Introduction for Peter Grynch

said that humans are a narrative animal.

Children like animal stories.  The animals can talk if you wish.  Children go
through a stage where they more closely identify with animals.  

Computers, as we know, are much better at understanding objective reality
than they are at understanding subjective human verbal reality.

When someone who speaks one language meets someone who speaks a
different language, many different conclusions may be drawn.  Sometimes a
human will have had experience with people who speak a different language
and take the whole matter as normal.  Someone less sophisticated might think
that the other person is stupid or less intelligent than he is.  

A similar thing can happen if a human meets a dolphin and cannot understand
the meaning of the squeaks that the dolphin is using to speak.  Nobody has yet
breached the gap between a human's set of understandings and those of a
porpoise.  

Let me attempt to define a number of levels of intelligence/consciousness that
we can picture existing.  Let me use the word intelligence to describe this
intelligence plus consciousness characteristic.  I use the general pattern of
what we see on the Earth as a examples in this description:
1. Intelligence that can calculate and reason by manipulating objective facts.
2. Intelligence that can interact with the physical world as well as calculate
and reason.
3. Intelligence that can do both 1 and 2 and as well, interact with other beings
having the same set of shared assumptions (culture including language) as the
species that has the intelligence under question.
4. Intelligence that can interact with all of the above and in addition has the
ability to interact with other beings from other cultures. (In the case of humans,
this would be exemplified by sophisticated humans, world travelers, diplomats
who speak many languages, etc.)
5. Intelligence that can do all of the above and in addition interact with other
creatures from the same planet.  This would include as a theoretical example, a
human who could be a worldwide diplomat, speak all of the human languages
and in addition, speak to a dolphin in its language.  It would also need to be
able to relate to the dolphin in matters of interest to the dolphin.
6. Intelligence that can do all of the above and also relate to intelligent
creatures from another planet that has organic types of life.
7. Intelligence that can do all of the above and also relate to intelligent
creatures from another planet that has forms of life based on something other
than the organic.
8. Intelligence which is sufficiently open minded to conceive that other
creatures here on earth may have intelligence such as computers or robots.

Part of what we mean by consciousness is the ability to see oneself in one's
environment and to model what is going on in that environment to the extent
that one can predict that if I do this, that will happen.  For example, I might see
that I am sitting at a dining table with fork, knife and spoon and know how to
pick up the fork.  If I see a set of chopsticks, I may then know how to pick up the
chopsticks and hold them properly.

Most humans do not meet level 8 intelligence whereby they can picture
computers or robots having consciousness and intelligence.  In most cases, this
is not because of a lack of potential brain power, but is due to a mind-set
whereby the mind has spent so much time in an environment dominated by a
single form of intelligence that the individual can no longer imagine that
reality could be otherwise than what he has known.  It is quite natural after all.

A typical human gets up and looks at himself in the mirror and sees a human
being.  He may go out for a cup of coffee and a human serves it to him while he
sits and chats with other humans.  If he reads the newspaper, it is all about
human experiences written by humans for human consumption.  If the
individual originally descended from people from Belgium, they may identify
with Belgians and take up reading Belgian newspapers written by Belgians
mostly about Belgian people.  Under those circumstances, the person would be
more sophisticated in two areas, his current country and Belgium.

Should a person want to expand his horizon and visit foreign countries
and speak foreign languages?  Perhaps yes and perhaps no.  It depends
on his motivation to increase his own sophistication.  

Should a person living in China want to study English if he finds that
English has become the universal world-wide language?  Many Chinese
have done precisely that.  Although the French are very proud of their
language, to say the least, they have signed up for the European
Economic Community and understand that the official language is
English.

If English is going to be the world's official language then it makes sense
for people to learn it if they want to be able to travel all over the world
and be able to communicate with other humans.  It could be called
"getting in tune with the wider reality."

Now think of another human mental trick which works most of the time but not
always.  When a human learns what a dog is, one of the things he learns at a
young age is that dogs don't talk.  Horses don't talk unless they are faking it
like Mr. Ed.  If a dog or horse talks in a story, then the story is fiction, perhaps
science fiction.  Fiction is not what really happens.  

But consider the concept of "computer dating."  Computer dating in the 1960s
was using quite simple programs on quite slow and small computers.  Still, the
human mind wants to tell us, "I have experienced computer dating and it
doesn't work very well."  The human mind can make such generalizations
about "dogs don't talk" but to make the same generalization about "computers
don't do a good job at matching people for dating purposes" would be different
simply because the term "computer" may stay the same, but, unlike dogs,
computers and computer programs
change over time.  In fact, Gordon Moore's
Law tells us that computers double in capabilities about every 18 months.

Other trends are occurring in other technologies.  Billions of people now have a
cell phone.  If you are not in the habit of carrying your cell phone with you,
then other people are going to become a little perturbed as they find it difficult
to get ahold of you.  

You don't have to learn to use a laptop computer either.  But if you do, you are
positioned at a more sophisticated level in the spectrum of the various people
currently living alongside you.

If you also want to have the sophistication of knowing the progress in artificial
intelligence and the eventual impact on the Earth, you may want to take the
course designed for humans on this site.  You can start with Human Level 1
and progress to Human Level 2 and eventually end at Human Level 3.  There
are also lessons for Robots starting with Robot Levels 1, 2 and 3.  In addition
there is quite a bit of information relating to technological progress and other
subjects which are categorized under "Personalities" which may be reached
from the site index by poking "Personalities" on the left.  (most sites are very
rough at this point.  It is a lot of work to keep so many pages organized.)

Can you handle the situation where you are in a group of humans who are
laughing at the seemingly ridiculous proposition that robots might be
conscious and intelligent?  I have conditioned myself to sit and keep my
opinions to myself when surrounded by naive people.

Can you handle the situation where you find yourself in a group of robots who
are laughing at the ridiculous proposition that robots
cannot think?

Try viewing
Manipubot it has an example of robots making fun of you for not
believing that they can think and be intelligent.  What do you think?

Whether you agree that robots will be able to think and have will or not, I look
forward to discussing the possibilities with you.

And don't forget to go to Leftbot.  I promised you such solid reasoning that I
would make you into a Democrat...err...no, a full Marxist, by golly.

To show you the magic of my logic, check out
Leftbot where they say things like:
"Tackling the global obesity epidemic will require governments to take similar
action to that many used to curb smoking, a top researcher said on Wednesday."

Go to
Personalities