TTA Community Project. Code Name: Apophenia
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16-02-2015, 12:33 PM
RE: TTA Community Project. Code Name: Apophenia
(16-02-2015 06:29 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Science tells that everything is on a continuum: Cosmology > Physics > Chemistry > Biochemistry > Biology > Chemistry again. There is no specific point on this continuum that we can point to and say "That's the moment that 'life' begins" or "See that? That's the consciousness moment."

The arrow of time goes more like this:

Cosmology -> Physics -> Chemistry -> Geology -> Biochemistry -> Biology -> Darwinian evolution -> ecosystems -> economies -> ???

Although biochemistry might come before geology if panspermia is correct.

I'd personally say that life began as soon as a cell developed (or a persistent pattern of small molecules forming a proto-cell) began metabolising.

Emotions began when cells started adapting to chemicals released by other cells that effectively provided high impact low information signals and this eventually formed a crude basis of chemical communication between cells. due to symbiotic evolution.

Consciousness began not when organisms adapted as stimulus / response agents, not later when they adapted to temporal sequences of sensory stimuli, but when they started adapting to their own internal state as a persistent pattern. For example, you can have homoeostasis without being conscious, but proprioception is another continual sense but an internal one rather than the external senses such as smell, sight, hearing etc.
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16-02-2015, 04:40 PM
RE: TTA Community Project. Code Name: Apophenia
(16-02-2015 06:29 AM)DLJ Wrote:  OK, then... here we go...

"'Love is merely chemistry'
... is a deception.
We are merely chemistry.
Love makes us master chemists."
~~ HoC

That’s my favourite HouseofCantor message and we can see how TTA’s prophet skilfully plays with, for poetic purposes, what Prof. Dan Dennett has called the Physical Stance, the Design Stance and the Intentional Stance.

As I mentioned at the start of the thread, many-a-theist doesn't get the difference. But what is the difference?

Science tells that everything is on a continuum: Cosmology > Physics > Chemistry > Biochemistry > Biology > Chemistry again. There is no specific point on this continuum that we can point to and say "That's the moment that 'life' begins" or "See that? That's the consciousness moment."

This seems to give the theists, or at least the modern deists, the excuse to say, "Well, in that case, how do you know that the universe doesn't have consciousness?" or "How do you know that cells aren't conscious?".

In the field of Information Technology / Artificial Intelligence, the dividing lines between the three stances is more obvious.... probably because we know for a fact that intelligent design is involved.

So here’s what I want to do… flesh out these three stances to create a model of how we get from the physical layers (the chemical components and the ones and zeros of life) to the higher level applications like consciousness and decision making (morality / ethics).

As the project name suggests, this is intended to be an exercise in pattern recognition…
A mapping of biological structures, systems and processes across to the same for Artificial Intelligence / Information Technology.

The basis for this is the presupposition that Dan Dennett is correct when he explains consciousness as akin to a VM (Virtual Machine) or a super-advanced application.
In his book, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, he explains how a registry machine (a simple form of computer) works and likens it to the way our unthinking human cells keep on keeping on just be following some very basic rules.

He talks about Conway’s Game of Life to explain how these basic rules keep everything ticking along without us having to think too hard about what our cells are doing.

Mr Dennett hazards that DNA, rather than being the ones and zeros of our biological registry machine, is way higher on the ‘stack’ and, continuing the computing metaphor, is akin to a subroutine such as the magical transformation of a cursor into a blinking vertical line once one clicks on a text box.

So, one can perhaps start to visualise how a silicon-based life-form that is a computer network (and its assorted virtual and physical devices and components) might be ‘mapped’ onto a carbon-based life-form that is an ‘us’ (or a fish, because Full Circle may have a point that we might be better off started with a simpler entity).

Of course, biological life-forms have had a tad longer to evolve than artificial life-forms … so we’ll have some gaps in our visualisation but that’s actually what will make us all very rich… rich beyond our wildest dreams!

The gap analysis will clearly show where, and how far, IT / AI has to go to be as smart as us (well, some of us).
1. Mapping
2. Gap Analysis
3. Book Deal
4. Movie Rights
5. ???
6. Profit.

This is my proposition:
That we use our collective talents to create a visual representation of the IT ‘stack’ mapped against the biological ‘stack’.

Personally, I reckon that Dan Dennett missed a bit when describing his ideas in terms of just hardware and software. My thing is IT Service Management and Governance and I see many patterns here that map to biological systems so that will be my contribution. E.g. What is an IT system’s consciousness? It’s self-monitoring systems? No. If it was, IT systems would be conscious. I think it’s the combination of self-monitoring systems plus the mechanisms (functions and processes) that enable decision making i.e. the system tools plus the service / knowledge tools all the way through to auditing and governance.

