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Old 05-22-2019, 09:14 PM
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eschereal is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
But how does "survival instinct" actually "manifest", physically speaking? Some part of the entity constantly checking the senses for threats, conferring with the memory about the threats, and prompting reactions to the threats?

Survival is just a goal. A goal that is conducive to there being future generations, yes, but the thing that has the goal is what I'm curious about. The thing that has the awareness of the situation to see threats and avoid them. How does it work?

Between "magic" and "program execution loop", I'm thinking "program execution loop".
How? Well first we have to find out what it is. How do candles work? You have to understand several “what” vectors in order to arrive at a useful answer.

I suspect self-awareness/the survival instinct are analogous to something like hair: it is there, many of us are rather fond of it, it has its uses, but it does not actually do anything. It is an interesting feature.

But a feature of what? Hair is a simple thing that is a result of follicular activity. Self-awareness seems to be a rather complex feature that probably arises from disparate sources (some most likely chemical), and may not be localized (just like hair).

The point is, it is not evident that it actually does anything. Kind of like data tables which, in and of themselves are not active (in the way that program code is active), but our mental processes take note of it and adjust their results to account for it.

So, would self-awareness be a valuable feature for intelligent machines? Perhaps. Then again, maybe not. If we just want them to do what we need them to do, strict functionality might be the preferable design strategy. Unless uncovering the underlying nature of self-awareness is the research goal, in which case, they are probably best confined to a laboratory setting.