Sunday, January 23, 2011

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Around Simulation II - Simulating Empathy and Subjective Experience

Dear All,

In the meantime, I apologise if my own posts have actually contributed to the
rise to confusion :) Here is a post about the simulation of subjective
experience. Its in addition to my previous posts.

Like I stated before, I'm interested in the Simulation of Empathy, well known in
humans, but considered impossible in computers (for AI purposes). Empathy being
the mental simulation of the experience of the other. When we know how our own
empathy systems work, and what role our own senses play in this, we might learn
more about how this could be evoked in digital systems, AI and Robotics. This is
strongly related to the theory of mirror neurons (it is also where we left off
at the last discussion with Derrick De Kerckhoves contribution). I am interested
in how artists knowledge about how to evoke subjective experiences in humans
could contribute to our understanding as to how to evoke such experiences in AI
systems and robotics. I'm interested in the role art experiences play in evoking
empathy, how it jiggles our neurons and is there a form of programmability to

For one to experience empathy, to have a sense as to what the other is feeling,
one must have an idea or awareness that there is an other and one must have an
inner archive of subjective experiences and believe that the other feels. I use
the word subjective experience to separate the subjective aspect of a sensation,
a signal of the sense organ, and its emotional affect. I experience a signal, I
experience the signal as pain, I experience fear. A digital system can sense the
signal, but as far as we know, does not have a sensation about this signal, not
does it compare it to our signals.

Some believe that it is impossible for AI to feel, subjective experience is
ambiguous and ambiguity causes error in a computers calculations. Some believe
that subjective experience comes from a heart and soul, and that computers do
not have a soul and thus can never experience subjectivity. As an artist
interested in scientific speculations I wonder how to change our perspective in
this thinking. This changes dramatically when scientific speculations rise like
The Universe is a Quantum Computer. In such a world Simulation is Life. We are
Avatars creating Avatars. We are Worlds creating Worlds. The Simulated Simulate
in an ongoing cycle of many layers. It gives a whole new meaning to concepts of
God as a Creator, God residing in All of us, God made man in his own image. It
is a very cybernetic approach, that everything is computed.

For me Simulation is Computation, be it by my brain, by a digital or analogue or
quantum computer. I'm interested in how technology and art are used as a tools
of empathy. I am interested in how subjective experience is generated by all
technologies. I'm interested in how qbits might solve the issue of ambiguation
causing error in computations of classical computers.

Our senses play a big role in how we empathise. We sense muscles tensions in
the faces of others, we learn to 'read' such faces and make conclusions about
how the other is feeling, we compare it to how we feel when our muscles are like
that. In our current society we do not take several of our senses seriously. We
need to focus on how our all our senses can be simulated with digital computers
and how the data, the incoming signals of sensors interfere and affect

How our senses dance a dance of signals that triggers our neurons. If we know
how it is evoked in brains with the use of technology, we will learn more about
how to evoke it in computers. In particular from the view that we are all
jiggling atoms ;) How to make my Avatar/Robot feel? How to put the Gaia in the
world of my Avatar/Robot?

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