Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

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fckw
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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by fckw » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:19 am

doublerepukken wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:54 pm
I'm sure this question has been asked before, but I've been pretty preoccupied with it.

Once AI reaches a certain stage, it, theoretically, will become indistinguishable from organic human sentience assuming we get there. I think that they (AI) would therefore have Buddha-nature, but was curious if anyone thinks they wouldn't and why

Namu Amida Butsu
I work for a team who develops such "advanced AI". The basic question is whether any AI advanced enough would ever have "human-like intelligence" and ultimately "human-like mind". And therefore also buddha-nature.j

The answer is pretty simple: You're looking from the wrong angle. Or you have - as basically everyone - a wrong understanding what makes human intelligence. It's not the brain; it's the brain embodied in a human body interacting with a human-world environment.

There will never be an AI as intelligent as a human being that does not fulfil the criteria above. Only if this AI has a human body (exactly like humans, i.e. made of cells, tissue etc.) and live in a comparable environment will it be possible for it to be as intelligent as a human being. But, if there's a robot who is exactly like a human and lives in a human world, isn't it then... nothing else but a human? (If you don't know what I mean, just watch Blade Runner. That's what the movie is all about.)

So: Would an artificial AI-robot who is 100% like a human being have Buddha-nature?

I'm sure you can answer that one yourself.

fckw
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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by fckw » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:23 am

Deepmind is a great example for an AI that is utterly stupid. It can only play games where the rules are so narrowly defined that they are basically nothing but pure mathematics. Any machine can beat a human when it comes to calculating probabilities.

The really interesting games are not those played by computers, but by human beings. For example the game of individuation.

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:25 pm

Artificial Intelligence has no cause to experience suffering.
Intelligence, cognition, consciousness, and so forth, is not a thing, but a collection of rapidly occurring, ever changing events.
The brain is made of fat, water, salts, and amino acids, all of which are merely molecular compounds.
Are molecular compounds cognizant of their own occurrence (existence)?
Does a computer create the user of the computer?
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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fckw
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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by fckw » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:18 am

The first thing to understand is that there is really no difference whatsoever between a human and a computer. Brain or chip - it's both material. Both have nothing to do with "mind". In other words, the relation between mind and brain/chip is similar to the relation between the material world and the ideal world. If this is still too complicated to understand, consider this example:

Writing software means following abstract principles that exist nowhere except in your mind. In the very moment you write code it is translated into physical matter, i.e. binary digits stored on a magnetized layer in your hard drive. Looking at the computer chip and its execution over time will never explain to you the ideas of software you followed. And the ideas of software will be entirely useless to you unless realized in physical matter so that they actually effect the material world. The distinction between the world of ideas and the world of matter is a silly belief that was initiated by the Greeks - and we still fall for it. Yes, they are different, but they are not distinct. In fact, they are like 2 sides of a coin. You cannot remove one side of a coin without removing the coin entirely.

Postulating a mind (even an enlightened mind) that exists without a physical body is entirely baseless. What would such a mind do? Postulating that you can understand the mind by looking at the physical body is entirely ridiculous. (That's why the infamous blue brain project is a costly mistake.)

Therefore, either everything or nothing possesses Buddha-nature. "Life" and/or "Buddha-nature" are not a secret essence or "jouissance" that someone enjoys but someone else, e.g. a rock, does not. There is no such secret essence that some things magically possess and others don't. To believe so is the root of all religion. This should be obvious to everyone who carefully observes and thinks about the world. I am continuously amazed at all the strange believes Westerners (and Easterners alike, by the way) hold. The reject a Christian God, but at the same time believe in Buddha nature as if it was something magical.

Ask differently. Is a rock sentient? Well, to answer we have to define what you mean by sentient. If all you ask for is whether it can be effected upon, then, yes, of course. You can take a hammer and smash the rock to pieces. So, it's sentient. If you mean something else by sentience, you'd have to define it first. For example, if you say: Sentience is having emotions about something, then obviously a rock is not sentient. However, the definition is probably not a very solid one. If you don't want to define it then you end up in the world of religious believes.

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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by Bristollad » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:44 am

fckw wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:18 am
Postulating a mind (even an enlightened mind) that exists without a physical body is entirely baseless. What would such a mind do? Postulating that you can understand the mind by looking at the physical body is entirely ridiculous. (That's why the infamous blue brain project is a costly mistake.)

