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Tarun
2 years

What defines our free will? On one hand it is argued consciousness and humanity's self awareness is what affects the choices we make in life. On the other, our brain is nothing but a computer, crunching information and creating the illusion of self.

The notion that our brain is just 'information processing' is called the computational theory of the mind, and argues that thinking is just one form of computing. But can a machine think? And is the mind really just a thinking machine?

There seems to be a huge difference in what the human mind does with information in comparison with what a computer can do. Whereas a computer analyses information through algorithms (a very rigorous step by step process),

The human mind actively uses experience and past knowledge to shape the interpretation of events. Is this a foreign form of computation or is there something truly unique about our minds that as far as we know, exists nowhere else in the universe...

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Australia, Banora Point
47 comments
Hanover Fiste
Very interesting card! I think what makes the human mind so amazingly different is the emotional experience. Emotions have a greater impact than logic. There is also possibly the spiritual experience that is above all. A machine will likely never have that experience. Human psychology is not any different than dogs. We are driven by pain/pleasure. This card is likely to get a lot of attention from many views....
TarunAuthor
I agree that emotions play an important role in distinguishing us from computers, but I suppose the real question is whether emotions are reducible to a formula, can they be accurately calculated. Because if they can, then what's to stop an AI developer from programming 'emotions' into their machine
Hanover Fiste
Tarun, just as a human actor can replicate emotions surely ai can as well. It just comes down to the programmers insight. However they wouldn't be genuine emotions and would be predictable. Random generators could be added but wouldn't be practical except to trick an observer.
Aura72
Iron Dog, I'd say if you create an Ai that reacts to stimuli with a certain emotional response as we do then that is the same thing.
....
In physics, there are only two possible reasons for something to happen: a deterministic law or pure chance. If we don't find a flaw in this, there isn't much room for "free will", am I right? On the other hand, the concept of free will is rather useful imo. It is more uplifting and inspiring than pure determinism, motivating people to research, develop and act responisibly.
bären friedrich
It is maybe false to argue with physics: If you look at the deterministic laws of mechanics and how they could be drives from stochastic laws of quantum mechanics. And there are also opposite examples. Because of this there are people who think, that you have to use the laws of same size level you working at, if you want to discuss freedom.
....
bären friedrich, sounds interesting. Please elaborate or post a link.
Hanover Fiste
I am having trouble understanding what physics has to do with free will. You may argue that the brain is physical and emotions are chemical thus physical but what is a spirit since science cannot prove or disprove it's existence. Many have attempted mind control including the CIA and yet the best method remains the pen.
bären friedrich
MaxMax, I can't finde my magazine, where I saw that article. That Guy showed how stochastic law could be driven from deterministic laws and vice versa. So QM can't necessarily imply the free will, because it can also imply determination uns M can't necessarily imply determination. Hmm ...I will look for that article again ;) But I found another source of argumentation: (link -> articles -> "Free Will as a Problem in Neurobiology") http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~jsearle/
....
Iron Dog, well, if all physical and chemical proccesses, like a falling ball or the oxidation of iron, are fully deterministic and predictable, so are all combinations of them, like, say, my arm. So at any given time, there's only one possible way my arm can move. Given enough information I should be able to predict its movement. If I could freely decide to move it to the right or to the left, at least one of those decisions would violate the laws of physics.
Hanover Fiste
MaxMax, so are you saying you can predict people?
....
Iron Dog, think of it as a roulette ball. Predicting the whole path of the ball is not possible as there are too many factors to take into account plus there is an element of pure chance (e.g. quantum effects) that can not be measured exactly. Still, there is no place for free will or cosciousness in the ball. I can predict that if I repeatedly through the ball it will end up on each number with a probability I can calculate. And I can predict small pieces of its path quite well, using the laws of physics. I (presumably) will never catch it denying the laws of physics. If the ball would act on free will, there should be results, those basic laws can't explain.
Hanover Fiste
MaxMax, I am not a ball. My ability to surprise you is not random chance. This is what free will is. You have done a brilliant job of pointing out what we are not. You are also leaving out the spiritual factor. Why do you dream? Why is your dream so odd and strange? Why is it sometimes scary? Why don't twin babies who have the exact same DNA and experience have the same dream?
....
Iron Dog, hm, if you go back to my first comment on this card, you will see that I just made a conclusion from the assumption that our understanding of the laws of nature is correct. The problem is, they are so right all the time. We don't find a single incident, where they are proven wrong. Sure, there are processes that are too complex to be measured in detail, but even as far as we can measure those, they do not prove the laws of physics wrong. So, as your body is a physical entity (like a ball), it should be bound by the same laws of physics. As I said in my first comment, if we find a flaw in those laws, there may be room for free will. Can you point me towards a flaw in the laws of physics?
