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Jonathan Bartlett points out a key contradiction about “thinking robots” and “robot rights”

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Counting down to our #1 AI Hype story of the year at Mind Matters News, with Jonathan Bartlett picking the highlights — 2019 was a year for agitation for robot rights:

AI programs are just that—programs. Nothing in such a program could make it conscious. We may as well think that if we make sci-fi life-like enough, we should start worrying about Darth Vader really taking over the galaxy.

Robot rights ethicists don’t generally consider the contradiction involved in humans making intelligent and sentient non-human beings. If we were able to make intelligent and sentient AIs, wouldn’t that mean we would have to stop programming them? It would be unethical for me to force you to do my will, so wouldn’t the same thing be true with AIs? If AIs were really sentient beings, what would be the practical difference between programming an AI and brainwashing a human? In the real world, AI programs are just algorithms so there is no need to worry.

Jonathan Bartlett, “2019 AI Hype Countdown #7: “Robot rights” grabs the mike” at Mind Matters News

Check out the other AI hype of the year stories so far:

Counting back: 2019 AI Hype Countdown

8: Media started doing their job! Yes, this year, there has been a reassuring trend: Media are offering more critical assessment of off-the-wall AI hype. One factor in the growing sobriety may be that, as AI technology transitions from dreams to reality, the future belongs to leaders who are pragmatic about its abilities and limitations.

9: Hype fought the law and… Autonomy had real software but the hype around Big Data had discouraged Hewlett Packard from taking a closer look. Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain was sentenced this year to a five year prison term and a ten million dollar fine because he was held “ultimately responsible for Autonomy’s revenues having been overinflated by $193m between 2009 and the first half of fiscal 2011.”

10: Sophia the Robot Still Gives “Interviews” In other news, few popular media ask critical questions. As a humanoid robot, Sophia certainly represents some impressive engineering. It is sad that the engineering fronts ridiculous claims about the state of AI, using partially scripted interactions as if they were real communication.

and

Top Ten AI hypes of 2018



9 Replies to “Jonathan Bartlett points out a key contradiction about “thinking robots” and “robot rights”

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    “Before we create an AI with humanlike sophistication deserving humanlike ethical consideration, we will very likely create an AI with less-than-human sophistication, deserving some less-than-human ethical consideration.”
    – JOHN BASL & ERIC SCHWITZGEBEL, “ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SHOULD GET THE SAME ETHICAL PROTECTIONS AS ANIMALS”

    Ethical consideration for AI ???? How quaint! The shoe is squarely on the other foot, as Nick Bostrom., Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates have pointed out, we should be very concerned with what ‘ethical consideration’ our hypothetical future AI overlords decide to treat us!

    I, For One, Welcome Our A.I. Overlords
    Excerpt: Possibly the most outspoken and respected of the techno-armageddonists is the Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom. One thing Bostrom and others fear is runaway self-improving technology; that is, a machine that is smart enough to make itself (or new versions of itself) smarter without human intervention. If it reaches a point where it surpasses human intelligence, it’s only a very short matter of time before the law of accelerating returns kicks into overdrive and the exponential curve shoots straight up and we won’t be able to stop it. Bostrom makes a good point here: creating something that is smarter than you could be an evolutionary disaster for your species.
    We run a very real risk of not being able to control an entity that is orders of magnitude more intelligent than us. Perhaps if computers get smart enough, they’ll figure out a way to domesticate us a lot like humans domesticated horses to do labor like pull plows and buggies and war chariots (or whatever the hell horses did back then). The scary part is that this might be the best scenario for us — doing work for machines that they can’t do or don’t want to do — because just as humans created new technology to replace the horse, a super intelligent self-improving machine would eventually come up with new technology to replace us. And, well, let’s just say the horse population isn’t what it used to be.
    https://highexistence.com/our-ai-overlords/

    STEPHEN HAWKING AI WARNING: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE COULD DESTROY CIVILIZATION
    BY HANNAH OSBORNE ON 11/7/17
    Excerpt: “I fear that AI may replace humans altogether,” he told the magazine. “If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans.”
    https://www.newsweek.com/stephen-hawking-artificial-intelligence-warning-destroy-civilization-703630

    AI takeover
    Excerpt: Some public figures, such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, have advocated research into precautionary measures to ensure future superintelligent machines remain under human control.[1]
    – per wikipedia

    Bill Gates joins Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking in saying artificial intelligence is scary
    By Sonali Kohli – January 29, 2015
    Excerpt: I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.
    https://qz.com/335768/bill-gates-joins-elon-musk-and-stephen-hawking-in-saying-artificial-intelligence-is-scary/

    As to this comment from the first article,

    “Bostrom makes a good point here: creating something that is smarter than you could be an evolutionary disaster for your species.”

