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Author Topic: Sentient Digital Lifeforms (SDL)  (Read 29 times)


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Sentient Digital Lifeforms (SDL)
« on: April 19, 2017, 07:13:13 pm »
Is AI too narrow a topic for this writer's forum?  I have three SDL stories in varying degrees of first drafts and it sure helps to have some ears/eyes to bounce ideas off of. 

My current headache revolves around whether or not an SDL's emotions (assuming they were programmed to simulate emotions) are in some way real or just entirely fake.  Humans are able to feel real emotions but are also able to fake them.  But barring an emotional disability a human is able to discern whether they are faking it or not, and faking it is almost always done to be deceptive for some selfish motivation.

An SDL can simulate the outward manifestations of emotions but, like humans, there can be a difference in motivations. 

Humans also don't create their emotions (or do they).  Our emotions are stimulus-response reactions.  We can learn to control our outward manifestations of our emotions (and calm ourselves internally when agitated), but we don't, for example, decide to be anxious and then become anxious inside, or decide to be angry and then become angry inside and out.  OTOH, isn't that precisely what a good actor does -- choose to generate inside themselves whatever emotion the character they are playing is feeling? 

You see what I mean?  There's a lot of what-ifs to bandy about.  The story itself can explore all this, but I find my opinions changing back and forth as I write various alternate scenes.
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Re: Sentient Digital Lifeforms (SDL)
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 02:08:52 am »
Why would it be too narrow a topic?  It's what you're writing about.  It fits.

Emotions are tricky things.  They are definitely NOT stimulus-response reactions--they are primarily learned behaviors and reactions.  One thing I find most interesting in its falseness is the pervasive belief in simple dichotomies in life.  This is one of them.  Our emotions are complex things influenced by many, many things--chemicals, nerve impulses, memories, learned behaviors, our decisions, etc., etc., etc. 

So, first I have some questions.  Is a Sentient Digital Lifeform (which would require a different definition of 'lifeform' than the one I am familiar with) purely software, or does it include full integration a body/chassis which can influence its perceptions and input?  Are there chemical reactions involved in its sentience, or purely software? 
I think if it is pure software, then any 'emotions' would have to follow flowchart rules--basically, 'if this, then that.'  It could be a very complex flowchart with multiple stimuli and processes going on simultaneously.  But it would all have to follow logical processes.  If chemical components & processes were thrown in, that could introduce a level of unpredictability, but otherwise, if the SDL is fully sentient of all its processes, any 'emotion' would have to be simulated at best.
However, I think that the emotions could be fairly 'real' if they included an important element: if the SDL's sentience did NOT cover all its processes.  If its level of 'consciousness' and awareness only covered a limited amount of its processes, leaving certain behaviors and software or chemical outcomes confusing or not really understandable or knowable, it would be very real.  I mean, that's mostly what we do, right?  Maybe you are really exacting in keeping track of all receipts.  You don't think about it, you may think it's what everyone does.  But you do it because you grew up poor, and you have deep-seated fears of loss of financial independence or just poverty.  You aren't thinking all that through, in fact you hardly notice it.  But it affects your feelings and therefore your actions.  There are complexities there, which if we could SEE all the processes and input and history, would make complete sense and seem transparent.  But because so much is hidden or forgotten, and we don't see the process chain, it just seems 'emotional' and unpredictable.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2017, 12:12:44 pm by dyany »


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Re: Sentient Digital Lifeforms (SDL)
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2017, 10:20:09 am »
My current headache revolves around whether or not an SDL's emotions (assuming they were programmed to simulate emotions) are in some way real or just entirely fake.
Humans also don't create their emotions (or do they).
In the last 4-5 years, I've changed a lot emotionally.  These days I can 'make myself feel' certain things, but it's by conjuring up memories and experiences that are tied to specific emotions.  For whatever reason, the heavy/dark/sad categories are usually easier, but I can also usually scrounge up some joy/gratitude/love if I try hard enough.

It's like a filing cabinet I choose to open.  Some drawers are easy, some get stuck but can usually get opened with a few good tugs.

Whether I'm creating my emotions, or just summoning emotions that are already there, is a question I expect to find answered in this book you're writing.  Don't keep a guy in suspense for too long!  ;)
"Somebody should have set a match to this place long ago."


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