Hanover Fiste
MaxMax, well...today's education teaches time proven physical laws. I would imagine many theories have arisen over the centuries that got thrown out. Like the one I am responding to maybe....
....
Iron Dog, sorry, too much "imagine" and "maybe" and not enough "look here" for me. Nevermind.
Hanover Fiste
MaxMax, do you want some examples? Just look at Edison who said " I haven't failed I just found 1000 ways that don't work." All of our knowledge comes from people dedicating their lives to trial and error.
....
Iron Dog, yes. How many trials have you done, yet? I'm eagerly waiting for your results.
TarunAuthor
MaxMax, you are also pointing to 'maybe' in your argument. You're making the assumption that the brain relies exclusively on the workings of normal physics and in no way to the random nature of quantum mechanics. We don't know for sure how exactly the brain works and so your assumption is just as invalid as the one you're arguing against
Jaymes
Tarun, But randomness can't be equal to free will.
....
Jaymes, from the outside it may look like free will, like, if you make every decision in your life by flipping a coin. But it's not what we mean when we talk about free will.
Jaymes
MaxMax, that's what I meant, yes.
Sam
This is pretty deep for so early
Aura72
With a God free will is all but impossible like Islamic 'predestination' (look up Darkmatter2525 and free will to get a better explanation than I can give) but if you believe in a multiverse, with an infinite amount of possibilities for everything, then you are planned out as one of those specific possibilities and so free will doesn't exist.
TarunAuthor
Free will still exists in the sense that the direction our life takes is ultimately up to us. We are still free to choose between differing options, just because the universe in a multiverse is already aware of our decision doesn't take away from the fact that we still made that decision
Aura72
Tarun, doesn't it? It's still set out for us and while we make a decision, the fact that we would make the decision was never in doubt.
TarunAuthor
Aura72, unless we are in a position where we can observe the choices we make from a external viewpoint, the decision still exists, at least for us. Yes it may be predetermined but we still chose that choice, not some force of nature
Hanover Fiste
I'm amazed that a card about free will attracts so many quantum physics scientists! Suddenly this is the answer to everything just like graphene and electric cars. I still don't have my electric car and nothing I own is made of graphene. Have you ever thought that maybe our minds operate on a level we have not discovered yet and can't explain? Or do you want to be like the food scientists who change their mind every few years? Not long ago we were heading to an ice age. You could argue with them it was a fact. Eggs were bad for you. Now wheat is dangerous. What's next?
Aura72
Buy an electric car then, they are out there you know. It's not just given to you. Hopefully they're still working to make graphene the wonder material they claimed it to be. I'm sure they've thought maybe our minds operate on a different level that was can't explain but why just leave it at that? At least try to solve it from our knowledge today and work towards knowing more in the future. The nutritionists are all over the place I agree but changing ones mind isn't a bad thing, believe what theory you are able to make until you can disprove that for a better theory.
Hanover Fiste
Aura72, ever heard of vaporware?
TarunAuthor
Iron Dog, if you're referring to electric cars then they are far from vaporware. The company Tesla being a prime example
Hanover Fiste
Tarun, no vaporware is a general term but electric cars won't be mainstream for a long time. First theyre too expensive. You save money in fuel but by the time you save $5000 you need a new $10000 battery. The power grid can't handle 240 million cars plugged in all night. If we didn't have those obstacles trust me I would have one today.
TarunAuthor
Iron Dog, I was referring to vaporware in relation to electric cars. And they're not supposed to be mainstream. At least not yet, they exist in a niche market but that market is growing and when there is demand for more power from the grid, it will be supplied
Aura72
Iron Dog, they're too expensive as big companies want you to pay for petroleum products and so are suppressing it as much as possible
Hanover Fiste
Aura72, why would an electronics company want you to give your money to an oil company? You're making no sense. You have every right to waste your money on an electric car
Aura72
Iron Dog, I'm saying that big companies like BP etc that sell petroleum based products are limiting the funding or getting rid of any new innovative ideas that could make electric cars more efficient or just easier to make and so cheaper. They would much rather you buy regular cars so you buy their products
Hanover Fiste
Aura72, so you're saying Exxon can take money away from Tesla? I don't follow your logic. It's not Exxon's fault Tesla can't make a cheap lithium battery. Samsung and LG have been trying to make better cheaper batteries too. It's called reality and physics. I must be missing details to your conspiracy theory.....
Aura72
Iron Dog, I'm sorry you are a little slow. I can't be bothered arguing since we both know that neither opinion will change.
Hanover Fiste
Aura72, lol nice way to answer when you can't admit you're wrong!
Aura72
Iron Dog, ouch, rofl, I got fking rkt m(7+1)
Aura72
Iron Dog, nah randomness aside I don't believe I'm wrong so I won't admit it, I literally can not be bothered continuing. So I bid you a jew and owe your voir.
Hanover Fiste
Aura72, racist....
Aura72
Iron Dog, are you saying being Jewish is a bad thing?
Hanover Fiste
Aura72, nope. I was joking but didn't get back to say that soon enough lol. I don't think being ANY race is an insult. Racism is when one race hates another. It doesn't have to be white vs ( insert race here)
Aura72
The It...Yeah, huh we finally agree on something haha.
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