[NetBehaviour] New developments - On Being/"exist.pl"

Pall Thayer pallthay at gmail.com
Fri Jul 25 13:34:47 CEST 2008

> We do not create the structure of our own brains, we receive their
> design via evolution (or from God, but either way we don't make them
> ourselves). But we eventually take credit for using them.
> The structure of a neural net isn't determined by the program itself
> either. *Legally* the program's conclusions would be yours, I think.
> But *philosophically* is there a reason other than the simplicity of
> the program that means credit for its discoveries should go to the
> author instead?
> AI programs are texts, they are scores. They are more like the writing
> games of the Oulipo or the Surrealists or the Beats than a simpler
> static text. If they produce "strange loops"
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_loop) then this could be at
> least an analogue to or metaphor for self-awareness.
> - Rob.
Points taken and sure, they could justify taking such a step in this 
project, which is purely conceptual and must therefore adhere to the 
original concept of creating "a computer program that performs an 
introspective metaphysical and ontological examination of its own 
existence and being".

I've always seen something wrong with the idea of "AI". It just sounds 
absurd to me that a machine can be made to become "intelligent" as we 
define it in regards to humans. Based on the limited reading I've done 
on the subject, some of the largest steps towards realizing AI have more 
or less involved redefining what "intelligence" is. So here's my 
proposal: The fundamental element of intelligence is an innate desire to 
be aware of one's existence and state of being. This is the basis of 
intelligence and without it nothing can emerge that can be called true 

Obviously, my program has no desire to be aware of its existence and 
state of being. That's why I have to tell it to do so and how to go 
about it. A computer program can be made to know certain things and even 
to make logical deductions based on that knowledge but that's not 
synonymous with intelligence. It will never be able to make reasoned 
decisions based on an intelligent understanding of things. A child who 
can rattle of the product of any two numbers between 1 and 10 isn't 
showing signs of intelligence. They're simply repeating something they 
know. It's not until they start dealing with numbers that they haven't 
managed to memorize that they may display intelligence through 
understanding and this understanding is acquired through their desire to 
be aware of their existence and state of being. That's essentially why 
they went through the trouble of acquiring the understanding needed to 
multiply those numbers.

So, that's where I'm at right now. I'm not extremely well read in these 
matters and it could very well be that I'm simply repeating something 
that philosophers have been saying for the last 100 years. But this is 
what I'm learning from my work on exist.pl


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