Re: How Robots Will Steal Your Job

Programmer Dude wrote:

<snip>
It isn't even remotely significant. After all, cows (***if*** they are intelligent) can reason in precisely the same way about us. We have never given them any evidence of the fact that we understand about mathematics, at least not in terms that /they/ recognise as valid.
Let's see if I can cut to the chase. It seems to me that all, or almost all, your arguments about self-awareness, intelligence, science, mathematics, and so on assume ***human*** versions of those qualities and disciplines, and ***human*** ways of communicating knowledge of them.
The problem with that assumption, is that it leads to reasoning such as: If cows know maths, why aren't they submitting papers to the journals? Why aren't they teaching university courses? If squirrels know science, why aren't they flying to the moon, or killing themselves and each other in ever more sophisticated ways? And the absence of these "evidences" is taken as evidence of absence - a serious error.
It should hardly be surprising, then, that you fail to recognise the possibility of self-awareness, intelligence, or the pursuit of science or mathematics in non-humans.

I haven't proposed a theory. I have merely questioned some of your assumptions.

You assume that cows have failed in this. A cow could equally easily deduce that man is non-intelligent and possibly not even self-aware, because he is completely unable to understand even the simplest of cowpat-diagrams.

My Web search reveals that Pluto's density is approximately 2000 kg/m^3. I'll let you do the other half of the research, perhaps in your kitchen.

I think that's unlikely, don't you?

What we know about planets vastly outweighs what we know about animal psychology.

Deceiving us? Nonsense. If they are intelligent, then it is we who deceive ourselves by failing to recognise this.

We know almost nothing about them. Example: everything you've said about them has been anecdotal. How many scientific studies have been done on the intelligence of cows? And let's just say, for the sake of argument, that such work /has/ been done and that /somehow/ it has been deduced that cows are not intelligent. What would that prove? That /all/ animals are not intelligent? Think of the implications.

Those are almost mutually contradictory statements.

Universal to you, maybe.

Neep, from the planet Zog, delivers his report on Earth. "I've had a quick drep around the planet. It's oceanic, of course, as are all intelligence-bearing planets, although in this case the ocean isn't quite deep enough to cover the whole ardeta, so I wasn't hopeful, I'm afraid. Nevertheless, there is a species that I thought at first might show some promise of intelligence, which I hereby name the "dolphin", after my auntie Dolp and uncle Hin. After all, it was the right grasno, it possessed an appropriate frevol of fins, and it could breathe oxygen, all of which are essential to intelligence, as you know. But it turned out that this poor creature had no feasian. So it wasn't intelligent after all. It certainly made no attempt to communicate. Well, how could it, without a feasian? It did keep generating vibrations in the water at a bewildering range of frequencies, and I must admit I don't know why, but it can hardly matter. No feasian, no communication. No communication, no intelligence.
What? Oh, if you insist. Be right back..."
Neep investigates the 25% impurity we know as "land".
"Well, what a waste of time /that/ was. The land contains no intelligent life whatsoever. This is self-evident, of course, but I ran a DNA analysis anyway, to compare all the apparently dominant land creatures with the dolphin, and there was a huge overlap! This basically confirms the observation that the dolphins aren't intelligent. After all, if they were, they would hardly share such a large percentage of their DNA with the sticklike bipeds on the land-impurity."
Neep is as much a victim of his preconceptions as you are.

No, I don't think I have to do that at all. All I am doing is questioning your assumptions. I have advanced no theories whatsoever.

Knowing your enemy isn't the same as offering to jump on their lab bench, pointing at your head, and saying "start drilling, fellas, see if you can dig out that ol' widget that shows I'm intelligent".

I haven't proposed a theory.

I snipped a lot of stuff that came after your attempt to push my argument from a moderate position to an extreme one. That was the second time in a few weeks that I have been disappointed by your behaviour. Up until then, we had always managed to disagree politely.