I’m hoping that other talents here will be able to contribute by identifying many other jigsaw pieces.

I’m open to suggestions on how to proceed but I think that a good start would be to create two simple lists which can be complexified as we go:
List One: The Silicon Stack
List Two: The Carbon Stack

… then we start looking for some patterns i.e. correlation. We can analyse the gaps later once the mapping takes shape (if it takes shape).

Of course, when we look deeper than the nuts and bolts layers, there will be similarities i.e. the components of the periodic table and the standard model. I don’t expect there to be much debate at the level of the ‘physical stance’ (Dennett, again) but at the levels of the ‘design stance’ and the ‘intentional stance’ there could well be heated debate. We’ll see, I suppose.

Anyway, lemme start things going…
What about using this picture as a start for the Silicon Stack?

[Image: OracleRedStack.png]

Too simple, right? Is there a better one we can use? What about a TOGAF architecture model?

[Image: togaf-page.png]

Too complex?

And perhaps TTA’s biologists have a better pictures than these as a start point for the Carbon Stack?
[Image: Human-Body-Arteries-And-Veins-Diagram.jpg]
[Image: human-body-systems.jpg?w=476&h=353]

Once we've mapped out the fundamentals (the architecture) we could have a stab at the more difficult stuff like storage / memory.

Each of us has our areas of expertise, so take it as far you like in your own way but as an example, we could start, as Phase 1, to simply state that memory on the carbon stack equates to memory on the silicon stack.
For Phase 2, we could dig deeper and start showing the different memory-storage areas e.g. using Service Management language:
DNA = Configuration Management System (CMS)
Central Nervous System = Service Portfolio
Immune System = Known Error Database (KEDB)
Cultural knowledge = Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS)
Phase 3 might be about digging even more deeply and finding the IT equivalents for everything mentioned here

So let us remember the words of George Box “all models are wrong but some are useful” and create a useful model that will help explain to passing theists how morality and consciousness can come from ones and zeros.

Cheers.

[Image: huh.jpg]

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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17-02-2015, 11:05 AM
RE: TTA Community Project. Code Name: Apophenia
(16-02-2015 04:40 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(16-02-2015 06:29 AM)DLJ Wrote:  OK, then... here we go...

"'Love is merely chemistry'
... is a deception.
We are merely chemistry.
Love makes us master chemists."
~~ HoC
Huh

Oh! C'mon, Girly. Where's your spunk, man?

Aren't you interested in helping to figure out which bit of code contains your personal Jesus?




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17-02-2015, 12:25 PM
RE: TTA Community Project. Code Name: Apophenia
I think somewhere between ecosystems and economies might be cultures. To me, thats where the sauce really makes the meal. Shy

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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17-02-2015, 12:26 PM
RE: TTA Community Project. Code Name: Apophenia
(16-02-2015 12:33 PM)Mathilda Wrote:  
(16-02-2015 06:29 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Science tells that everything is on a continuum: Cosmology > Physics > Chemistry > Biochemistry > Biology > Chemistry again. There is no specific point on this continuum that we can point to and say "That's the moment that 'life' begins" or "See that? That's the consciousness moment."

The arrow of time goes more like this:

Cosmology -> Physics -> Chemistry -> Geology -> Biochemistry -> Biology -> Darwinian evolution -> ecosystems -> economies -> ???

Although biochemistry might come before geology if panspermia is correct.

I'd personally say that life began as soon as a cell developed (or a persistent pattern of small molecules forming a proto-cell) began metabolising.

Emotions began when cells started adapting to chemicals released by other cells that effectively provided high impact low information signals and this eventually formed a crude basis of chemical communication between cells. due to symbiotic evolution.

Consciousness began not when organisms adapted as stimulus / response agents, not later when they adapted to temporal sequences of sensory stimuli, but when they started adapting to their own internal state as a persistent pattern. For example, you can have homoeostasis without being conscious, but proprioception is another continual sense but an internal one rather than the external senses such as smell, sight, hearing etc.

I confess that this information has me a bit flummoxed.

I'm struggling to visualise it diagrammatically ... probably because my original thinking (creating a model) didn't have a 'time' axis.

So help me out here, please...

What would be the IT equivalent (in terms of e.g processes, activities, systems) of homeostasis?

