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If a machine or 'synthetic' entity could think would you call it a person?

Yes. (Cognito Ergo Sum)
- 12 (37.5%)
No. (You gotta be a carbon based life form to join our club)
- 13 (40.6%)
Maybe, depends. (Please explain)
- 7 (21.9%)

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markuzick

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2007, 06:41:07 PM »

Quote
If it passes a Turing test that I administer...
That's gonna be really really hard. But I'd consider it human if it had

Can it be proven that thinking requires consciousness? ( I don't know )

If it's programed to have "emotions and consciousness and morality and shit..." once it passes the Turing test, are there any ways to know if it is really experiencing consciousness as we do, or if it's only an extremely good simulation.( I don't know and I'm skeptical too )

If it's only programed to think and given no information about emotions and moods, but somehow spontaneously develops them, then I would be inclined to consider it to be a sentient being and possibly a person.
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voodoo

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2007, 06:41:32 PM »

So, is an extremely retarded homo sapien a person?

Yes.

Move to strike - non-responsive.

Oh, wait, I asked a leading question.  Nevermind.

The point is, my dog and I play hide and seek every night.  I hide, she seeks.  She invariably finds me through a process of elimination identical to that of a child.  How is that process of elimination instinctual and not rational?  And, if your definition of a person is "self guided and rational" how does an extremely retarded person fit that description?
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Jason Orr

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2007, 08:19:28 PM »

I see lots of people who don't think, but I still call them persons.  It depends on how you define thought.
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ladyattis

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2007, 08:42:47 PM »

The point is, my dog and I play hide and seek every night.  I hide, she seeks.  She invariably finds me through a process of elimination identical to that of a child.  How is that process of elimination instinctual and not rational?  And, if your definition of a person is "self guided and rational" how does an extremely retarded person fit that description?

Yet it's actually instinct in their response. A dog can't conceive, it can only perceive. That's why you don't see dogs making rockets, GM foods, and dildos. Basically, humans and few other animals can carry the title rational animal (most of the primates, african gray parrot, and possibly dolphins).

-- Bridget
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voodoo

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2007, 08:45:50 PM »

Pining for the fjords is rationalization?   :lol:

How is a process of elimination not rational?  How is an extremely retarded person rational when they also don't make rockets, GM foods, or dildos?
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ladyattis

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2007, 08:49:05 PM »

How is a process of elimination not rational?
Because a computer can do it without thinking. We call it binary or sequential search in abstract data types and algorithms class.
Quote
How is an extremely retarded person rational when they also don't make rockets, GM foods, or dildos?
Because many retarded persons will reference themselves, what belongs to them, and what they really feel, even if it's very basic. The same for toddlers and such. Dogs don't have a sense of self in that if you put a dog in front of a mirror it will not recognize its own image as its own.

-- Bridget
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voodoo

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2007, 09:09:09 PM »

How is a process of elimination not rational?
Because a computer can do it without thinking. We call it binary or sequential search in abstract data types and algorithms class.

Quote
How is an extremely retarded person rational when they also don't make rockets, GM foods, or dildos?
Because many retarded persons will reference themselves, what belongs to them, and what they really feel, even if it's very basic. The same for toddlers and such. Dogs don't have a sense of self in that if you put a dog in front of a mirror it will not recognize its own image as its own.

-- Bridget

Has there been a study that shows that over a long term the dog never learns that it is the dog in the mirror?  Can a dog even see itself in a mirror?  Is recognizing oneself in a mirror the test of rational behavior?  Because my dog, beyond a doubt, expresses her feelings and is protective of her stuff (and my stuff), if that's the test.

How does your definition, then, fit a blind toddler?  Or, a healthy fetus?
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Mike Barskey

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2007, 09:41:00 PM »

I'd have no problem calling a thinking machine or "synthetic" entity "intelligent," "sentient," "rational," "self-aware," etc., as well as whatever term is created to identify this new type of being (like "homo-sapien" or "human" or "person" define us). But it is not a "person," which word's etymology includes the parital definition of "being a human being." Common use of the word "person" also implies human being.

