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How do I know that you exist?

  1. Jul 19, 2003 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    I have a theory that Greg is really an evil genius that has created this entire web site just to mess with my head. You are really all just computer algorithms designed to entertain me with conflicting philosophies and opinions.



    I was just reading something that makes me wonder: May this be almost possible now? I am quite sure that you are all out there. But when do our computers become entertaining in their own right? Even conversational? I would think this technology is not far off. Does anyone know about the state of such things?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 19, 2003 #2
    Maybe noone but you in the world is real or conscious.
     
  4. Jul 19, 2003 #3
    A question that's as old as Descartes.... Is there an evil deceiver?

    eNtRopY
     
  5. Jul 19, 2003 #4
    This same question was asked in the old PFs, by lbooda (now Loren Booda), but it was posted in the Philosophy section.

    As I see it (and as others have alluded to) it isn't (philosophically) any more certain that I'm real, when you see me in person.
     
  6. Jul 19, 2003 #5
    But according to Descartes' Discorse on Method, we cannot know for certain that seeing is believing. There could be a source of deception that causes us to believe in the existance of anything outside ourselves. The only thing we can absolutely be certain of is that we ourselves exist. For non-existant entities do not and cannot raise questions.

    I think; therefore, I am.

    eNtRopY
     
  7. Jul 19, 2003 #6
    Yes I know (I love Descartes, even though alot of his ideas have been disproven), this was my point. I said that it isn't any more certain that I exist, if I were to meet him in person (his mind could be playing tricks on itself).
     
  8. Jul 19, 2003 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Isn't there some kind of challenge to create a computer that is capable of conversation, and that cannot be identified by the observer as man or machine? Has this been done?

    As far as existence: Descarte changed mine.
     
  9. Jul 19, 2003 #8
    You don't. But does it really matter whether i exist or not?
     
  10. Jul 19, 2003 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    Hey I write code for a living. I don't want to talk with it for entertainment.
     
  11. Jul 19, 2003 #10

    Hurkyl

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    It's the "Turing test"
     
  12. Jul 20, 2003 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    Last edited: Jul 20, 2003
  13. Jul 23, 2003 #12

    hypnagogue

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    The technology is farther off than you might think. All the Turing-test type programs that have been written so far are conversational to some degree, but it often doesn't take very long to detect peculiar or monotonous responses, or responses that essentially dodge the intended topic of conversation, as I'm sure you've found out for yourself after toying with some of these programs on the web page you found. After 5 or 10 minutes, the novelty inevitably wears off and there is nothing else interesting to see.

    The problem is that conversational programs are designed around notions of manipulating syntax, whereas real human conversation only uses syntax to give formal structure to the meaning behind a given utterance, its semantics. We will not be able to build a program that really holds good conversations until we can understand how to somehow code the program to understand semantics; this, of course, gets into the much stickier issue of computer consciousness.
     
  14. Jul 23, 2003 #13
    coupled with a simplistic need for the computer to be smarter then you as to be able to keep you entertained..

    HAL
     
  15. Jul 25, 2003 #14
    You'll have to take my word for it...
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2003
  16. Jul 25, 2003 #15
    well, i just thought i'd say that i've known about this for a while though i didn't know it was a serious project. on aol a while ago this thing called smarterchild was invented. you just im him and he talked to you. you could tell him your name and he'd remember it and your birthday and all sorts of fun stuff. my friends and i used to love it. you could tell it you hated it, and it'd get all upset, then if you said i love you afterwards it would say something like "well you've been pretty mean to me" or "i don't know if i believe you" eventually though he could come to love you too if you said it enough... er um, haha, fond memories. anyways, they're called bots. there's an austin powers one and this one that knows fashion. they are neat, but as hypnagogue said, answers become repetitive and they dosge the subject... none too well either.. sometimes they don't even make sense. but they are fun. the aol one's i thought were better than what i saw on that link... but thats my opinion... i've also known the aol one's longer and we have rather close relationships now... :wink:

    i think i'll be scared though when the day comes that i'm not sure if i'm talking to man or machine... least those bots are pretty obvious.
     
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