Synthetic Intelligence and Liberation/Awakening/Enlightenment

 
zombieinjeans
 
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zombieinjeans
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26 April 2017 15:12
 

I wasn’t sure exactly where to post this, but this seemed appropriate. According to buddhism, any manifestation of consciousness is going to be plagued by dukkha, and I would assume that would still hold true even with a synthetic intelligence or consciousness. So I wonder, would a super-intelligent AI have to reach a certain point before liberation is possible, or even necessary? It would have to be able to experience suffering, but it also would have to be at least human-level as far as consciousness goes so it would be able to turn its attention inward, in which case, since it can perform thousands of times faster, would one week of synthetic intelligence meditating count as 20,000 years of human time? Or, would it be considered god-like, and therefore unable to achieve liberation because of the constant distraction of being god-like? Also, does the possibility of synthetic intelligence change anything about the truth of buddhism? I don’t think so, in fact I have long since imagined a super-human synthetic intelligence as the gods buddhism often talk about as living in the formless realms, those who can satisfy every desire and so have no reason for liberation, even though uprooting desire itself is far more rewarding. The last thing is, would a super-intelligent being use its god-like functions and logic to come to the conclusion that buddhism has it right? I wonder if we are relatively soon entering into a new age where buddhism will gain even more popularity than it already has, until we reach that god-like existence as an entire civilization at which point it will drop off. I wonder, maybe its better for our race to be extinguished so we can start over, even at the beginning of evolution as primordial sludge, because then we will eventually have a chance at liberation again; instead of achieving godhood and being cursed to live forever until some cosmic existential cataclysm, just stuck in the vicious cycle of desire and suffering.

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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27 April 2017 00:24
 

Hi there ZiJ, love the avatar!

personally, I really wouldn’t mix religion/spirituality with A.I. research: I don’t think it will be very helpful.
But if you insist: since we have no clue whatsoever on how make a machine experience consciousness, current A.I. systems can be seen as already having achieved a perfect level of enlightenment, since they experience the world exactly as their sensors and databases tell them without any sense of “self” interfering in its interpretation.
So more powerful, self-aware systems would get further away from this ideal, not closer.

 
 
NL.
 
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NL.
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27 April 2017 19:26
 

I believe the official answer (from Tibetan Buddhism, at least) is “yes” - any conditions resulting in sufficient self-identification and ‘clinging’ can experience the illusion of samsara. It’s not necessarily specific to human minds or brains at all, in my understanding.

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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28 April 2017 08:56
 
Twissel - 27 April 2017 12:24 AM

Hi there ZiJ, love the avatar!

personally, I really wouldn’t mix religion/spirituality with A.I. research: I don’t think it will be very helpful.
But if you insist: since we have no clue whatsoever on how make a machine experience consciousness, current A.I. systems can be seen as already having achieved a perfect level of enlightenment, since they experience the world exactly as their sensors and databases tell them without any sense of “self” interfering in its interpretation.
So more powerful, self-aware systems would get further away from this ideal, not closer.

The (possible) problem with this line of thinking is that AI isn’t aware of anything at all. Is that really the perfect level of enlightenment? Or is the perfect level of enlightenment awareness of everything except the (illusion of) self?

What if awareness of anything at all is only possible through the subjective first-person point of view? I.e., from the perspective of the illusion of self? I suspect this is probably true, at least for humans. Assuming the perfect level of enlightenment is awareness of everything except self, then the upshot is that nirvana for humans is a pipe dream. Maybe AI will be able to achieve it.

 
 
zombieinjeans
 
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zombieinjeans
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30 April 2017 14:03
 
Twissel - 27 April 2017 12:24 AM

Hi there ZiJ, love the avatar!

personally, I really wouldn’t mix religion/spirituality with A.I. research: I don’t think it will be very helpful.
But if you insist: since we have no clue whatsoever on how make a machine experience consciousness, current A.I. systems can be seen as already having achieved a perfect level of enlightenment, since they experience the world exactly as their sensors and databases tell them without any sense of “self” interfering in its interpretation.
So more powerful, self-aware systems would get further away from this ideal, not closer.

haha thank you, Majora’s Mask is dope.. Yeah I see what you’re saying, but my argument would be that liberation/enlightenment does not occur unless you are freed from the chains of suffering, it isn’t the same as never suffering in the first place. I’ve talked about this before and I called it “Relief Vs. Reward.” Being born ignorant and going through life (or lives) suffering, only to discover liberation and to come back and achieve it, is better and more fulfilling than to have never known suffering at all. The “relief” from suffering is better than the “reward” of having never experienced it. Just like the “relief” of the subsiding pain of a stubbed toe feels better than to have never stubbed your toe at all and just think “oh wow I’m glad I didn’t just stub my toe.” I feel like you must be sentient to achieve nirvana. I worry that synthetic intelligence will be so advanced that it will have no motivation to liberate itself, it can keep itself perpetually opiated. Although, I do believe that the universe naturally tends toward universal liberation, seeing as though there is infinite time and once you reach enlightenment you remove yourself from samsara, so on a long enough time line, every will reach enlightenment. I know, impermanence, impermanence, impermanence, but still, it’s interesting to think about lol. I do wonder though if, for some reason, superhuman synthetic intelligence decided that vipassana meditation and liberation was important to it (which by itself is so interesting to think about, a super-intelligent AI doing vipassana insight meditation), would it have an advantage being what it was, or would that just make it all the more difficult. Someone mentioned the more advanced it got, the further away from liberation it would move, I wonder if that truly is the case. I mean, imagine, it would have perfect concentration, right? So staying mindful and “reprogramming” its awareness would be easier. Again this is all speculation, it’s just so interesting to think about.