- Mike

(what is the proper grammar there: "But it's not a 'person,' which word's..." - is "which word's" correct?)

ladyattis

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2007, 10:24:10 PM »

Mike, not according to logic if you include that rationality is the fundamental portion of the definition of person. That implies the Set of Person includes non-humans.

Lemme give you a different angle. A biological life form from another planet comes to Earth and greets you. Maybe his name is analogous to the name Bill or whatever, but s/he/it greets you. And it says it wants to talk to you. Maybe sports, maybe the secret to life or whatever, but it wants to talk to you. Are you saying the alien from another world is not a person, thus is not allowed to be treated as an equal in turn as the term person also implies sameness, thus equalness insomuch of equal consideration or equal access to what we call rights. So, if you don't consider it a person, it implies it is not equal to you [maybe it's greater than you, who knows in this definitional argument...] and that might imply it has no access to rights.

Do you understand why this is a problem? Consider it a reverse 'slippery slope', but in this case the slippery slope is legitimate. If you can a rational agent a non-person just because of its compositional status, then it implies the other two things I stated, which could also be applied to any other human that is different to a greater or lesser extent. Think of the idea that women have no rights because they can't create sperm or have superior upper body strength. That mildly or severely retarded humans are not persons because their reasoning is not exactly like our own, thus not open to equal access to rights, moral consideration, and etc. I could go on and on, but I think I made my point. :)

-- Bridget
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Mike Barskey

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2007, 10:45:25 PM »

Mike, not according to logic if you include that rationality is the fundamental portion of the definition of person. That implies the Set of Person includes non-humans.

Lemme give you a different angle. A biological life form from another planet comes to Earth and greets you. Maybe his name is analogous to the name Bill or whatever, but s/he/it greets you. And it says it wants to talk to you. Maybe sports, maybe the secret to life or whatever, but it wants to talk to you. Are you saying the alien from another world is not a person, thus is not allowed to be treated as an equal in turn as the term person also implies sameness, thus equalness insomuch of equal consideration or equal access to what we call rights. So, if you don't consider it a person, it implies it is not equal to you [maybe it's greater than you, who knows in this definitional argument...] and that might imply it has no access to rights.

Do you understand why this is a problem? Consider it a reverse 'slippery slope', but in this case the slippery slope is legitimate. If you can a rational agent a non-person just because of its compositional status, then it implies the other two things I stated, which could also be applied to any other human that is different to a greater or lesser extent. Think of the idea that women have no rights because they can't create sperm or have superior upper body strength. That mildly or severely retarded humans are not persons because their reasoning is not exactly like our own, thus not open to equal access to rights, moral consideration, and etc. I could go on and on, but I think I made my point. :)

-- Bridget

Bridget, I understand and agree with your first point about fundamental properties being a mandatory part of a defniition. In fact I agree with most of what you just said, but I simply think the word "person" in the English language is not appropriate for a robot or an alien or any non-human, regardless of their intelligence (of course, language evolves and should we discover such intelligent beings and people commonly refer to them as "people" then the term itself would change). However, I disagree with what you said regarding equality: "So, if you don't consider it a person, it implies it is not equal to you." That's not correct: Just because I consider something as a "non-person" does not mean that I consider it equal or inequal to me (or to other "persons"), it just means I consider it different.

Regarding rights and equality of this other intelligent type of being: should we discover or encounter this being, our ideas of rights and equality  will need reviewing. Some people won't think at all and their prejudices are irrelevant. Others, like me and probably you, will use logic to categorize and abstract the fundamental properties of humans and of this robot/alien, and we'd possibly end up determining that all rational beings are morally equal. Men and women are physically different to a slight degree, and morally we are equal. Humans and dogs are physically different and are not morally equal due to dogs' lack of rationality.

In other words, I completely agree that this being might be equal, moral, intelligent, social, etc., but I would not use the word "person."

