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Thread: Animals

  1. #25
    endparenthesis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (TheAlphaWolf @ Mar. 08 2005,7:52)]I think that for something to think ahead, it has to have a sense of self. It has to be concious. You have to think what YOU are going to do and where you're going to be at that time... and the spider thinks ahead so I don't see how it can NOT be concious.
    Try looking at it from the bottom up... if someone designed a machine that had programming sophisticated enough to give it the same behaviors of a fish/amphibian/whatever... if it looked for food and potential mates... if it went to great lengths to avoid harm to itself... etc etc, would you consider it conscious? Even if you could look at the schematic and know for sure it wasn't equipped with the hardware needed to facilitate it? And knowing its behaviors were dictated entirely by a transparent set of rules?

    It's easy to respond with, "But they're animals, they aren't synthetic." But what do you say as the gap between them gets smaller and smaller? How will you look at them when the only significant difference is the materials they're constructed from? In fact, one of the most efficient ways to program a robot to do these things is to design it so it learns them just like an animal would (e.g. neural nets).

    Even chess programs think ahead. They just have an extremely narrow, specialized focus. It's an algorithm.

    With all the things you said in the evolution thread I'm a little surprised that you feel such an energy-draining feature (especially for tiny tiny bodies) so unnecessary to survival for many creatures is so universal. I think maybe we're just giving different meanings to different terms?

    What I meant by not knowing what consciousness is... I know the dictionary definition, I know what I think it is, but it still has a level of perpetual undefinable mystique to it (there's at least one school of philosophy devoted entirely to it). There's a lot we don't understand about the brain, but so far the neocortex appears to be integral if not essential to self-awareness (the cortex is involved too, but in a much more primal way).

    I just feel this gray area we're talking about exists a little bit higher up the evolutionary tree than other people seem to, and I only feel that way because that's what the evidence has suggested to me so far.

    I feel a lot of the assumptions people make about some lifeforms comes from anthropomorphization rather than evidence. I think it's interesting that even as machines get much more intelligent than animals in the future, we'll still automatically see them as lifeless hunks of metal and plastic... not because they're inferior but because we won't be inclined to anthropomorphize them. Until they start looking and acting like us anyway... program a machine to scream and cry when you dent it and I guarantee some people will start freaking out about it.

    I don't know where the conscious/not-conscious line is drawn exactly (not that there's a hard and fast line), but it seems to me that a cold-blooded creature's body would be much stingier with its resources. I wish I could point to a source on just how much energy higher brain functions draw from the body, but I can't seem to find one right now.

    You should really read some Ray Kurzweil or Marvin Minsky books or something... I think they'd be right up your alley.

  2. #26

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    spiders also learn when making their webs. It has been shown that if a pray item is put on the same spot on the web, the spider will change the shape of the web by strenghtening the areas around it... that's very complex if you ask me. after all, they take down their web every day and make a new one. They have to remember where it has been catching the pray (and some level of countin has to be there) and then make adjustments as needed. That' can't be instinct.

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Who said goldfish have only a 5 second memory?
    people who want to justify keeping them in tiny little fish bowls.
    They don't have a 5 second memory span and they do learn.
    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Psychologist Dr Phil Gee claims his research on goldfish explodes the myth
    that they have a three second memory span - he reckons they remember for at
    least three months.

    Dr Gee, of Plymouth University, trained goldfish to collect food at certain
    times of day.

    He said: "We taught them to press a lever in their bowl to get food.

    "Any time they hit the lever they got some food dispensed into the bowl.

    "Once they got the hang of it we narrowed it down so it dispensed food for
    just one hour a day.

    "The fish worked out that if they hit the lever around that time they would
    get some food."
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  3. #27
    endparenthesis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (Zongyi_Yang @ Mar. 08 2005,9:06)]Only mammals and birds? What about my favorite Cephalopods like the Octopus, Squid and Cuttlefish?
    Cephalopods are amazing, I'm very interested in them too. I was thinking about them when I was posting but I wasn't sure what to say about them. I don't know where they stand... does anyone know of any serious studies on their brains? Like whales and dolphins, they live in an alien environment (compared to ours) that puts them on paths of development that are hard for us to understand.

    There are a lot of gray areas here... and I never claimed to have the answers, only that there are questions people aren't asking themselves that they should be.

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    I dont know, but isn't all of the spiders web spinning skills instinct? They know how to do it the second they are born. If building a complex web can be done on instinct, I dont think why straitening and putting prey in places cant be instinct too. I dont like to think that memory can define consiousness because a computer has alot of memory yet no consiousness. Spiders may have memory, and I think they use instinct to extract bits and pieces to remember where they put their food.

    "They don't have a 5 second memory span and they do learn." Totally agreed . Zongyi
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  5. #29

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    I dont know of any studies on cephalopod brains, but I do know that an octopus has more lobes in one area than a human to contral all of its eight arms [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img] . Zongyi
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  6. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]if someone designed a machine that had programming sophisticated enough to give it the same behaviors of a fish/amphibian/whatever... if it looked for food and potential mates... if it went to great lengths to avoid harm to itself... etc etc, would you consider it conscious?
    I don't know... it depends.
    hmm.... ok... so what's the difference between "concious" animals and animals who aren't "concious"? I bet you could make a super-complex computer that could interact just like a human does. would it be concious?
    a chess playing computer isn't concious. it has no sense of self, because ... it's hard to put this into words... it doesn't plan ahead for IT. the spider knows IT is going to be above the spiderweb and be able to pounce on the spider.
    another question... what IS a sense of self? is it knowing you exist? is it thinking about yourself as separate from your body (like humans do... this is me, that's my brain, that's my body. You don't think you are your brain.)? is it realizing that those hands you see are yours?
    I don't know...
    Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish-Euripides
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  7. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]I dont know, but isn't all of the spiders web spinning skills instinct? They know how to do it the second they are born.
    yeah, spinning a web is instinct, but they have to learn where the most flies are cought, remember it, and then build a new web to fit the situation.
    instincts can be overriden. I think spiders have a blueprint of how to make a web, but they don't always build it like that, so... i guess what I'm trying to say here is that it's not ALL instinct. the instinct to build a web is there, but it's not instinct to build it the way they're building it at the moment.
    (lol... i'm I making sense?)
    PS.
    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]I dont know of any studies on cephalopod brains, but I do know that an octopus has more lobes in one area than a human to contral all of its eight arms .
    I remember reading somewhere that their arms have their own "brains" somehow... kind of like a king. a king controls the land, but it has people lower than them to control other things.
    I don't really remember what it said though :P
    Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish-Euripides
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  8. #32

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    And thats something that we will probably never know. It could be all preprogrammed instinct, like a very adaptable computer, or it could also not be. Unless we can go into a spiders brain, we would never know.

    The thing I would like to know is that if most animals have a conciousness, wouldn't they develop speach by now, and for the whales, monkies, cuttlefish, etc that do communicate, why havn't they built up something artificial (other than monkies, but it doesn't help them survive much). If hands and thumbs are an excuse, couln't they have at least learned war, nest building, etc.? I've seen tribes of monkies fight each other on tv, but I dont see them useing spears or anything like that. I dont see dolphins building dens out of leaves. If monkies do have a consciousness, they must know that useing a stick to poke is safer than useing their hands. So can we say that we are the only conscious ones on earth? Zongyi
    What you want to do is illeagle here in Canada.
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