Therefore, either everything or nothing possesses Buddha-nature. "
This is a false dichotomy imho nor does it accord with what I've understood of the Dharma. You seem to think that what is translated as sentient being from Buddhist writings has the same meaning as saying a thing responds to outer stimuli, that can be affected. This is a mistake. Also, remember that a fully enlightened buddha is said not to be a sentient being.
"Sentient,” by the way, I don’t how good a term that is, I prefer “limited beings,” which, unfortunately, comes out as “handicapped beings” when you translate that into other languages. It’s not an easy term; but it’s referring to two terms here, one is “semchen” (sems-can), and the other is “luchen” (lus-can). “Semchen” is one who has a “sem” (sems), which is a limited mind; a Buddha doesn’t have a “sem.” It is a limited mind, so it’s beings with limited minds. Often people think of Buddha as still a sentient being, but a Buddha isn’t included in that group. Beings with limited minds, those are the ones we want to help reach enlightenment or gain liberation. And then “luchen” is those with limited bodies. A Buddha doesn’t have that kind of “lu” (lus); it’s a different word for a body of a Buddha.
. Alex Berzin: 7-Part Bodhichitta: Equanimity

fckw
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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by fckw » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:44 pm

Well, if you really want to go into Buddhist theory of how things are (which was always meant to be a soteriology, and much less so an ontology, by the way) then you should remember that, according to the view of certain Buddhist schools, the four extremes also apply to sentient beings, Buddhas and Buddha-nature. Thus, to say that sentient beings exist or don't exist, neither exist nor not exist etc. is certainly a mistake. At least in the view of those schools. (You may favor other schools, but then it's your choice, not a necessity or a superior argument.)

Or, we can simply drop the whole Buddhist schmu and look at it from a more modern, scientific point of view. Which is what I tried to offer.

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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by fckw » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:51 pm

By the way:
Bristollad wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:44 am
This is a false dichotomy imho nor does it accord with what I've understood of the Dharma.
Yes, of course. I did not take a "dharmic" position in my critique above, but a position based on Western science and philosophy. I think this is a fair position to take to look at a topic such as artificial intelligence. (Also a misnomer, by the way, as there is absolutely nothing artificial in intelligence. Either it's intelligent, or it's stupid. Just a matter of degrees, really.)

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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:13 pm

fckw wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:44 pm
(which was always meant to be a soteriology, and much less so an ontology, by the way)
Excellent.

In other words... Upaya.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

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Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
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Bristollad
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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by Bristollad » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:17 pm

fckw wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:44 pm
Or, we can simply drop the whole Buddhist schmu and look at it from a more modern, scientific point of view. Which is what I tried to offer.
fckw wrote: Yes, of course. I did not take a "dharmic" position in my critique above, but a position based on Western science and philosophy. I think this is a fair position to take to look at a topic such as artificial intelligence.
So based on this non-dharmic position, it is possible to conclude that all things have buddha nature or nothing does? How does western science or philosophy talk about buddha nature?

As I pointed out, there seems to be a mistaken conflating of what is meant by the use of sentient when translating Buddhist texts, and what is meant when it is used in western science.

As for soteriology vs ontology: bah, whatever, just jargon for me.

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:59 am

Buddha Nature is not a thing that an entity, a person or object has or doesn't have,
like a belly button,
even though the convenient phrase is used, "all beings have Buddha Nature".
The term describes the assertion that the fundamental, or original nature of mind is clear and luminous and free of confusion.
It means that the true nature of the minds of all beings is that way.
But it has to be understood in the context that "beings" do not have intrinsic existence to begin with, but arise conditionally.
A human being is a long series of rapidly occurring events, of cells dividing, of molecules breaking apart and bonding with other molecules, and of brain activity which is electrical charges and chemical interactions which have no ability or potential to experience anything,
but which arise as the mind nonetheless, appearing as experience, the experience of thoughts and feelings.

There are only two (classes of) things that we can be certain of, that we know occur:
awareness, and objects of awareness (which includes awareness).

What we experience as fear, or as anger, are molecules in the blood stream entering the brain, causing our heartbeat to increase and our pores to perspire. The molecular compounds that we experience as emotions fear and anger are almost identical in structure.

Artificial intelligence has an "awareness" of objects insofar as it can rapidly calculate and eliminate those things which something is not. In other words,
a robot knows something is a screwdriver because it has rapidly eliminated everything in the detection of an object that is not a characteristic of a screwdriver.
But it has no experience of its own mechanical or electronic functioning as anything other than that functioning. It may detect when a circuit is overheating, for example, but it does not experience that as heat. So, if a robot had a kind of brain where some kind of circuitry like molecules for anger were triggered, as in the human brain, there might be a programmed option response that resembles human anger, but there would not be an experience of that circuit activity as anger.

A robot may be free from suffering, but it cannot experience that freedom.
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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

fckw
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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by fckw » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:32 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:59 am
Artificial intelligence has an "awareness" of objects insofar as it can rapidly calculate and eliminate those things which something is not. In other words,
a robot knows something is a screwdriver because it has rapidly eliminated everything in the detection of an object that is not a characteristic of a screwdriver.
But it has no experience of its own mechanical or electronic functioning as anything other than that functioning. It may detect when a circuit is overheating, for example, but it does not experience that as heat.
This is indeed the crucial point, in my eyes. Very briefly speaking: Nobody has ever built a robot that had such a thing as a self-concept (whatever this would mean). After all, we don't even know how anyone could ever construct such a robot. Just adding more computer power would not automatically add such a self-concept to the executing machine, it would simply make the machine faster/bigger.