- Mike
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 12:42:30 AM by Mike Barskey »
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ladyattis

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2007, 11:33:32 PM »

Bridget, I understand and agree with your first point about fundamental properties being a mandatory part of a defniition. In fact I agree with most of what you just said, but I simply think the word "person" in the English language is not appropriate for a robot or an alien or any non-human, regardless of their intelligence (of course, language evolves and should we discover such intelligent beings and people commonly refer to them as "people" then the term itself would change). However, I disagree with what you said regarding equality: "So, if you don't consider it a person, it implies it is not equal to you." That's not correct: Just because I consider something as a "non-person" does not mean that I consider it equal or inequal to me (or to other "persons"), it just means I consider it different.
Yet you have not qualified why the definition should follow as you imply because remember, a non-person according to law has no rights. According to all ethical theories a non-person has no moral considerations nor obligations. And so forth. I think the fact that you dwell on what a dictionary says instead of what a logician or a philosopher says proves my point. Words are not static, they evolve. Women use to be considered non-persons not only in law, but also in philosophical theory until other people recognized this division, this claim to difference to be a farce. I call what you say to be difference a farce as well, nothing personal on your part, but it is what it is in that regard. To make a special category for humanness apart from non-humanness by calling us people and others non-people is not only erroneous in the construct of personhood, it is also erroneous in the nature of all rational agents. A rational agent in philosophy is a person, period and end of story and for the reasons I've stated. From the Utilitarians to the Objectivists, this is a universally agreed upon definition, you seem to be the only one in the whole world of philosophical giants, of scientific paragons that holds out. You need to substantiate why, beyond the dictionary.


-- Bridget
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Mike Barskey

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2007, 12:02:49 AM »

Bridget, I understand and agree with your first point about fundamental properties being a mandatory part of a defniition. In fact I agree with most of what you just said, but I simply think the word "person" in the English language is not appropriate for a robot or an alien or any non-human, regardless of their intelligence (of course, language evolves and should we discover such intelligent beings and people commonly refer to them as "people" then the term itself would change). However, I disagree with what you said regarding equality: "So, if you don't consider it a person, it implies it is not equal to you." That's not correct: Just because I consider something as a "non-person" does not mean that I consider it equal or inequal to me (or to other "persons"), it just means I consider it different.
Yet you have not qualified why the definition should follow as you imply because remember, a non-person according to law has no rights. According to all ethical theories a non-person has no moral considerations nor obligations. And so forth. I think the fact that you dwell on what a dictionary says instead of what a logician or a philosopher says proves my point. Words are not static, they evolve. Women use to be considered non-persons not only in law, but also in philosophical theory until other people recognized this division, this claim to difference to be a farce. I call what you say to be difference a farce as well, nothing personal on your part, but it is what it is in that regard. To make a special category for humanness apart from non-humanness by calling us people and others non-people is not only erroneous in the construct of personhood, it is also erroneous in the nature of all rational agents. A rational agent in philosophy is a person, period and end of story and for the reasons I've stated. From the Utilitarians to the Objectivists, this is a universally agreed upon definition, you seem to be the only one in the whole world of philosophical giants, of scientific paragons that holds out. You need to substantiate why, beyond the dictionary.


-- Bridget

I think we're saying the same thing, but coming from different angles. I think you're saying that a foreign intelligent being, currently unknown to us, becomes a "person" once we determine that it is intelligent/rational. I am saying that once we determine the a foreign intelligent being is intelligent/rational, we need to create a new word to properly define the new being and humans as a group. Indeed we will have common traits - common fundamental traits, such as rationality and intelligence - but we also have differing traits such as our biology, our anatomy, our moral goals as living beings, our lifespans. We could logically be grouped and called "neopeeps," the definition of which might be "rational beings" (and "neopeeps" would consist of human "persons" and aliens), but I still contend that a "person" is defined as a "rational human being."