    Exactly at least Bostrom is being consistent in his reductive materialistic philosophy. If Darwinian materialism were actually true then it would be an “evolutionary disaster for your species.”,

    In other words, In a world of atheistic materialism where morality, (and God), is merely an illusion, why should AI even care about us? Certainly AI will become smart enough to ditch our primitive moral superstitions and our primitive belief in God, and realize that, “there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

    “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    – Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

    Needless to say, the atheist’s materialistic universe of “pitiless indifference” could care less about “ethical considerations” for AI, much less “ethical considerations” for humans.

    Fortunately, the imminent demise of humanity at the hands of some psychopathic AI overlord, much like the death of Mark Twain, has been greatly exaggerated. Although computers in general and AI in particular, are very good at searching and organizing information (much, much, better than humans in many instances), computers in general and AI in particular will NEVER create immaterial information. It takes an immaterial mind to create immaterial information. PERIOD!

    Don’t Raise the White Flag to Our AI Overlords Just Yet – January 22, 2018
    ,,, computer engineer Robert Marks, co-author of Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics, considers the apocalyptic danger portrayed in The Terminator movies and discussed in all seriousness by some prominent scientists and technologists—the threat of artificial intelligence one day taking over the world. Yes, computing power doubles every couple of years or so, but Dr. Marks insists that a qualitative gulf separates humans from computers, a difference that no amount of computing power can ever overcome.,,
    https://www.discovery.org/multimedia/audio/2018/01/dont-raise-the-white-flag-to-our-ai-overlords-just-yet/

    Robert Marks: Some Things Computers Will Never Do: Nonalgorithmic Creativity and Unknowability – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm0s7ag3SEc

    The Turing Test Is Dead. Long Live the Lovelace Test.
    Robert J. Marks II – July 3, 2014
    Excerpt: Here are a few others statements expressing doubt about the computer’s ability to create Strong AI.
    “…no operation performed by a computer can create new information.”
    Douglas G. Robertson
    “The [computing] machine does not create any new information, but it performs a very valuable transformation of known information.”
    Leon Brillouin
    “Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine.”
    – Kurt Godel
    and, of course, my favorite:7
    “Computers are no more able to create information than iPods are capable of creating music.”
    – Robert J. Marks II
    The limitations invoked by the law of conservation of information in computer programming have been a fundamental topic of investigation by Winston Ewert, William Dembski and me at the Evolutionary Informatics Lab. We have successfully and repeatedly debunked claims that computer programs simulating evolution are capable of generating information any greater than that intended by the programmer.8,9,10,11,12,13
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/07/the_turing_test_1/

    The Human Skills AI Can’t Replace – September 25, 2019
    written by William J. Littlefield II
    Excerpt: the history of AI can be broadly periodized based on which form of logical inference computer programs utilize: inductive or deductive.,,,
    For the foreseeable future, man will (via abductive reasoning) innovate, machine will toil, and The Terminator will remain science fiction.
    – William J. Littlefield II is a philosopher and professional software engineer.
    https://quillette.com/2019/09/25/the-human-skills-ai-cant-replace/

    Immaterial information, much like the immaterial mind, (due to its ontological status of being, well, ‘immaterial’), simply is not reducible to materialistic explanations as is presupposed in Darwinian materialism in general and as is presupposed in Atheistic materialism in particular:

    “One of the things I do in my classes, to get this idea across to students, is I hold up two computer disks. One is loaded with software, and the other one is blank. And I ask them, ‘what is the difference in mass between these two computer disks, as a result of the difference in the information content that they posses’? And of course the answer is, ‘Zero! None! There is no difference as a result of the information. And that’s because information is a mass-less quantity. Now, if information is not a material entity, then how can any materialistic explanation account for its origin? How can any material cause explain it’s origin?
    And this is the real and fundamental problem that the presence of information in biology has posed. It creates a fundamental challenge to the materialistic, evolutionary scenarios because information is a different kind of entity that matter and energy cannot produce.
    In the nineteenth century we thought that there were two fundamental entities in science; matter, and energy. At the beginning of the twenty first century, we now recognize that there’s a third fundamental entity; and its ‘information’. It’s not reducible to matter. It’s not reducible to energy. But it’s still a very important thing that is real; we buy it, we sell it, we send it down wires.
    Now, what do we make of the fact, that information is present at the very root of all biological function? In biology, we have matter, we have energy, but we also have this third, very important entity; information. I think the biology of the information age, poses a fundamental challenge to any materialistic approach to the origin of life.”
    – Stephen Meyer – Intelligent design: Why can’t biological information originate through a materialistic process? – – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqiXNxyoof8
    -Dr. Stephen C. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin-of-life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences.