Intelligence that is "human like", whatever this might consist of in detail, would at least require some self-concept, the "feeling of I". Something the machine could refer to as "This is me" and "that's not me". But such a computer would no longer work like those known to us. It would not simply execute orders, it would actually start questioning them. It might come up with surprising answers to simple questions like: What's 11+31? Perhaps on Sundays it would not want to work anymore, because, after all, human's don't work on Sundays neither. And, it would certainly start asking questions such as: Why was I constructed by my engineer in the first place? Does another robot like me also feel like me? When the other perceives the color red, does this other perceive red in the same way I do? Why is there not just nothing but something? Is there really an "I" anywhere in my circuitry?

Thinking about all this we come to a surprising insight: 1) Such a robot/computer would be utterly useless to us. 2) Such a robot already exists.

1: It would be utterly useless because we don't need robots/computers that question the meaning of calculating two numbers. We need computers that reliably execute our commands and come to the same result no matter what circumstances my be.
2: Every child that is born in this world is exactly such a self-conscious robot. As we can see the word "robot" is misleading because it's functioning is so amazingly complex that we would never even dream of using the word robot for a human being. Yet, from a certain perspective, that's exactly what every human being is: the most advanced and awesome AI that ever walked on this planet.

muni
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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by muni » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:07 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:59 am
Buddha Nature is not a thing that an entity, a person or object has or doesn't have,
like a belly button,
"if a disciple still clings to the arbitrary illusions of form or phenomena such as an ego, a personality, a self, a separate person, or a universal self-existing eternally, then that person is not an authentic disciple."
"The Buddha then spoke to Subhuti: “All that has a form is illusive and unreal. When you see that all forms are illusive and unreal, then you will begin to perceive your true Buddha nature.” Diamond Sutra. ( cling=belief it is "real" existences by itself)
But it has no experience of its own mechanical or electronic functioning as anything other than that functioning.
A “stream” of stored continuation of expressible knowledgeable formulations. It is then ignorant storage of knowledges.
Buddha said all is empty like my brain.
Let’s make a selfie!

Having meditated on love and compassion, I forgot the difference between myself and others. Yogi Milarepa.

muni
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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by muni » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:37 pm

As I heard yesterday that what we see as robots will become smarter than humans and since Transcendental Wisdom itself cannot be taught, how can a computer or robot know its’ Nature what is not to find in the limitations of the intellect or this interacting energy?

What is IQ is something difficult to define I guess, I can't anyway. While it looks depending energy on a knower and knowledge and then the knowing. ( even not aware of that regarding robot)

At least "human" is said to be a conditioned confused state ( desire) with the potential to be free of its' confusion and spontaneous wish All to be free.
:buddha1: :heart:
A robot may be free from suffering, but it cannot experience that freedom.
That is somehow looking like blankness.
Buddha said all is empty like my brain.
Let’s make a selfie!

Having meditated on love and compassion, I forgot the difference between myself and others. Yogi Milarepa.

dharmafootsteps
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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by dharmafootsteps » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:21 pm

Upcoming talk on this topic at RYI. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche seems to be quite into the topic of AI just now, I've heard him mentioned it a few times.

I imagine it'll go up on soundcloud afterwards, they usually do.

Image

fckw
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Re: Would advanced AI possess Buddha-nature?

Post by fckw » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:25 am

There is a lot of confusion because many people never systematically think through these things. Some crucial questions are:
1. Is intelligence really restricted to do symbol manipulations, i.e. to calculate with binary numbers?
2. How are consciousness (let's not distinguish for a moment between consciousness and awareness, although this would be another interesting discussion) and intelligence related?
3. Is "having consciousness" a binary event - either you have it or you don't? Or are there rather degrees of consciousness? Or is it again entirely different, so neither binary nor a matter of degrees?
4. Is intelligence really something that "emerges" somehow from a conglomerate of something at some point? If yes, then what sort of conglomerate would this be? What would the characteristics of it that out of the blue there is some intelligence where before was none?
5. Same as 4, but with consciousness rather than intelligence.
6. Can there be consciousness/intelligence without an underlying conglomerate? How are the two really related, can one exist independently of the other?
7. What is relation between the conglomerate's characteristics, its form and intelligence/consciousness?
8. Could it perhaps be that both intelligence and consciousness are not even "one thing", but in fact "many things", or perhaps even whole "multi-layered, permeating networks of things", or, to complicate even further, autopoietic (and thus dynamic) processes that societies of agents establish in reaction to changing events in an environment?
9. Are the postulations of consciousness and intelligence perhaps "political discourses of power" that in fact do not so much describe an ontologically given reality, but rather constitute hidden power structures that try to construct reality rather than describe it? If so, whose interest would it be to keep up such discourses and steer them in a given direction?
10. And finally: Can there be no consciousness (or no awareness) whatsoever?

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