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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Willy K: on 3/22/17 at 8:50am UTC, wrote Dear Searle The initial discussion with the pre Socratic philosophers was...

Rick Searle: on 3/16/17 at 21:46pm UTC, wrote Hello Laurence, I am honored to have you read my reflections at the IEET...

Laurence Hitterdale: on 3/15/17 at 4:34am UTC, wrote Dear Rick, I think it was the 2014 contest when I first read an essay of...

Peter Jackson: on 3/14/17 at 17:12pm UTC, wrote Rick, Great essay in all respects, and better for not inviting Aristotle...

James Hoover: on 3/14/17 at 16:48pm UTC, wrote Rick, Interesting way to tie the ancient with the modern. You do a...

Vladimir Fedorov: on 3/14/17 at 12:17pm UTC, wrote Dear Rick, A great story about determinism, which I highly estimate. I...

Rick Searle: on 3/7/17 at 21:54pm UTC, wrote Hello Satyavarapu, No, I certainly wasn't trying to imply that science is...

Rick Searle: on 3/7/17 at 21:47pm UTC, wrote Hi Cristi, I really liked your story. Quentin is like a human...


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FQXi FORUM
March 23, 2017

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: From Athena to AI: the past and future of intention in nature by Rick Searle [refresh]
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This essay's rating: Community = 4.5; Public = 5.0


Author Rick Searle wrote on Mar. 1, 2017 @ 20:07 GMT
Essay Abstract

This essay attempts to link the pre-Socratic philosophers who created science with current work in bio-physics and cognitive science to answer the question of how goals and intentions can arise from mindless matter and mathematical laws.

Author Bio

Rick Searle is a writer and educator who focuses on the ethical aspects of science and technology. He is a member of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology and an essayist in 2014 FQXi book "How should humanity steer the future?".

Download Essay PDF File




Andrew R. Scott wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 14:23 GMT
An interesting tale, although I am not quite sure where it took me.

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Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 17:34 GMT
Dear Rick Searle,

Please excuse me for I have no intention of disparaging in any way any part of your essay.

I merely wish to point out that “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate.

Only nature could produce a reality so simple, a single cell amoeba could deal with it.

The real Universe must consist only of one unified visible infinite physical surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

A more detailed explanation of natural reality can be found in my essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY. I do hope that you will read my essay and perhaps comment on its merit.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 04:29 GMT
Nice Godly Story Searle,

Your ideas and thinking are excellent, I hope you are not implying that present day science is also searching God and His philosophy ! Some parts of the story are nice like…..

1. As with your namesake fate what is... is... what is not... is not- but with this difference- no gods inspiring the lechery of Paris lie behind the destruction of Troy, nor even...

view entire post


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Author Rick Searle replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 21:54 GMT
Hello Satyavarapu,

No, I certainly wasn't trying to imply that science is searching for God or the gods.

I wasn't aware of the Dynamic Universe model until now and will certainly read you essay and try to learn more about it.

Best of luck,

Rick Searle




Cristinel Stoica wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 18:23 GMT
Dear Rick,

I liked your essay, both the fun and instructive story at the beginning, so well written, and the next parts. You made a clear picture, including philosophy, history, science, in a unitary construction.

Since I enjoyed your story, let me invite you to read a short story I wrote (not related to the contest).

Best wishes,

Cristi

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Author Rick Searle replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 21:47 GMT
Hi Cristi,

I really liked your story. Quentin is like a human Schrödinger's Cat.

It reminded me of Asimov's short story, Nightfall, or the science-fiction of Rudy Rucker.

Thanks for sharing it.

Again, best of luck.

Rick




Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 12:17 GMT
Dear Rick,

A great story about determinism, which I highly estimate.

I share your aspiration to seek the truth

«Something like structure and organized behavior flows almost inevitably from physics itself.»

«What sets complex adaptive systems apart from other types of systems is their ability to respond to not just external cues from its environment, but to signals emanating from the system itself.»


In my opinion, such elementary an adaptive system is classical parametric resonance in the form of a soliton wave.

Perhaps my essay will complement your understanding of the determinism and causes of physical processes.

Your essay allowed to consider us like-minded people.

Kind regards,

Vladimir

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 16:48 GMT
Rick,

Interesting way to tie the ancient with the modern. You do a credible job of showing the agenda-driven AI endeavors as our modern gods.