Deception is a strong word. Animals have been using concealment as a defensive technique for millennia. But I don't have to explain this, because I'm only suggesting it as a possibility; I am not advancing it as a theory.

Those assumptions are deeply flawed, IMO.

I no longer feel sufficiently confident of your willingness to reason fairly that I can take this at face value. Show me this observational data (independent data, please, not your own), and show that it supports what you claim.

Citation, please.

I don't /have/ a theory. I am merely questioning your assumptions, which are deeply flawed.

You equate concealment with deception?

Humanocentricity riddles your thinking. Your quip demonstrates that. For a start, you choose cows, which are perhaps not overly likely candidates for intelligence-that-we-would-recognise-as-such. You also ignore the fact that cows tend to be imprisoned (at least, in the UK they are -- I don't know whether you confine cows in your country) and so could not take place in such a protest even if they wanted to, and then you assume that intelligence equates with ability to speak a human language.
Finally, you assume that those who are oppressed, if they only had the capability of speech, would demand an end to that oppression. At the risk of touching on a delicate subject, never forget that millions of good people went to their premature deaths in the gas chambers, in the 1930s and 1940s, and little fuss was raised either by them or by anyone else. I would not dream of suggesting that this was evidence of their non-intelligence, and neither can I imagine any right-thinking person arguing in that way.

Smart animals? I was talking about intelligence, not smartness.

What does /that/ mean?

Do you really think that absence of evidence is evidence of absence? Perhaps, if intelligent animals do exist, they are perfectly happy where they are. Or perhaps they have tried to communicate with us but have failed because we're not listening. Or perhaps a thousand other possibilities.
Or perhaps there is no such thing as an intelligent animal; that remains a possibility, but it really is a very long way from being a certainty.
<if I don't snip somewhere, this thread will get out of hand>

This is Usenet. Hair-splitting is what we do. And in this case, it matters.

I said that if it could and did persuade someone, then probably nothing would happen (because of unenquiring scepticism), but that even if something did happen, it would be most unlikely to be anything beneficial to the animal.

Woof. That's communication.
Tail-wag. That's communication.
Go make history, dude.

No, they wouldn't. As Belloc says, "Whatever happens, we have got/The Maxim Gun, and they have not."

You keep using the word "smart". We are discussing intelligence, not smartness. To you, "smart" may be synonymous with "intelligent". To me, it more often means "neatly dressed". We are divided by a common language, but let's try to keep the discussion meaningful by using neutral words.

"How did they get there" implies that I am postulating animal intelligence. I am doing no such thing. If you have inferred from what I have said that I am postulating it, think again. I am merely questioning the reasoning that "if animals were intelligent, they'd have said 'hi' by now".
But to answer your question: if some animals have a comparatively high degree of intelligence, and if intelligence confers some evolutionary advantage, it is likely to have evolved over millennia, at a minimum (if you believe the whole evolution-from-scratch thing or are prepared to suspend your disbelief, then of course we would use the word "aeons" rather than "millennia".

I haven't assumed a fast intellectual evolutionary path. (You have, though, because you seem to assume that man instantly gained the ability to recognise intelligence in others.) I haven't even assumed that animals are intelligent. I have merely put forward the possibility.
I think that, /if/ animals are intelligent, they have become so over a period of time. During that time, man has been gaining in intelligence, too. But let's face reality: even if an animal wrote "I know English" in big letters in English, perhaps by spending all night rearranging stones on a sandy beach or something, you can be pretty sure that the message would be erased by holidaymakers in the morning. Mankind does /not/ spend his time looking for intelligence in any animals, save perhaps those that he has managed to domesticate. And even when domesticated animals /do/ show signs of intelligence, it is generally viewed patronisingly (as you have shown yourself, elsethread).

Let's say "intelligent". Maybe they don't want parity. Maybe they just want to live their lives as they are currently living them.

You assume they are able to communicate with us in a way that we are prepared to take the trouble to understand. There is little evidence that this is the case.

