind that the company making the dental pain robot is Kokoro. They are a robotics and animatronics company. To the best of my knowledge they don't do AI work (though I could be wrong).

    Either way, Simroid is not much of an example of AI. You largely just have an automated response that plays when you press a button hard enough. It isn't really experiencing pain. There will be none of the adjustments or changes that come with our pain experiences (e.g. we become sensitized and desensitized to things so our perception of pain changes etc). If I will myself not to flinch in response to a pain stimulus, my lack of observable reaction does not mean it didn't hurt. Similarly, in the opposite direction, a robot that produces responses we read in humans as reactions to pain does not need to be actually feeling pain itself. It's just producing the conventional reactions in a preprogrammed way. I myself can play at flinching and saying ouch while not actually hurting at all (and only a minority of people believe me to be a robot).

    Don't get me wrong; I'm not slagging Kokoro. I think they do some really interesting work in their area of speciality. They create products with nice fluid motion abilities and that's a really impressive thing to do. They build structures and casings/skins that mimic familiar animal forms quite well. It's just that they aren't really doing anything on the Artificial Intelligence front, nor do they appear to be claiming to.

    .... part two in a moment ....