I'm wondering what the general opinion is on the state of consciousness of automata.  If they are self-aware and manufactured will their perspective on life be different to ours?  Will humanity lapse into a sort of 'neuvo-sclaveur', or revived slavery, on the grounds that they have no soul so we have no worries?

 

What would an automaton think if it were the only survivor of some sort of catastrophe leaving it isolated for a long period but eventually finding humans and other automata?  Say a colonial factory producing 'New Men' were to explode and destroy the settlement and settlers leaving only this individual to put the finishing touches on its body then construct its understanding of ts world.... Then to find the larger world as we understand it.  Cognitive dissonance?  Cogogenative dissonance?  Who would be the Darwin in that mind?  What would lend weight to its understanding of existence?

 

What if all the carbon-based inhabitants died and the metallers were left on their own with myths of the soft ones but no evidence thereof?  Would a metaller meet humans at some point and flirt? fear? fight?  Worship?

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I think this is a fascinating premise. In film, the state of consciousness treatment is very human, perhaps because it's hard to get across a different perspective in a basic visual medium, but it would be interesting to explore an alternative perspective/focus in fiction. I'm sure there are more examples than this, but here are the two that occurred to me right away, though the first doesn't involve an automata existing in isolation:

A quick Google search for "self-aware automata" threw up some very thought-provoking links, too!


 

I'm not familiar with Hughes.  I'll look that up.

 

Being a tepid fan of film and not owning a television means I have yet to see either of the titles you suggest.

 

At the same time, though I'm interested in exploring the perspective of the automaton, I think it could also offer opportunities to look at a darker side of society outlawed with slavery.  What if HG Wells had written Lord of the Flies?  The boys do not hunt pigs but begin writing the protocols for an abandoned (or similarly shipwrecked) collection of metallers.

 

I also think of the psych experiment wherein subjects were paired and one was applying the electric shock to the other.  Then the shock recipient was to tell the shock administrator that they suffered a heart condition and the electrical impulse could cause irregular beats.  I can't recall the names associated with that experiment unfortunately.

I watch things on my computer now, thanks to Netflix.com's "watch instantly" option. :)

Ettrick said:

I'm not familiar with Hughes.  I'll look that up.

 

Being a tepid fan of film and not owning a television means I have yet to see either of the titles you suggest.

 

At the same time, though I'm interested in exploring the perspective of the automaton, I think it could also offer opportunities to look at a darker side of society outlawed with slavery.  What if HG Wells had written Lord of the Flies?  The boys do not hunt pigs but begin writing the protocols for an abandoned (or similarly shipwrecked) collection of metallers.

 

I also think of the psych experiment wherein subjects were paired and one was applying the electric shock to the other.  Then the shock recipient was to tell the shock administrator that they suffered a heart condition and the electrical impulse could cause irregular beats.  I can't recall the names associated with that experiment unfortunately.

Maybe something like the movie 9?

 


I haven't seen it but the visuals look quite striking from stills I've seen.  cheers

Anna Chen said:

Maybe something like the movie 9?

 



I don't have an answer to this question- only thoughts.  I suspect that any being depends for information about its surroundings on its own 'tentactlia' - or its 'senses.'  Soooo is the automata blind?  Does it see in the infrared or ultraviolet?  Its 'view' of the environment might be quite different.  It might see beings as dots of light, not seeing 'features' per se.  It might percieve the presence of others in the quantity of salt, or some other metallic sensing ability such as maybe the electric or magnetic field that it creates.  So its perception of how the live of the other 'lives' might be influenced by what it is able to sense.

I like the ideas.

 

On the one hand, if they see humanity as an element that is valuable to their construction or operation they would relate differently to how they would do if we offered nothing of value.

 

Much of that sounds very much like our own experiences- perspective shaping reality and all that, right?

 

 

Well, any discussion of machine awareness must also include some discussion of machine learning. What degree of self-awareness is necessary? I can open up my computer's device manager and I am immediately informed that my computer is aware of what parts compose the whole. It also knows it is connected to the Internet and it's identity relative to the outside world; it has a name for use in private networking (PsychicToaster) and one for use in the outside world (its IP). 

Now, that's all very well and good, but we still don't consider that on the same level as our own self-awareness. Why not? 

We built machines to think in a way that we do not: sequentially. We have the equivalent of a computer network in our heads, computers have the equivalent of a super-neuron. We do relational thinking, they do sequential thinking. Naturally, any sort of machine consciousness will be different from ours until we build computers more like our own brains. (Actually, there are scientists working on that exact premise)

Artificial intelligence as we know it today is still just a gross approximation. Almost like a model of intelligence rather than functional intelligence. Purpose-built machines can beat people at game shows, but you can't put Watson in charge of a band saw without completely rebuilding it and programming a new band saw interface. (Although things like the Wolfram Alpha project are trying to address that, too)

There's also the inherent biases of the creators. We are trying to build machines that are intelligent like us rather than trying to build machines that are intelligent in any way possible. So, we shape their sensory devices around our own, even though a machine could "see" better by a combination of other sensory devices: magnetic resonance, direct electrical stimulation (e.g. a wired internet connection). 

There's a ton of possibility for some truly alien thought processes and reasoning for machines, systems of morality that have no relation to our own, or only a tangential relationship to our intent for them. (I, Robot anyone?)

I don't think you'd see anything we would consider irrational, such as machine religions, except as a complete inversion of that: some previously unconsidered element is introduced into the program code as axiomatic, forcing the machines to believe it in spite of all evidence. A hyper-rationality based on flawed input, rather than irrational or emotional motivation.

Here's perhaps an interesting article:

 

The future is here cyborgs walk among us

 

It basically says that cyborgs already exist - people with hearing aids, with camera eyes, etc.  It then extrapolates to how people 'feel' about being cyborgs, and/or how do you really decide what level of mechanical 'crutch' actually makes you a cyborg.

Cheers, Claudia.  I didn't realise I had not posted to you on that.  I liked it.

...and Spoiler Alert for the first link above (Super-Toys).  I did not look at Saturn's Children.

 

It's not really S-punk, but AC Clarke's "Dial F for Frankenstein" could be a part of this collection.  Aldiss and Clarke were writing at much the same time though I think the former was more speculative.

 

Cheers, Khem.

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