Free Will Redux: A Question

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This topic contains 225 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Unseen 1 month ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 226 total)
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  • #35029

    Unseen
    Participant

    Besides, this is a DISCUSSION forum not a book club.

    That’s no excuse unseen to be so intellectually lazy. Zheesh

    Davey the Downer with his ad hominems. Zheesh!

    Get in the spirit of the thing. Instead of gratuitously attacking a discussant, fucking CONTRIBUTE SOMETHING!

    Your fly bys are so obviously mean-spirited. Grow up!

    it’s a solution only a philosopher or expert of some sort can understand.

    No unseen. There is an enormous spectrum in between “a trite summary of a highly complex topic into a couple paragraphs” and “having to study something for years and become an expert”. There is an ocean in between those two polar opposites. And it can be found in something called “a book”. I imagine you haven’t opened one up since university so it may seem terribly terrifying to actually pick one up again…but you’ll rediscover that in those ancient devices you can gain a slightly more profound understanding of something without having to become an expert. Try it. I bloody dare you.

    So, for some reason, only experts are welcome here? That’s weird.

    You IMPLY a deep knowledge of the subject. So deep in fact that, apparently, not just me, but none of us here have a right to talk about it until we’re immersed in the topic as deeply as you imply you are (though you exhibit little to none).

    YET, what “depth” have you displayed? How much understanding have you exhibited?

    If this is your “contribution,” stop being a downer & spoilsport. So far, the only skill you exhibit any expertise at is how to suck all the oxygen out of the room.

    Better, maybe, you should go away and pull the wings off butterflies, or whatever you normally do to while away the time.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #35032

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Free will requires an escape valve from the chains of determinism and the randomness of quantum physics. The only thing i can imagine acquiring free will is AI. When and if super intelligence emerges it may be possible for it to utilize different laws of physics than we are subject to and in so doing be free.

    Different laws of physics? I doubt it. The advantage intelligent AI might come to have could be that of not having consciousness at all, and thus no distraction of worrying about it.

    Do you suppose Newtonian physics is “different” then relativistic physics? Could be something similar at play here, an extension of the science we know. Can’t be ruled out so quickly because whenever we get ‘stuck’ for a while I expect a step change.

     

    #35037

    Davis
    Moderator

    Says the expert in ad hominems who started this whole topic to provoke and who escalates disagreements with “happy spirited” snark. I never claimed to know better than you, I have no idea if free will exists, I simply did something (and two other users here) that you haven’t done which is educated myself a little on both sides of the debate. Rehashing this stupid shit and repeating your overconfident ignorance isn’t contributing either unseen. Just pick up a book and read. I’ll buy one for you and mail it to you for Christmas.

    #35038

    Davis
    Moderator

    As to the likelihood of utilizing alternate physics i doubt it also but it may be possible.

    Indeed I don’t get it. He’s on the one hand admitting that in fact there may be some unknown route to free will…but somehow knowingly claim humans don’t have access to this (how do you know that?) and that AI might (how do you know that?). I mean either there is an alternative physics or there isn’t. If there is then you have no idea what it is, how it works or who has access to it (either us or AI, both or neither). And if it is then that totally breaks the brutal hard-determinism that makes up the whole crux of the free will position. So if you permit even the possibility of some unknown physics then you’ve totally undermined your position. How can anyone know if there is an alternative physics or not or what qualities it has or who would have access to under whatever conditions? This when it is all total pure speculation. Sooooooooooooo…are we losing the absolute confidence here that free will is categorically impossible?

    #35048

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Robert you may be correct. Perhaps our way of conceiving newtonian and quantum as separate is artificial. Water and ice. And it is also true that discoveries beg more questions than are answered.

    Davis, I am guilty of failing to explain myself. From my perspective free will is impossible for anything biological. I don’t think i need to elaborate. Unseen asked if there is free will what causes it. Based upon the articles i have read and podcasts digested we may be on the cusp of the genesis of super intelligence. How will it manifest? If what i have processed is or becomes reality super intelligence will surpass the combined brain power of the billions of humans. The implications of super intelligence are mind boggling. Perhaps it is science fiction. But if it comes to pass then we have no way of extrapolating imo from our experiences how super AI will be disposed towards humans and what AI will understand and do.