    “Evolutionary biologists have failed to realize that they work with two more or less incommensurable domains: that of information and that of matter… These two domains will never be brought together in any kind of the sense usually implied by the term ‘reductionism.’… Information doesn’t have mass or charge or length in millimeters. Likewise, matter doesn’t have bytes… This dearth of shared descriptors makes matter and information two separate domains of existence, which have to be discussed separately, in their own terms.”
    George Williams – Evolutionary Biologist – “A Package of Information”

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: Causation: The nature of causation is highly contested territory, and I will take a pragmatic view:
    Definition 1: Causal Effect If making a change in a quantity X results in a reliable demonstrable change in a quantity Y in a given context, then X has a causal effect on Y.
    Example: I press the key labelled “A” on my computer keyboard; the letter “A” appears on my computer screen.,,,
    Definition 2: Existence If Y is a physical entity made up of ordinary matter, and X is some kind of entity that has a demonstrable causal effect on Y as per Definition 1, then we must acknowledge that X also exists (even if it is not made up of such matter).
    This is clearly a sensible and testable criterion; in the example above, it leads to the conclusion that both the data and the relevant software exist. If we do not adopt this definition, we will have instances of uncaused changes in the world; I presume we wish to avoid that situation.,,,
    Excerpt: page 5: A:
    Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.
    Excerpt page 7:
    ,,, The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.
    http://fqxi.org/data/essay-con.....s_2012.pdf

    Moreover another obvious conclusion to be drawn from the fact that humans, via their immaterial minds, can create immaterial information, (and can reason about the immaterial Platonic realm of mathematics and logic), is proof that we must have a immaterial soul. As Charles Darwin’s contemporary, Alfred Russel Wallace himself stated, “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”

    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    Alfred Russel Wallace – 1910

    Verse

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

  2. 2
    Ed George says:

    If ID is correct then there is no rational reason why we couldn’t, in theory, design and make an AI that was conscious. I would think that this would be a core axiom of ID theory.

    Or, if you want to look at it from a different perspective, if there is/was a designer and we are one of its outcomes, then we are artificial intelligences.

  3. 3
    ET says:

    Ed George:

    If ID is correct then there is no rational reason why we couldn’t, in theory, design and make an AI that was conscious.

    That doesn’t follow.

    Or, if you want to look at it from a different perspective, if there is/was a designer and we are one of its outcomes, then we are artificial intelligences.

    Very good, Ed. First day of first grade, is it?

  4. 4
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EG

    If ID is correct then there is no rational reason why we couldn’t, in theory, design and make an AI that was conscious. I would think that this would be a core axiom of ID theory.

    To create anything from building blocks or from parts in a bottom-up process (which is how an artifact is created – thus artificially), the thing in question must be reducible to parts.
    If, however, consciousness (and life itself) is not reducible to building blocks or parts, then there is no way, even in theory, to artificially create consciousness.

    Thus far, we do not see any evidence that consciousness is anything than a unified whole. There is no evidence that consciousness is a composition of various parts.
    If so, then there cannot be “artificial consciousness”.
    This is an argument against evolution. Human rationality and consciousness (the human soul) is not reducible to parts which come together in a composite.
    Evolution will never find an origin for this. It cannot emerge gradually bit-by-bit from mutations.

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    If you want to see the true Measure Of A Man watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

    — JK Rowling

  6. 6
    ET says:

    LoL! @ Seversky- It seems that humans abort their inferiors. What does that say about us?

  7. 7
    Ed George says:

    if we build a robot that behaves indistinguishably from humans based on every test available to us, would we grant it rights? Or would we insist that it is property? I think I have read this book before.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Ed

    if we build a robot that behaves indistinguishably from humans based on every test available to us, would we grant it rights?

    We would have to get there first, duh. But perhaps we would grant it the same rights as the unborn.

  9. 9
    jstanley01 says:

    When Robot War I starts, the next Alfred Nobel will invent EMP artillery shells, mortar shells, and hand grenades. At this point, it’s humankind’s only hope…

    New Robot Makes Soldiers Obsolete (Bosstown Dynamics)

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