Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Author posts, Section H1

Group 1 -



Group 2 - In our group we began discussing the question posed by Ben Burton, "Is it better to ask questions or to answer questions?" Ultimately we came to some base conclusion that the acts of asking and answering questions build off of each other and are co-dependent. The two are connected terminally. Also, in asking a question you are asking two: the original question and for someone to answer.
 Secondly, we discussed divine vs. innate inspiration. After thorough discussion, we came to the conclusion, among others, that this answer is solely up to the perspective of the individual. Also, inspiration comes from within, but it may be sparked by nature and is driven by the observation of the individual; nothing is separately inspired. Eventually our discussion led to the consciousness of computers. Does consciousness demand that there is no original author, no programmer? Also, the Turing test is bull.



Group 3 -

14 comments:

  1. AUTHOR: Group 1

    Our group began discussion centered around the question of whether we are naturally sedentary or active. Many of us felt it depended on mood, but the majority of us felt a bit of both. We talked about how it is common to be unable to think without some sort of motion, even as small as tapping a pencil. We also discussed how even people who are more inclined to be sedentary feel better after moving around. Another subtopic of this is whether you are a 'night person' or a 'morning person'. We talked about how having a set schedule can help us overcome our body's natural tendencies.

    The second topic we discussed was related to the question of whether societies have/will always have conflict regarding belief systems. We discussed how cultures typically have an accepted set of beliefs and values that the majority of the population subscribes to. People who have diverging beliefs are often somewhat disregarded. We also discussed how, historically, we feel that humans have actually been less tolerant of different beliefs than we are today.

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    1. Since we talked about being able to think better when we had some kind of muscle stimulation, I found this article about how exercise can actually cause new neurons to form in the brain, which improves our memory.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-douglas-fields/why-does-exercise-stimula_b_788581.html

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    2. I agree that level of activity depends upon mood, but it often stems from an innate tendency to lean one way or the other. Like many of the other members of our group, I often find myself tapping my foot or pencil when I'm in deep thought. Consequently my thoughts are stimulated by activity.

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  2. I'm in group 2 (the Philosoraptors!) As Josh said, our discussion touched on whether or not the computerized nature of our brain indicates the existence of a creator or 'programmer'. Our brain is so complex that I'm not sure if calling the brain a computer (a complex adding machine) is an appropriate description of how our brain works. Electricity is the fundamental tool for both however. Does there need to be a god for there to be electricity? Daniel also brought up how the complexity of a system may not be enough to describe the existence of consciousness. In other words, what is the necessary level of complexity for sentience to arise? I, obviously, have no idea, but this question seems to need to have an answer. A tardigrade's nervous system is unbelievably complex but I think everyone can agree that they are not sentient to a level that would allow them to conceptualize their own minuscule existence. Somewhere in between the tardigrade and humans must be that magical cutoff point! But where is it? The world may never know...

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    1. Your post reminds me of this interesting article on hardware evolution, where a researcher used genetic algorithms to program an array to perform a simple task. He ended up with a result that performed with perfection and efficiency, but he had no idea how it worked. Likewise, through genetic evolution, our brains have developed to a point where they are so complex that they can't even begin to comprehend how they themselves work (even if they couldn't understand anything at all until humans gained sentience.) However, complexity doesn't really seem to be a great measure for biological beings, since basically ever living thing can be though of as quite complex. Considering this, it seems like the effectiveness and results of a system may be more important than plain complexity.

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  3. I'm a member of the Philosoraptors (Group 2). Although I have heard people equate the brain to a very complex computer program, I have never before questioned the amount of complexity needed for sentience. Even being a child of Generation X, the complexity of modern computers, tablets, and even smartphones continually amazes me, and our brains are exponentially more complex and powerful than those! So I can't even begin to guess the level of complexity required for intelligent, sentient life. However, being a Deist of sorts, I tend to believe that our universe was designed by some cosmic entity, and that its creation of human consciousness is the most miraculous creation of all time.

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    1. I agree with you here, Austin. Our consciousness continues to amaze scientists all over, and it's simply something we cannot recreate.

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  4. I'm a member of group 2, and I thought deeply about whether I believe computers could one day develop consciousness and sentience. I have to say no, because computers still have to have a creator to work. Being a deist, I believe that things could not come about without a creator. Could we one day create computers that can develop a mind of their own? (I hope not, that sounds horrible.)

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    1. I'm not in group 2, but I agree with Jeanette. If a computer had a mind of its own, would it be of any use to us? Since computers are programmed to perform whatever tasks we command it to, if it had a mind of its own would the computer still be under our control?

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  5. Here are my FQ's:
    1. (T/F) Socrates was devoted to writing his questions down. (LH 4)
    2. How did Socrates die? (LH 7)
    3. What were the three types of proto-human beings Aristophanes described? (PB 11)

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  6. Nick Watts1:57 PM CST

    The discussion in group 1 about the nature of activity as it pertains to different degrees of thinking intrigues me. In the case of myself, I love to remain active whenever possible as I believe this keeps both my mind and body sharp. Even at moments in class or other settings infamous for lack of action and dedication to mental focus; I often find myself tapping my feet or subconsciously disassembling and reassembling a pen or electronic device near me. This does not mean that I am inattentive during lecture or study (usually); I simply have a hard time thinking clearly unless some part of my motor functions are active.
    This brings to my mind the aspect of this quite human issue of simplistic and basic action to think clearly in school systems. I sometimes believe we, as college students, forget how tolerant and simply free to act and react the atmosphere of university life is compared to grade school. The majority of the habits we find necessary to succeed, or simply commit to out of ease, are not available to students of lower levels of schooling. This brings to the table my discussion question: Are we limiting our potential by constructing such constricting boundaries on students in school beneath the university level?

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  7. FQ's:
    1. If philosophy has "patron-saint" who is it? (LH 1)
    2. What was Plato's most famous work? (LH 6)
    3. What insect did Socrates compare himself to? (LH 1)

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  8. Anonymous2:15 PM CST

    Dylan Smith, Group 1:

    FQ:Did Socrates believe in keeping a record of his conversations?

    DQ: Of the three descriptions of love, which is the most realistic?

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  9. As a member of group two, the questions we discussed were ringing through my head for the next two days. In another conversation, the topic of sentience came up. According to the other party, all life is simply organic binary codes wrought together to create sentience. The problem I have with this is that any code needs to be inputted by something or someone else, and any robot we program will never be sentient because we programmed in. From this, I could logically derive that life is simply the ability to create and grow originally without the needs of someone to get the ball rolling. There were a lot of examples and counter example, but the one thing that our conversation kept coming back to was the reality that if every organic life is simply numbers put together than there would be no progression, there would be no continuation or growth; if math is all there is, then why is math not always there - why isn't the universe stagnant? Take infinity for example. If the universe is infinite, and everything is simply and eventually an equation, then we should not be able to experience any part of it: you cannot physically take a piece of infinity because infinity is infinite! There is no piece to take. Therefore, our existence is the very antithesis to the universe being infinite and therefore being solely a mathematical concoction.

    Exeunt.

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