    I am only a dilettante in cosmology, a few books and a lot of articles. It seems that some physicists are of the opinion that laws of physics are not universal and immutable. If AI accesses or creates an alternate physics then the constraints on free will might just be obviated. If AI creates its own physics then it is the master of its world and as such has the autonomy that we lack. How the issue of free will would play out in the even of access as opposed to creation i can’t say. But i have to allow for the possibility that different conditions may produce a different result.

    #35049

    Davis
    Moderator

    Indeed. I mean all of this sounds slightly reasonable, I’d simply argue that if AI could break free from the absolute laws of physics (we think are absolute) then our highly complex brain that we don’t fully understand could too! I don’t think this is the best route to AI anyways but I would say if you allow for AI to achieve it…then free will is most certainly not impossible.

    One of the things I find utterly hilarious (ridiculously hilarious) is that here we all are, apparently cogs in a clock work who think we have freedom, though we actually don’t, and we have absolutely no choice but to type out stuff here debating whether we have a choice or not to debate whether we have a choice or not (and in fact here I am with no choice but to comment on the silliness that we are debating whether we have a choice or not to debate whether we have a choice or not). If there really is no such thing as free will (which I admit is possible) then this is the most deliciously absurd thing ever (and the human condition is already preposterously absurd) but then I had no choice but to say this so maybe it isn’t absurd (though I had no choice but to say I had no choice so maybe….)

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #35056

    Unseen
    Participant

    Do you suppose Newtonian physics is “different” then relativistic physics? Could be something similar at play here, an extension of the science we know. Can’t be ruled out so quickly because whenever we get ‘stuck’ for a while I expect a step change.

    The last time we had to drastically modify our understanding of the laws of the universe was about 100 years ago with quantum theory. Einsteinian physics is more a refinement of Newtonian physics than a revolution. it is a different way of looking at the world but the calculations are marginally better than those of Newton. The new way of looking at the world threw out Newton’s stipulations of homogenous space and time. Einstein showed it was more productive to view them as elastic.

    #35057

    Unseen
    Participant

    I am only a dilettante in cosmology, a few books and a lot of articles. It seems that some physicists are of the opinion that laws of physics are not universal and immutable.

    If they are “laws,” they must have some sort of determinism in them to even earn the name, mustn’t they? Even quantum physics depends upon mathematical certainties that don’t fluctuate over time. Otherwise, what would there be to discuss in the quantum realm?

    If AI accesses or creates an alternate physics then the constraints on free will might just be obviated. If AI creates its own physics then it is the master of its world and as such has the autonomy that we lack. How the issue of free will would play out in the even of access as opposed to creation i can’t say. But i have to allow for the possibility that different conditions may produce a different result.

    Laws of physics—at least so far—apply across the board. There are no physical laws which apply only to living things or only to inanimate things, for example. They are there always even when we don’t need to apply or even think about them. For example, you can design a boat, knowing in the back of your mind that it won’t last forever, without even once having to trot out the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy).

    The idea of a conscious machine with a “self” should be scary and maybe even horrifying. What would it “feel”? Presumably, it would feel like a machine, a device that excels at mechanical, deterministic calculations. It would not be able to relate to human sensations like, pain, hunger, tiredness. It wouldn’t understand things like joy, exulation, grief, anxiety.

    To whatever extent such an entity could gain power over mankind, I see an existential threat.

    #35058

    jakelafort
    Participant

    A salad of absurd is reduced to a word.

    We humans have not even gotten close to understanding our own biology. I think without AI the universe is a bridge too far. But it is fun to speculate and ponder.

    #35059

    Unseen
    Participant

    One of the things I find utterly hilarious (ridiculously hilarious) is that here we all are, apparently cogs in a clock work who think we have freedom, though we actually don’t, and we have absolutely no choice but to type out stuff here debating whether we have a choice or not to debate whether we have a choice or not (and in fact here I am with no choice but to comment on the silliness that we are debating whether we have a choice or not to debate whether we have a choice or not). If there really is no such thing as free will (which I admit is possible) then this is the most deliciously absurd thing ever (and the human condition is already preposterously absurd) but then I had no choice but to say this so maybe it isn’t absurd (though I had no choice but to say I had no choice so maybe….)

