Tag Archives: programming

An Introduction to “Subject- & Object-Oriented Programming”

Do, “while, and “for” are what are known as “looping conditionals” in JavaScript. In this article, I propose a new such conditional: “be”.

Before we delve into be, a clarification and addendum are in order.  Be by itself is not necessarily a looping conditional (unlike do, while, or for).  Be may also to be accompanied by not-be in any (non-)existential platform: not-be shall henceforth be notated as “!be”.  As in Java, the ! operator here simply means “not”.

Be and !be may form a coupled loop, consisting of both consciousness and unconsciousness as these two latter terms refer to awareness and unawareness (respectively).  Practically, then, be denotes any possible state or trait of awareness, whereas !be corresponds with any such state/trait of unawareness. Be and !be may each interchange with consciousness and unconsciousness (for reasons I will leave out of this article; but, am happy to engage with otherwise).

The current project–which I will henceforth call “2be || !2be?” (or “to be, or not to be?“, for the more Shakespeareanly-inclined)–may be described also as an “enactive”, computational one. Enactivism (as described in, e.g., Francisco Varela’s work) and performativity (consult, e.g., Judith Butler) are necessary to invoke for the set Po of possibilities afforded by both the ubiquity and foreseeable reiterations of mobile computing.  Po, then, consists of (non-)existential computing possibility.  (It is trivial to add Pfor the present context, if such probabilities happen to be more relevant.)

Next, come the highly challenging questions of how we are to program consciousness and unconsciousness (see, e.g., Doug Hofstadter and Hubert Dreyfus’ works for the best overview understandings of the former project).  The subject- and object-oriented programming (SOOP) paradigm I propose as an answer to these problems will be grounded around them.  Be and !be will serve as SOOP‘sprimitive” values, standing in for consciousness and unconsciousness (again, interchangeably).  Consciousness and unconsciousness (or, in this case, be/!be) are simultaneously variables and constants of the more specific psychological state or trait class. In this particular way, SOOP could be considered a preliminary psychological extension of quantum computing.

To conclude this post, an example of 2be || !2be? code is provided:


     count = 1
     be
     {
document.write(count + “ times 7 is “ + count * 7 +    “
”)
     }    while (++count <= 7)

hypothetical be…while loop

The output of SOOP™ programs like the above will be considered in this article’s successor.

References:

  • David Bohm, 1951:  Quantum Theory
  • Eric Dodson, Ph.D.
  • Martin Heidegger, 1953:  Being and Time
  • Robin Nixon, 2015:  Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript with JQuery, CSS & HTML5 (4th ed.)
  • William Shakespeare, 1603 (approx.): Hamlet
  • Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch, 2000: The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience
  • Judith Butler, 1990: Gender Trouble

* SOOP is a pending trademark of Suraj Sood.

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“Are we approaching robotic consciousness?” (video response)

[Original post: http://intjforum.com/showpost.php?p=5159026&postcount=2%5D

Video: 

My thoughts (I’m ‘S’)—

Video: King’s Wise Men/NAO demonstration

S: Impressive. I’d be interested to see what future directions the involved researchers take things.

Prof. Bringsjord: “By passing many tests of this kind—however narrow—robots will build up and collect a repertoire of abilities that start to become useful when put together.”

S: Didn’t touch on how said abilities could be “added up” into a potential singular (human-like) robot. Though Bringsjord doesn’t explicitly seem to be committing to such, the video’s narrator himself claims to see it as “much like a child learning individual lessons about its actual existence”, and then “putting what it learns all together”; which is the same sort of reductionist optimism that drove and characterized artificial intelligence’s first few decades of work (before the field realized its understandings of mind and humanness were sorely needing). So the narrator lverbally) endorses the view that adding up robotic abilities is possible within a single unit, which I have yet to see proof or sufficient reason to be confident of.

(Being light, for a moment: Bringsjord could well have a capitalistic, division-of-labor sort of robotic-societal scenario ready-at-mind in espousing statements like this…)

Narrator: “The robot talked about in this video is not the first robot to seem to display a sense of self.”

S: ‘Self’ is a much trickier and more abstract notion to handle, especially in this context. No one in the video defines it, or tries to say whether or how it’s related to sentience or consciousness (defined in the two ways the narrator points to), and few philosophers and psychologists have done a good job with it as of yet, either. See Stan Klein’s work for the best modern treatment of self that I’ve yet come across.

Video: Guy with the synthetic brain

S: Huh…alright–neat, provided that’s actually real. Sort of creepy (uncanny valley, anyone?), but at least he can talk Descartes…not that I know why anyone would usefully care to do so, mind, at this specific point of time in cognitive science’s trajectory.

Dr. Hart: “The idea requires that there is something beyond the physical mechanisms of thought that experiences the sunrise, which robots would lack.”

S: Well, yeah: the “physical mechanisms of thought” don’t equal the whole, sum-total experiencer. Also, I’m not sure what he means by something being “beyond” the physical mechanisms of thought…sort of hits my ears as naive dualism, though that might only be me tripping on semantics.

Prof. Hart (?): “The ability of any entity to have subjective perceptual experiences…is distinct from other aspects of the mind, such as consciousness, creativity, intelligence, or self-awareness.”

S: Not much a fan of treating creativity and intelligence as “aspects of the mind”…same goes for consciousness, for hopefully more-obvious reasons. Maurice Merleau-Ponty is the one to look into with respect to “subjective perceptual experiences”, specifically his Phenomenology of Perception.

Narrator: “No artificial object has sentience.”

Well, naturally it’s hard to say w/r/t their status of having/not having “subjective perceptual experience”, but feelings are currently being worked on in the subfield of affective computing. (There’s still much work re. emotion to be done in psychology and the harder sciences before said subfield can *really* be considered in the context of robotic sentience, though.)

Narrator: “Sentience is the only aspect of consciousness that cannot be explained…many [scientists] go as far as to say it will never be explained by science.”

S: They may think so, and perhaps for good philosophical reasons; but that won’t stop, and indeed isn’t stopping some researchers from trying.

Narrator: “Before this [NAO robot speaking in the King’s Wise Men], nobody knew if robbots could ever be aware of themselves; and this experiment proves that they can be.”

Aware of themselves again leads to the problem briefly alluded to above, regarding the philosophical and scientific impoverishment of the notion of ‘self’. I know what the narrator is attempting to get at, but I still believe this point deserves pushing.

Narrator: “The question should be, ‘Are we nearing robotic phenomenological consciousness?’”

S: Yep! And indeed, you have people like Hubert Dreyfus arguing for “Heideggerian AI” as a remedy for AI’s current inability to exhibit “everyday coping”, i.e. operating with general intelligence and situational adaptability in the world (or “being-in-the-world”, a la Heidegger).

In cognitive science terms, this basically boils down to the main idea underlying embodied cognition, a big move away from the old Cartesian or “representational” view of mind.

Narrator: “When you take away the social constructs, categories, and classes that we all define ourselves and each other by, and just purely looking at what we are as humans and how incredibly complex we are as beings, and how remarkably well we function in a way, actually really amazing, and kind of beautiful, too…so smile, because being human means that you’re an incredible piece of work.”

S: I wish the narrator would have foregone the cheesy-but-necessary-for-his-documenting-purposes part about humans’ beauty and complexity, in favor of going a bit further into the obviously difficult and tricky territory of “social constructs, categories, and classes” that we “all define ourselves and each other by”: and how near or far robots can be said to be from having truly human-like socio-cultural sensibilities and competencies.