AI: What is a sentient being?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Bundokji
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

Post by Bundokji »

From an experiential point of view, I am not sure if there is a sufficient condition that warrants describing a particular subject a sentient being. There seems to be, however, necessary conditions that warrants describing the subject "sentient being".

There are twp ways of approaching the question "what":

1- You begin by defining what is a "sentient being" and then you go on searching for whatever matches that definition in the realm of experience.
2- You try to find a universal in all subjects that are described as "sentient beings" to find an accurate definition of what makes a particular subject/being "sentient".

More generally, the question is inseparable from the idea of "first hand experience" and how it came to be.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

Post by Ceisiwr »

Volo wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 2:37 pm Just asked a friend of mine, who speaks Tibetan, she said that "sentient" being in Tibetan is སེམས་ཅན་ sem-chen. Seem is mind (citta), chen is possessive particle, so it is "one, who has mind". Looks like "sentient being" would be a wrong translation from Tibetan as well.
Ha, interesting then it’s found so much in the Buddhist world. I wonder where the erroneous translation came from?
"Because of attachment to doctrines one approaches and refutes,
For those unattached, how can they dispute?
Not because self or no-self are said to be true,
He has only shaken off all harmful views."


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Coëmgenu
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

Post by Coëmgenu »

It's from the Chinese sentinel gave us

有情眾生

有情 is being read as "sentient." 情 has a sense of emotion in modern Chinese. It's possible someone (my guess is in the late 1800s) did some research and found a sense of "sensation" testified in older texts. I wouldn't know the specifics.

Not totally accurate, not totally inaccurate either as an English rendering.
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.

(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
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Ceisiwr
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

Post by Ceisiwr »

Coëmgenu wrote: Fri May 01, 2020 4:41 pm It's from the Chinese sentinel gave us

有情眾生

有情 is being read as "sentient." 情 has a sense of emotion in modern Chinese. It's possible someone (my guess is in the late 1800s) did some research and found a sense of "sensation" testified in older texts. I wouldn't know the specifics.

Not totally accurate, not totally inaccurate either as an English rendering.
👍🏻
"Because of attachment to doctrines one approaches and refutes,
For those unattached, how can they dispute?
Not because self or no-self are said to be true,
He has only shaken off all harmful views."


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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

Post by Pulsar »

Binocular asked
what about an arahant? Is an arahant a sentient being?
Arahant is sentient, but his connection to being is severed. In a soteriological sense, he is not
a "sentient being" even though he is sentient,
In DN 1 Buddha likens himself to a bunch of mangoes fallen off a tree, mangoes remain alive, but its connection to the tree is lost. Excerpt from Brahmajala sutta.
The body of the Tathagata remains, bhikkhus but its connection with 'being' (bhava) (Or Tree of Being) is severed. As long as his body remains gods and men see him. When the body breaks up, after life has been exhausted, gods and men do not see him
The outward form, of him who has won the truth, stands before the world, but that which binds it to rebirth (tree of being) is cut in twain
applies to all Arahants.
a beautiful metaphor, typical of Buddha.
It is just like, when a bunch of mangoes is cut off at the stalk, whatever mangoes are connected to the stalk, they all follow the bunch as it falls.
Sentience remains with the body, until it dies, even though he is cut off from the tree of being.
Happy weekend! :candle:
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

Post by No_Mind »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:42 pm Greetings everyone,

As we know, AI research is currently on going. If, one day, AI becomes a reality would said intelligence be classed as a sentient being in the Dhamma? Also, for orthodox views, would it also be subject to kamma and rebirth? What are the bare requirements needed to be classed as a sentient being?

Metta

:)
I don't know if it is relevant but there is no research into AI. There is research on Machine Learning or ML.

Previously a software would need input and an instruction (commonly called code) and if f(x) = 2x and x = 1, 2, 3, 4 .. it could calculate the answer as 2, 4, 6, 8 but ML needs few sets of examples and then if given an input and output (2, 3, 4) and (4, 9, 16) understand that the formula is "x squared" (each output is square of the input f(x) = x^2). In other words given sample code, it can self code something it needs to limited extent.

The best example of this in daily life is the Google Keyboard on Android. If you type "Good" then "Night" then "Donald" few times, it will show Good as soon as you hit G in upper case, then suggest Night and then suggest Donald. It can be trained quite well to store few hundred paragraphs. I have seen it work perfectly with 20 words (but it can't remember punctuation yet).

ML application lies in huge amount of big data crunching and spying on customers and citizens.

And also please note that as far as I know no sci-fi movie has shown a sentient character (one capable of being self aware and thus feel - humiliation, love, anger, hate). Characters such as Bishop in Aliens and Data in Star Trek are unable to feel pain or emotions and thus not sentient.