If we define something properly, integrating it with all of our other knowledge, appropriately identifying its essential characteristics (Rand's Conceptual Common Denominator), then when we gain more knowledge (e.g. learn of a new type of intelligent being) our previous definition is not incorrect (it does not cease to be correct in the context of our knowldge at the time, before we knew of intelligent aliens), it just needs to be refined to fit our new knowledge. In the example of women being considered "non-persons" legally until society evolved and realized they are "persons" and therefore are equal (legally in that case, not morally), the word "person" was appropriately applied to them, since "person" meant "human being" - it's just that before that time, society misused the word "person" to refer only to males (rather, the law did).

As for being the only one in the whole world of philosophical giants who is holding out, I'm not sure how to take this. As a compliment, since you're placing me with philosophical giants ( :D ) or as stupid for not conforming to a universally agreed upon definition (which isn't universally agreed upon since at least one person disagrees: me).

- Mike

ladyattis

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2007, 12:07:26 AM »

I think we're saying the same thing, but coming from different angles. I think you're saying that a foreign intelligent being, currently unknown to us, becomes a "person" once we determine that it is intelligent/rational. I am saying that once we determine the a foreign intelligent being is intelligent/rational, we need to create a new word to properly define the new being and humans as a group. Indeed we will have common traits - common fundamental traits, such as rationality and intelligence - but we also have differing traits such as our biology, our anatomy, our moral goals as living beings, our lifespans. We could logically be grouped and called "neopeeps," the definition of which might be "rational beings" (and "neopeeps" would consist of human "persons" and aliens), but I still contend that a "person" is defined as a "rational human being."
Yet that's not how it works. Person applies now to possible AI just as it now applies to female humans today due to rationality being the defining property of the definition of person. In fact, you could call rationality the 'return type' of person if you think of person as a function in programming terms.

Quote
If we define something properly, integrating it with all of our other knowledge, appropriately identifying its essential characteristics (Rand's Conceptual Common Denominator), then when we gain more knowledge (e.g. learn of a new type of intelligent being) our previous definition is not incorrect (it does not cease to be correct in the context of our knowldge at the time, before we knew of intelligent aliens), it just needs to be refined to fit our new knowledge. In the example of women being considered "non-persons" legally until society evolved and realized they are "persons" and therefore are equal (legally in that case, not morally), the word "person" was appropriately applied to them, since "person" meant "human being" - it's just that before that time, society misused the word "person" to refer only to males (rather, the law did).
Yet Rand never contended that non-human rational agents were not persons. In fact I believe even Peikoff acknowledges that if hypothetically space aliens were to come down to Earth he would call them persons as well because for any race to learn how to integrate knowledge to the level of traveling across spacetime automatically gets inducted. The same would follow for AI.


-- Bridget
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Mike Barskey

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2007, 12:22:41 AM »

Yet that's not how it works. Person applies now to possible AI just as it now applies to female humans today due to rationality being the defining property of the definition of person. In fact, you could call rationality the 'return type' of person if you think of person as a function in programming terms.

Why is it "not how it works?" Why does the word "person" include future knowledge, currently unknown "knowledge?" Once we discovered/encountered an intelligent alien, you're saying that we'd look at the current definition of "person" (which is "rational human being") and change it to accommodate our new knowledge ("rational being")? Why would we do this, since we already have knowledge/definitions that encompass this (while we don't know about intelligent aliens, we can theorize, as we're doing now): We have the words "rational," "human," and "alien" - and we have "person" ("a rational human"), so why wouldn't we create "alientelligent" ("a rational alien") and "neopeep" ("rational beings")? Actually, I may be questioning myself onto your side of the argument. Does it really make a difference which word we redefine to fit our new knowledge? We could redefine "person" to include aliens and humans, or we could create a new word "neopeep" to encompass both entities. Hmmm...

Yet Rand never contended that non-human rational agents were not persons. In fact I believe even Peikoff acknowledges that if hypothetically space aliens were to come down to Earth he would call them persons as well because for any race to learn how to integrate knowledge to the level of traveling across spacetime automatically gets inducted. The same would follow for AI.