Is there (and if so, what is it called) an IT/AI equivalent of proprioception?

Which also leads me to wonder... what about the other human senses:

Sight / vision
Hearing / audition
Taste / gustation
Smell / olfaction
Touch / somatosensation
Balance, equilibrioception, or vestibular sense
Thermoception
Kinesthetic sense / proprioception
Pain / nociception

Perhaps the internal sensors might be easier to map to an IT equivalent?

Hunger?

Pulmonary stretch receptors controlling the respiratory rate. What is the IT version of the respiratory system?

Peripheral chemoreceptors monitoring the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels (suffocation) ... "Insufficient licences"?

Chemoreceptors? What would be the IT version of vomiting? Smile The Blue Screen of Death?

Cutaneous receptors? Does an android blush?

Stretch receptors in the gastrointestinal tract?

Stimulation of sensory receptors in the esophagus result in sensations felt in the throat when swallowing, vomiting, or during acid reflux? Are we talking about power surges in the Data Centre?

Stimulation of sensory receptors in the urinary bladder and rectum may result in sensations of fullness.... "Disk full"?

Big Grin

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17-02-2015, 12:47 PM
RE: TTA Community Project. Code Name: Apophenia
(17-02-2015 12:25 PM)kim Wrote:  I think somewhere between ecosystems and economies might be cultures. To me, thats where the sauce really makes the meal. Shy

Good point. That time where people still use barter but can still work together to maximise entropy. I had a feeling something was missing but couldn't think what.
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17-02-2015, 01:43 PM
RE: TTA Community Project. Code Name: Apophenia
Life doesn't emulate computing, computing emulates life. So it is a bit of a fool's errand to look for life traits that are equivalent to computational machinery, it is the opposite.

Need a good definition of life. Need a good definition of morals/morality.

The very end of the spectrum of life is too fuzzy. Ergo, where does one draw the line between chemistry and biochemistry? Which redox reactions are non-life, while others constitute components and reactions within life? Are viruses living? Etc.

I'd suggest not starting off with a definition of all life, but one for more derived lifeforms in the animal kingdom. Thus ignoring anything that isn't an animal, and then ignore anything without a basic brain (at least a system of synapses). This would eliminate a lot, like Porifera and Cnidara (sponges and jellyfish). Or to put it another way, the Prokaryotic, single-celled, and Photosynthetic varieties of life are more reactive in terms of chemistry. Protists for instance "hunt" for food by detecting chemical tracers of food particles (bacteria commonly). There is no thought process in this, it is reactive. You need lifeforms capable of thought (directed and intentional actions) in order to discuss morals/morality.

Morals then could be a behavior that benefits the individual and the community of organisms in which it lives (transcending species), while minimizing harm to the community.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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17-02-2015, 02:26 PM
RE: TTA Community Project. Code Name: Apophenia
(17-02-2015 11:05 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(16-02-2015 04:40 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Huh

Oh! C'mon, Girly. Where's your spunk, man?

Aren't you interested in helping to figure out which bit of code contains your personal Jesus?




There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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17-02-2015, 04:31 PM
RE: TTA Community Project. Code Name: Apophenia
Sometimes I come on this Forum, read some shit, and think, “How can people this stupid live?”

Other times like on this thread, I read what you guys post (except for Girly at the moment Tongue ) and think “I’m one of those stoopid people.”

Weeping

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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19-02-2015, 06:48 AM
RE: TTA Community Project. Code Name: Apophenia
One of the things I struggle with in developing a model of humanity that is comparable to that of a machine is the foundation of a functional model for anything: What is this system for?

Do we take a thermodynamic perspective and say that the system's function is to maximise entropy?
Do we take an evolutionary perspective and say that the system's function is to reproduce itself?
Do we take a societal perspective and look to the role a human can take in furthering the larger organism? Do we take a second societal perspective and look to the ways this large cybernetic organism can evolve?
Do we take an in-group perspective and look at how the system can serve its kin?
Do we take an individual perspective and look at how the system can maximise its own happiness or minimise its own suffering... or do these concepts themselves serve functions of the higher organism?

I guess in my feeling out of the topic it seems like "what is a human?" is not the question but perhaps "what is a human society?"... especially if we are sounding out topics such as morality. Say that a society's function is to self-perpetuate, what designs for such a system can theoretically work and what functions would individual parts need to take on to meet the higher level function?

So a hierarchy might be:
- Thermodynamic fundamentals
- Life as a whole
- Ecosystems
- Societies as specialised ecosystems
- Components of society: Individuals of various species, and technological components

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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