:namaste:
Last edited by No_Mind on Thu May 07, 2020 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

Post by Ceisiwr »

No_Mind wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 11:53 am
Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:42 pm Greetings everyone,

As we know, AI research is currently on going. If, one day, AI becomes a reality would said intelligence be classed as a sentient being in the Dhamma? Also, for orthodox views, would it also be subject to kamma and rebirth? What are the bare requirements needed to be classed as a sentient being?

Metta

:)
I don't know if it is relevant but there is no research into AI. There is research on Machine Learning or ML.

Previously a software would need input and a instruction (commonly called code) and if f(x) = 2x and x = 1, 2, 3, 4 .. it could calculate the answer as 2, 4, 6, 8 but ML needs few sets of examples and then if given an input and output (2, 3, 4) and (4, 9, 16) understand that the formula is "x squared" (each output is square of the input f(x) = x^2). In other words given sample code, it can self code something it needs to limited extent.

The best example of this in daily life is the Google Keyboard on Android. If you type "Good" then "Night" then "Donald" few times, it will show Good as soon as you hit G in upper case, then suggest Night and then suggest Donald. It can be trained quite well to store few hundred paragraphs. I have seen it work perfectly with 20 words (but it can't remember punctuation yet).

Its application lies in huge amount of big data crunching and spying on customers and citizens.

And also please note that as far as I know no sci-fi movie has shown a sentient character (one capable of being self aware and thus feel - humiliation, love, anger, hate). Characters such as Bishop in Aliens and Data in Star Trek are unable to feel pain or emotions and thus not sentient.

:namaste:
I stand corrected :)
"Because of attachment to doctrines one approaches and refutes,
For those unattached, how can they dispute?
Not because self or no-self are said to be true,
He has only shaken off all harmful views."


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No_Mind
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

Post by No_Mind »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 11:56 am
No_Mind wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 11:53 am
Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:42 pm Greetings everyone,

As we know, AI research is currently on going. If, one day, AI becomes a reality would said intelligence be classed as a sentient being in the Dhamma? Also, for orthodox views, would it also be subject to kamma and rebirth? What are the bare requirements needed to be classed as a sentient being?

Metta

:)
I don't know if it is relevant but there is no research into AI. There is research on Machine Learning or ML.

Previously a software would need input and a instruction (commonly called code) and if f(x) = 2x and x = 1, 2, 3, 4 .. it could calculate the answer as 2, 4, 6, 8 but ML needs few sets of examples and then if given an input and output (2, 3, 4) and (4, 9, 16) understand that the formula is "x squared" (each output is square of the input f(x) = x^2). In other words given sample code, it can self code something it needs to limited extent.

The best example of this in daily life is the Google Keyboard on Android. If you type "Good" then "Night" then "Donald" few times, it will show Good as soon as you hit G in upper case, then suggest Night and then suggest Donald. It can be trained quite well to store few hundred paragraphs. I have seen it work perfectly with 20 words (but it can't remember punctuation yet).

Its application lies in huge amount of big data crunching and spying on customers and citizens.

And also please note that as far as I know no sci-fi movie has shown a sentient character (one capable of being self aware and thus feel - humiliation, love, anger, hate). Characters such as Bishop in Aliens and Data in Star Trek are unable to feel pain or emotions and thus not sentient.

:namaste:
I stand corrected :)
Download Woebot CBT therapist.

I tried it. Takes huge time to learn about a person. I think you can also add Woebot as friend in FB. Go to Messenger type Woebot (or Hi Woebot, I am not sure) and add him/her as contact.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... t&hl=en_IN

Of course .. you will now not only be telling Google/Facebook what you purchase .. but innermost secrets of your life .. so use a new burner phone and a second throwaway Play Store ID or Facebook ID (that is cheaper of the two .. I guess)

:namaste:
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

Post by binocular »

No_Mind wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 11:53 amAnd also please note that as far as I know no sci-fi movie has shown a sentient character (one capable of being self aware and thus feel - humiliation, love, anger, hate).
Of course they do. That's the whole point of humanoid/android/robotoid fiction: to explore where the line is between humans and those that merely seem human or can function like humans.


Films off the top of my head:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicentennial_Man_(film)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I,_Robot_(film)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.I._Arti ... telligence
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avengers:_Age_of_Ultron
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner_2049
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A_S ... sey_(film)
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

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binocular wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 3:34 pm
No_Mind wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 11:53 amAnd also please note that as far as I know no sci-fi movie has shown a sentient character (one capable of being self aware and thus feel - humiliation, love, anger, hate).
Of course they do. That's the whole point of humanoid/android/robotoid fiction: to explore where the line is between humans and those that merely seem human or can function like humans.