Rand may not have contended that rational agents were not "persons," but I don't think she contended that all rational agents would be called "persons." I'd love to read about this if you can reference it. I vaguely remember a reference to intelligent aliens, but I don't remember Peikoff saying they'd be called humans. I want to find that. I'll go search my Objectivist Research CD, but it doesn't have every writing of course.

- Mike

Edit:
The only reference I can find in all Rand's fiction and most non-fiction, and in Peikoff's ITOE and OPAR to an alien is:
Quote
Analytic truths are necessary; no matter what region of space or what period of time one considers, such propositions must hold true. Indeed, they are said to be true not only throughout the universe which actually exists, but in "all possible worlds"—to use Leibniz's famous phrase. Since its denial is self-contradictory, the opposite of any analytic truth is unimaginable and inconceivable. A visitor from an alien planet might relate many unexpected marvels, but his claims would be rejected out-of-hand if he announced that, in his world, ice was a gas, man was a postage stamp, and 2 plus 2 equaled 7.3.

This has nothing to do with the definition of the word "person" or "alien." I hope you can find it for me!
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 12:40:11 AM by Mike Barskey »
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markuzick

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Re: Of Man and Machine...
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2007, 01:24:57 AM »

Yet that's not how it works. Person applies now to possible AI just as it now applies to female humans today due to rationality being the defining property of the definition of person. In fact, you could call rationality the 'return type' of person if you think of person as a function in programming terms.

Why is it "not how it works?" Why does the word "person" include future knowledge, currently unknown "knowledge?" Once we discovered/encountered an intelligent alien, you're saying that we'd look at the current definition of "person" (which is "rational human being") and change it to accommodate our new knowledge ("rational being")? Why would we do this, since we already have knowledge/definitions that encompass this (while we don't know about intelligent aliens, we can theorize, as we're doing now): We have the words "rational," "human," and "alien" - and we have "person" ("a rational human"), so why wouldn't we create "alientelligent" ("a rational alien") and "neopeep" ("rational beings")? Actually, I may be questioning myself onto your side of the argument. Does it really make a difference which word we redefine to fit our new knowledge? We could redefine "person" to include aliens and humans, or we could create a new word "neopeep" to encompass both entities. Hmmm...

Yet Rand never contended that non-human rational agents were not persons. In fact I believe even Peikoff acknowledges that if hypothetically space aliens were to come down to Earth he would call them persons as well because for any race to learn how to integrate knowledge to the level of traveling across spacetime automatically gets inducted. The same would follow for AI.

Rand may not have contended that rational agents were not "persons," but I don't think she contended that all rational agents would be called "persons." I'd love to read about this if you can reference it. I vaguely remember a reference to intelligent aliens, but I don't remember Peikoff saying they'd be called humans. I want to find that. I'll go search my Objectivist Research CD, but it doesn't have every writing of course.

- Mike


The dictionary may have different definitions for different common usages for a word, but to be intelligible, we must use a definition that is appropriate to the discussion at hand. In a natural rights oriented political forum on aliens and AI, the relevant and most useful definition of the word person, is not found in the dictionary yet. I believe it should be a blend of the philosophical definition-

4.   Philosophy. a self-conscious or rational being.

and part of the legal definition-

11.   Law. a human being (natural person) or a group of human beings, a corporation, a partnership, an estate, or other legal entity (artificial person or juristic person) recognized by law as having rights and duties.

which we can coin right here-

person- A sentient being, who has natural rights by grace of its potential ability and willingness to both comprehend and respect the equal natural rights of all other persons.

I admit that this is holding person-hood to a higher moral standard than what would normally be considered useful, but I think it works well for our purposes here.
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As the state feeds off of the limitation and destruction of legitimate government, anarchy is its essence.

To claim "economic rent" from someone Else's labor when applied to land, which is something no one can own outright, is in itself, to claim landlord status over raw nature. It is an attempt at coercive monopoly power that is at the root of statism.
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