Jim Hoover

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Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 14, 2017 @ 17:12 GMT
Rick,

Great essay in all respects, and better for not inviting Aristotle or Plato to tread old ground. Our essays use orthogonal views and interactions with Mount Olympus but (I think!) agree on every single point.

It did seem old Pythagorus was in need of another dimension (=3) and dynamic interactions. I apply his theorem in such a way and shockingly a classical derivation of QM emerged from his cosines. I jest not! Do read and comment You may recall from previous finalist essays the same discrete field mechanism (DFM) of re-emissions at local 'c' allows unification with relativity in QM's 'absolute' time.

I also entirely agree "...if society continues to fail to educate citizens in how artificially intelligent systems work, or fails to empower them with the ability to influence their programming,..." then our short evolution may be ended. I go on to identify why and how our method of thinking must evolve to allow advancement. I hope you'll read and comment. I think no genuine new science can emerge while cognitive dissonance keeps us locked in the dungeons of ancient thinking. Come to think of it, wasn't Pythagoras killed by a mindless Roman soldier for dissent?

Well done, and thanks for the powerfully fresh historic multiparable.

Peter

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Laurence Hitterdale wrote on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 04:34 GMT
Dear Rick,

I think it was the 2014 contest when I first read an essay of yours. I like your essay this year, as I did the previous two which I read. I must also say that I read your reflections at the IEET Web site. I rarely comment because of time constraints, but I do read what you have to say. I agree with much of it, and always find it worthwhile. I hope that in the future I will be able to respond more often.

Thanks for your comments on my essay. I will reply to them on the Web page for that essay.

A number of points in your essay are worthy of comment. I am especially interested in your answer to the question which you ask in your concluding section. “Are we actually free?” I think you are saying that at this moment in history to some extent we are. You seem to be cautiously optimistic that such freedom as we possess, if used wisely, can last for a long time (at least by normal human standards of duration) and can become effective over a wider range of human activities. I wonder whether the growth and expansion of freedom is more likely, or less likely, than the diminishment of freedom and its eventual extinguishment. But then, in the last sentence of the essay, you suggest that in the long run the forces of nature are adverse to the enterprise of enlightenment and freedom. If that is so, then perhaps the appropriate human outlook on the future is to take a view which is long but not too long. The view ought to be long enough to lift us from the problems of daily living but not so long as to bring into the picture the inevitable or almost inevitable unhappy ending.

This may or may not be what you had in mind, but it is what occurs to me as I reflect on the text. The issues you raise are important and challenging.

Best wishes.

Laurence Hitterdale

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Author Rick Searle replied on Mar. 16, 2017 @ 21:46 GMT
Hello Laurence,

I am honored to have you read my reflections at the IEET and glad you find them worth reflection.

You picked up on an element I hadn't given much space in my essay when:

"I wonder whether the growth and expansion of freedom is more likely, or less likely, than the diminishment of freedom and its eventual extinguishment. "

In my view, the two potentials march in parallel- every increase in our capacity for freedom is an increase in our capacity for oppression, though I am hopeful freedom will better define us.

I suppose the essay's ending reflects the general mood as much as anything and I largely agree with you and John Maynard Keynes that:

"The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead."

We all must do what good we can even if we know the Second Law, if not our own stupidity will ultimately unravel everything.

All the best,

Rick




Willy K wrote on Mar. 22, 2017 @ 08:50 GMT
Dear Searle

The initial discussion with the pre Socratic philosophers was delightful. I have written similar essays a few years ago and so found your essay to be rather engaging. I rate your essay pretty highly.

I tend to agree with Dennett’s view that freedom must have co-evolved with our brain’s ability to decide between aims and intentions. You go on to state, “Until the forms of artificial intelligence we create can likewise reason about their decisions and leverage their internal states (their equivalents of imagination and emotion) they will remain mere tools”. It is not clear whether this is Dennett’s own view or your own interpretation of his work.

My own work suggests that artificial intelligence will always remain a tool, even after they acquire intelligence that is recognizably equivalent or perhaps even superior to that of humans. This is because acceptance into human society does not hinge on intelligence, but rather on the ability to avoiding harm to fellow humans. The ‘internal states’ that you referred to in artificial intelligences will be different from the internal states of humans, in that, since they are embedded in a non-biological substrate they cannot internalize all the biological vulnerabilities present in the biological world.

Warm regards

Willy

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