Friday, 1 February 2019

i, robot

Hearing of this experiment—really a thought-experiment put through the paces of reality and practise thanks to advanced computing, via Slashdot, of a robot booted-up without prior knowledge of itself or its programming was able after a period of adjustment was able to imagine itself and deduce its identity reminded us of Avicenna’s concept of the floating man.
Buoyed aloft, blindfolded and deprived of sensation, the philosopher, whose ideas informed the thinking of later luminaries like René Descartes, reasoned that even in this state of sensory deprivation, that the figure would still differentiate himself from the surrounding environment and have a sense of self. What do you think? To my mind, it seems like we are lurching towards self-awareness but there’s always the counter-argument that the machines are not quite pandering to their programmers but we do tend to prefer revelling in outcomes that confirm our own pet-theories—absent any counter-factuals.