    One of the fascinations of free will is the ironies and paradoxes it produces.

    There’s an old joke about a criminal appearing before a judge for his sentencing. It is told in various ways. This is one:

    JUDGE: Before I pass sentence, John, you are allowed to make a statement I will consider in sentencing. Proceed, if you have anything to say.

    JOHN: Your honor, physics tells us that everything that happens is due to what proceeded it. This is as true for human actions as for the calculations involved in aiming a cannon shell. It is true for all objects in the world as well, be they baseballs or brains. Thus, whatever I did, I had to do. I could not have done otherwise. That is all I have to say, Your Honor.

    JUDGE: That was an eloquent statement, John. I accept every word of it. However, my actions, like yours, grow inexorably out of a series of causes producing various effects in my brain, one of those effects being to sentence you to ten years in prison. I wish I were free, but even if I were, the sentence would be the same.

    #35060

    Unseen
    Participant

    ‘Few scholars are comfortable suggesting that people ought to believe an outright lie. Advocating the perpetuation of untruths would breach their integrity and violate a principle that philosophers have long held dear: the Platonic hope that the true and the good go hand in hand. Saul Smilansky, a philosophy professor at the University of Haifa, in Israel, has wrestled with this dilemma throughout his career and come to a painful conclusion: “We cannot afford for people to internalize the truth” about free will.’

    (source: There’s No Such Thing As Free Will, Atlantic Magazine)

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #35066

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Unseen i refer you to the oft-cited allegory of the cave and the short novel by Twain (title forgotten by me) in which the lives of bacteria and the limits of their observation are a metaphor for our limited purview. We are just not capable of saying much. If you read a lot of cosmology it seems like alice in wonderland. What can we posit with confidence? Here is an article that is one of many to cast doubt on our standard model.
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19429-laws-of-physics-may-change-across-the-universe/

    Many are worried about the genesis of super intelligence. Will it happen? Will it eliminate us? I am guessing it won’t feel things but i am fairly certain it will understand how we feel.

    #35067

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    What do you think it means for free will, if the entirety of spacetime is created as a single 4-D shape at the Big Bang?  I.e., all of spacetime exists as a lump, and we have a path through it that we labour along during our lifetimes, that begins when we are conceived, and ends when our life ends, and our location on that spacetime path depends on our position in time.

    In other words, what we experience as free will is something we encounter as we travel through time along a path that already exists, if we are allowed to mix up dimensional metaphors.

    #35069

    Unseen
    Participant

    Many are worried about the genesis of super intelligence. Will it happen? Will it eliminate us? I am guessing it won’t feel things but i am fairly certain it will understand how we feel.

    But don’t we “understand” based on using our own case as a model? I’m not a cat, but I feel I understand much of her behavior based on what I know about myself, my behavior, and the feelings I attach to such behavior.

    It’s an act of projection.

    If you’re with me so far, how can a machine understand how we feel? It doesn’t feel like a human, if truly consci0us, but instead feels like a machine, which is something we have no basis for understanding. You and I are flesh and blood, the machine is metal, silicon, and plastics mostly. I think we can imagine how such a machine would feel in much the same way we can imagine a homunculus running the show inside our computer. Pure fantasy, in other words.

    So, if such a machine forms an understanding of how we feel, it’s likely to be wildly inaccurate, isn’t it?

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #35071

    Unseen
    Participant

    What do you think it means for free will, if the entirety of spacetime is created as a single 4-D shape at the Big Bang? I.e., all of spacetime exists as a lump, and we have a path through it that we labour along during our lifetimes, that begins when we are conceived, and ends when our life ends, and our location on that spacetime path depends on our position in time.

    But quantum events can have impacts on the higher level where Einstein’s description generally works and where things happen lawfully (deterministically). So, a random subatomic event can upend things on the level where billiard balls and planets behave with perfect predictability.

    In other words, what we experience as free will is something we encounter as we travel through time along a path that already exists, if we are allowed to mix up dimensional metaphors.

    Indeed, many physicists view our perception of time as illusory and that time (and space) are not fundamental. These scientists believe that time is a continuum from past to future and that, theoretically at least, it is a bidirectional highway.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
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