Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Organic Life-Forms: A Closer Look

Consciousness: what is the definition of consciousness? Living being: what is the definition of a living being? what is the definition of a being? The actual answers to these questions are merely CONVENTIONS! What might be living by your judgement can be dead by others. The question of consciousness has came by a long time for people in the computer industry, specifically artificial intelligence. Lets take a closer look there: scientists are aiming at building up robots with intelligent reactions - robots with consciousness! Consciousness is defined as simply having the ability to respond to changing factors in the surrounding environment. Robots achieve that through sensors and intelligent algorithms. Humans have been able to do that with their senses (seeing, hearing, touching). So here is my challenge question: if computers (robots) where developed with the ability to move around, think, respond, and have consciousness - even more advanced algorithms that enable it to feel, judge, invent, and perform other human-like actions... In what ways are they less alive than us? ..... "Well, for GOD's sake, they're just metal and electricity!", someone might scream... My question now to that guy is: why do u consider an intelligent action from a being made up of organic material like C,S,N,...etc, more living than another being that can come up with other intelligent actions but with a small difference of being made up of iron and silicon??

A similar pitfall arises: humans have long been searching for life on other planets. But do they have a clue for what they are searching for? Should we expect extraterrestrial life-forms to be made up of organic material like carbon? Does organic material as defined by our chemistry stand for the only substance of life? Or better say, why is carbon considered more living than say iron? In our world we say that we are made of organic material, and us together with creatures having same characteristics being classified as living (eg. animals, plants, bacteria ... etc.), yet things made up of iron are not living (eg. robots). [This view is rejected by Alternative biochemistry where the classical carbon-based biochemistry is called "Carbon chauvinism"]

Looking at the picture from a lower level we can see that humans are no more living than a robot.... Ohh heck, we are no more living than the keyboard i am typing on! Our consciousness is nothing more than electrical signals going through our heads, combined with our analytical and creativity capabilities have been doing stuff. The concept is simple yet tricky for those who never thought that way. This explains why i disregard biology: it gives existance to things of null reality.


Jon Bassinger-Flores said...

Great post! Do you watch Battlestar Galactica? The Cylons are an interesting example of what you're talking about. Interstingly, they can't reproduce, so they're using humans and their carbon-based bodies for this purpose.

Devil's Mind said...

Nope: I never watched "Battlestar Galactica" - but i assume its similar to Star Trek and other space-invasion science-fiction (which i am not fan of any)... I find the idea of the existance of extraterrestrials as plausible and even PROBABLE (unlike other "shy" fellows who claim that existance of extraterrestrials is plausible yet improbable)

Naturally, many science-fictions introduce great hypotheses most of which have been discussed and argued amoung real scientists... I myself see that most of the space-invasion science-fictions as being "uncreative" and hold the assumption that many extraterrestrials look, behave, reason like humans - which i find as naive!