Tag Archive for Sartre

Ep 11: Self Awareness and AI; Do Cylons dream of electric sheep?

The guys start with definitions and a little talk about privacy of thought and asolipsism
Bruce asks about the granting of intelligence for argumentative purposes
Sean gives his definitions of the difference between virtual and artificial intelligence
Ryver asks how we might know the difference
Sean talks about the Turing test its strengths and weaknesses
Bruce asks if the god’s eye view might not break the vision of intelligence
the guys toss around the notion of an AI having a virtual world to be compared to and whether or not it would know there was anything else outside its artificial world
Bruce likens the theoretical AI to a child learning about the world
Sean asks if the AI’s reality would extend beyond the machine to the external world
Ryver asks how anonymity effects the ability to believe in the outside world
Bruce suggests that the AI may extrapolate a model of the outside world
Sean argues that it would not know this as another greater reality but more as if it were a game
Bruce suggests that it may view our world as a conspiracy theory
Sean suggests that to an AI the notion of our biological/physical world would seem so alien as to be absurd
Ryver suggests that the inability to directly observe is the problem
Bruce suggests that the AI might be atheistic in regard to humans
Sean likens the AI’s understanding of physical reality to our experience of dinosaurs if we had no evidence
Bruce points out that the topic has shifted to would an AI believe in us
Sean counters that this is a crucial piece because for an AI to know it is an AI it must understand that there are different intelligence
Bruce wonders if the AI’s inability to believe in our intelligence isn’t telling of our ability to believe in AI
Ryver brings us back to Cylon’s
Sean talks a little BSG lore
Bruce points out that in order to question the AI’s experience we first have to have granted that it has a Cartesian theater
Sean points out that arguing about whether or not a strong AI could exist is a bit of dead horse beating
Ryver brings up Moore’s law and the kind of futurism that leads to asking questions about AI
Bruce talks about semantics and syntax as seen in John Searle’s work and David Chalmers philosophical zombies
Sean talks about Cylon’s levels of self awareness and the awareness of humans about the presence of Cylon’s
Ryver talks about Cylon’s and emotions
Sean brings up replicants and Blade Runner
The guys talk about the Voight-Kampff test and what it tells us about our ideas of humanity
Ryver relates this back to existentialism
Bruce talks about the desire for humanity
Sean relates the inability to differentiate to a kind of creeping nihilism
Ryver points out that Philip K Dick had always intended for the story to leave us unsure if Deckard the main character was himself a replicant
Sean talks about the 4 stages of nihilism in Nietzsche’s work and the relationship between human and replicant
Bruce asks if a Cylon that doesn’t know what it is becomes aware does that destroy part of who that “person” was before?
The guys kick around that it means to have your world view drastically changed suddenly
Ryver brings in the concept of dreaming and what we mean by it in the title
Sean breaks down sleep dreams and aspirational dreams
Sean takes the last word to puzzle a bit about why we find the topic of sci-fi, artificial intelligence, and what it means to be human so fascinating

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Ep 10: Cyberpunk and Dystopia; Whats to love about what we fear?

The guys discuss the state of mega-corp’s and merging of very large companies

Bruce brings up the reduction in wages and the rise of available technologies

Sean talks about the tragic elements of Cyberpunk

Sean wonders what there is to like about tragedy

Bruce brings up the idea of noir romanticism

Sean talks about flawed characters and Ryver talks about the hopefulness embedded in tragedy

The guys discuss theories of tragedy in philology

Ryver asks us to consider historical forces as a central focus of the need for tragedy

Sean suggests schadenfreude as a possible explanation

Ryver talks about the focus of old tragedy being the world ending in some sense

Sean juxtaposes worlds ending with cyberpunk’s sense that the world just drones on without us

Bruce and Sean discuss the ideas of utopia and dystopia as less grand notions and more slight changes in trajectory

Ryver gives some examples of each and identifies some commonalities between them

Sean analogizes the concepts to Startrek vs Star Wars

Ryver talks a little about how scarcity and desire weave into the landscape of cyberpunk

Bruce brings up the prevalence of technologies that are amazing and yet treated as unimpressive

Sean paraphrases a quote “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.” by G.K. Chesterton to discuss the technologies of the cyberpunk aesthetic

The whole group discusses the incredible ability of cyberpunk to predict future conditions and the humanistic elements that weave us into the story

Bruce brings up “1984” and “Brave New World” as archetypes of dystopian fiction that shape cyberpunk

Sean talks about Schopenhauer’s metaphysics and the duality of the Terrible Reality and the Beautiful Illusion as they are presented and how they influenced Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy

Bruce brings up H.P. Lovecraft and Ryver refines the concepts involved in dread

The guys discuss the notion of existential dread and how it relates to “Soylent Green”

Sean refocuses the discussion onto what what gets out of dread

Ryver talks about the satisfaction of being manipulated instead of being at the whim of uncaring unthinking forces

Sean suggests that the reason we connect so strongly is that we are all the people who would make the choices that lead to a cyberpunk future

Bruce suggests that the cyberpunk hero is the existentialist hero: condemned to freedom and burdened by the knowledge of whats really going on

Ryver disagrees and cites 1984 as a character who escapes the burden of absolute freedom

Sean brings up the famous Satre quote “Hell is other people” and suggest that if we are the background characters then we are the means by which the hero is made to suffer

The guys mull over the idea of what a hero or protagonist is in the cyberpunk genre

Ryver brings up the idea that our complacency is the force which makes cyberpunk possible

Sean talks about the rabble-rouser and journalism specifically the quote that the job of the press is “To afflict the comfortable, and comfort the afflicted.” and how it relates to the cyberpunk state of affairs

Ryver talks about this as it relates to the notion of stagnation and growth

Bruce talks about this as an appeal of cyberpunk

Ryver takes the last word to recommend some great cyberpunk literature.

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