Films off the top of my head:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicentennial_Man_(film)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I,_Robot_(film)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.I._Arti ... telligence
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avengers:_Age_of_Ultron
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner_2049
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A_S ... sey_(film)
I have seen all and forgotten a few like Bicentennial Man and original BR. But what I will like to mention is none mentioned sentience. Very well learned mimicry can seem like sentience. That was where Terminator: Dark Fate went .. The T-800 said as much.

Sentience vs mimicry is a fine line. And none of these films went into it .. instead choosing an umbrella term like AI. Teaching a machine to mimic a human closely is perhaps no more than a decade away.

Teaching a bot to exactly behave like a human on Facebook is now achievable. The bot takes a look at your past 10 years of FB behavior .. what you liked, the tone you used, emojis you prefer .. and then behave exactly like you. Does not mean the bot is you, though it sure can fool your relatives.

This is still machine learning not AI and far from sentience.

Edit Add - Even if I am wrong and a movie has shown a sentient android .. there is no AI till now. At least none that is publicly known. Its all ML.

:namaste:
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

Post by binocular »

No_Mind wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 5:00 pmI have seen all and forgotten a few like Bicentennial Man and original BR. But what I will like to mention is none mentioned sentience.
You said:
No_Mind wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 11:53 amAnd also please note that as far as I know no sci-fi movie has shown a sentient character (one capable of being self aware and thus feel - humiliation, love, anger, hate).
and by this standard, the robots in the mentioned films have sentience. They are sad, jealous, despaired, happy, ambitious, passionate, and have murderous and self-protective intentions.
Very well learned mimicry can seem like sentience.
And there are people who hold this view of some humans, and of animals.
"Don't pretend to be human!" is a line that comes to mind.
This is still machine learning not AI and far from sentience.

Edit Add - Even if I am wrong and a movie has shown a sentient android .. there is no AI till now. At least none that is publicly known. Its all ML.
Or maybe some people don't want to call it sentience and call it machine learning instead because knowing that the entity in question didn't come about in a "natural fashion", wasn't born, but was created by humans, is the deciding factor for them.

How exactly does human learning differ from machine learning? In what ways do they overlap?

How many humans would actually pass the Turing test?
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

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binocular wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 4:28 am
No_Mind wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 5:00 pmI have seen all and forgotten a few like Bicentennial Man and original BR. But what I will like to mention is none mentioned sentience.
You said:
No_Mind wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 11:53 amAnd also please note that as far as I know no sci-fi movie has shown a sentient character (one capable of being self aware and thus feel - humiliation, love, anger, hate).
and by this standard, the robots in the mentioned films have sentience. They are sad, jealous, despaired, happy, ambitious, passionate, and have murderous and self-protective intentions.
Okay you win a round after trying for two years. I was mistaken when I wrote that sci-fi films have not shown sentient beings. Happy now?
After the women and existentialism debate I am glad to let you have this one. :toast:
BTW in your list you missed David and his brother(?) from Prometheus and Alien Covenant. They both were sentient in a way.
But note that in the opening sequence of Prometheus, David is shown spending years mimicking humans, repeating "the trick is not minding that it hurts" just as Peter O'Toole said it. Interesting.

binocular wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 4:28 amHow exactly does human learning differ from machine learning? In what ways do they overlap?
I doubt you learned that the sky is blue based on lines of code.
binocular wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 4:28 am How many humans would actually pass the Turing test?
All. That is why it is the Turing test. Though I suspect that quite a few machines would too quite soon. Most current bots are able to carry on normal conversation quite well.

The Wozniak Test is better measure of sentience.



What I meant by sentience, human emotions, was little hard to explain. This is sentience and the only way AI would arrive at it is by mimicry.





Note to mods - I regret the overload of YT links but the concept was too hard to explain by text.

:namaste:
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

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Garrib
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

Post by Garrib »

AI probably already has, and IMO definitely will, be able to pass some version of the turing test with flying colors - meaning computers will be able to convince people that they are in fact sentient beings, when in reality they are mindless, feelingless, consciousnessless, non-living, etc...
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Re: AI: What is a sentient being?

Post by Kim OHara »

Garrib wrote: Sat May 09, 2020 6:20 am AI probably already has, and IMO definitely will, be able to pass some version of the turing test with flying colors - meaning computers will be able to convince people that they are in fact sentient beings, when in reality they are mindless, feelingless, consciousnessless, non-living, etc...
Some mindless, feelingless, consciousnessless humans also pass the Turing test.
If "non-living" is your only criterion for sentience, you have prejudged the question.
Does this mean some humans are not in fact sentient beings?

:coffee:
Kim
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