LS Re: the four levels

Magnus Berg (
Wed, 19 Aug 1998 18:30:14 +0100

Hi Bo and Squad

Bodvar Skutvik wrote:
> Diana, Magnus and Squad.
> Ever since Diana replied to Magnus' "Robot" challenge this riddle
> has it been on my mind.
> Her statement that according to Pirsig's examples of social value it
> would be impossible for the robots to function socially like humans
> is undoubtedly correct, but P does not explicitly treat the
> (hitherto) science fictious scenario of robots approaching human
> ability in a Türing test sense (if impossible to tell apart it IS
> the real thing)
> But neither Diana nor Magnus bring up the crucial question whether
> the robots are Biology (a prerequisite for social value) and that
> must be resolved first. Artificial Life (AL) is usually used in the
> same breath as AI, but this usage disregards the Q-social level
> altogether. As Magnus describes the spaceship situation, the robots
> mimic humans perfectly also regarding the ability to reproduce and
> "debug" themselves (immune system). Possibly even improve upon
> themselves (evolution) and that should grant "life" in a Turing sense
> too.

I was not approaching the question whether robots were biological or
not because, as you said, if they are social they will also be
biological. Consider the same ship when the first robot has been
made. The other humans interact with this robot as if it was the
dead crew member. The robot responds to the interactions in the
way it has been programmed to, so when a certain situation presents
itself, it will take actions accordingly. The first time one set
of circumstances occur, it will respond socially as expected.
The second time the same set of circumstances occur, it will
respond in exactly the same way. The third time, exactly as
before, ... At which point will the humans stop consider the
response social? And if they do, does that also mean that the
first response was asocial?

What I think is that all responses the robot has done and will
ever do are social, i.e. they are part of the language of the
society. It doesn't matter whether it's able to change them or
not because were talking about static patterns here, at least I am.

It is here where I think many people confuse "behaving socially"
with "being alive". My definition of life is, "anything walking
an evolutionary path", that is, a balanced mix of SQ and DQ.
A robot that responds exactly the same to recurring situations
is not alive because it is only static. It will do its job in
the society but it is unable to change or adapt to a completely
new environment. It is nonetheless social and as such an organ,
or biological pattern, of the society.

> And yet, what makes me doubt the TRUE biological value of the robots
> is that if a catastrophy should wipe out the crew (on earth or in an
> earthlike environment) the DQ would have to start again at the carbon
> molecular level and the new life would be similar to the present.

I missed the point here. What's the difference between a human crew
being wiped out and a robot crew?

> But while it lasted? Would they be able to - in Diana's words:
> "understand and respond dynamically to social values such as
> charisma, fashion, celebrity, ego, shame, humor?". If the replication
> was perfect who could tell? But even if less than perfect their
> cooperation would be SOCIAL value, and they would possibly
> develop their social sensibility to include such refinements.There
> are - I believe - coarse and refined societies (social values) and
> the ones that Diana lists are definitely very refined and solely
> human.
> But what about the Intellectual value dimension, would the robots
> enter that plane too? Please follow up.

My definition of intellectual patterns are nowadays: Any pattern
representing another pattern, or itself. (It's actually that last
"or itself" that is the source of all recursive dilemmas. IntPoVs
are the only patterns that are capable of recursion. If lower patterns
were able to do this, the world would deadlock now and then.)
Anyway, the memory of the robots are pure intellectual patterns.
They are represented using inorganic patterns but they represent,
or mean, something else.

As static social patterns, static intellectual patterns are static.
They don't have to be able to change to be intellectual patterns.
Being intelligent means to me, having intellectual patterns that
are alive, i.e. having intellectual patterns that are static enough
to be recognizable as "Magnus" at the same time as being dynamic
enough to adapt to completely new situations.


"I'm so full of what is right, I can't see what is good"
				N. Peart - Rush

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