Sure, there /are/ people who are prepared to study intelligence in animals. But how do you study intelligence? You can't give an animal an IQ test, after all. We've all heard people saying "a dog has an IQ of 7" or "a dog has an IQ of 30". And of course they have completely misunderstood the concept of IQ, which is a measure for humans, not for dogs. IQ doesn't measure intelligence anyway. It measures a human's ability to react to a particular set of questions in a way pleasing to a human examiner.
You /might/ be able to show that an animal /is/ intelligent. I don't think it's possible to demonstrate that it is not.

Yes, it is.

No, you're not. Nevertheless, I will answer your new question. I have already said that the mechanism is evolution. I have already pointed out upthread that for an animal to communicate (if it can!) its intelligence (if it has any!) to a human being is a losing strategy. Losing strategies don't last long.

I never call Usenet "amUSENET". And I think you're confusing me with Martin Ambuhl, whose sig block used to refer to thick skin being a gift from God.

You're doing it again. I haven't proposed a theory, in the scientific sense of the word. I have merely challenged some very humanocentric assumptions.

This debate was started by some guy wittering on about AI.
Anyway, I did indeed ask you to justify some assumptions. I'm not convinced that you have done so. I am not even convinced that it is possible.
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Richard Heathfield : snipped-for-privacy@eton.powernet.co.uk
"Usenet is a strange place." - Dennis M Ritchie, 29 July 1999.
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Richard Heathfield wrote:

Not remotely? If I flip a coin and it lands heads up 50,000 times in a row, don't you think that would be--at the least--significant?
As I asked Corey, how often do I have to drive on tires that don't explode before I can have some level of confidence that they normally don't?

How could you know? The signs of human intelligence seem pretty clear to me (despite your apparent cynicism about the human race).

I've been thinking about this all weekend, and I reject the idea that **human** intelligence is so special and unique that it can't recognize intelligence elsewhere. I in general reject the notion that intelligence is so unique to any species as to be unrecognizable to another intelligent species.
If nothing else, I suspect very strongly that intelligence of any kind creates order from randomness, and I believe any intelligent mind could perceive that order. (Not unlike what SETI is doing.)
In fact, after thinking about it, I believe intelligence *transcends* species. I believe there are some aspects of intelligence that are both generic and highly recognizable.
Science and Technology (tools) History and Art Communication and Language
More importantly, perhaps, is how an intelligent species builds on its previous discoveries and inventions (an element that requires all three topics mentioned above). I suspect we have these things not because we are human, but because we are intelligent.

Nothing I see requires they *act* like humans. It *does* require recognizable signs of intelligence. NONE are evident (at the level we're talking about).
It seems a stretch logically. How do cows learn math? Are they born having naturally mathematical minds? Or do older cows train them in ways we absolutely can't detect? And if older cows do train them, where did it all come from initially? Do all cows know math, or just some herds? If all cows, the problem of communcation becomes formidable. They have no apparent global form of communication.
OUR higher math came from centuries (more!) of progress and building upon previous discoveries. Communication between peoples is a vital part of that process.
Take the other logical branch, that cows are born with high level naturally mathematical minds. So now you have a species that sure looks and acts pretty dumb, chews its cud, walks around in its own feces, and shows little interest in anything but particularly cowish matters (eating and mating mostly), but also just happens to have a mathematical mind?

Yes, no more technically theory than mine. But you have advanced alternate ideas. Let's not get caught up in syntax, okay?

"Could easily"? I don't find that easy to swallow at all. As I said above, man's visible signs of intelligence are quite evident.
Is it possible that YOU are looking at man's actions with a jaundiced eye and, as you've said, seen little commendable intelligence and are interpreting that animals would necessarily agree with your opinion?
Aren't you caught in your own argument when you imagine that animals would react in ways that YOU can imagine? You seem to be suggesting they act in ways we canNOT imagine.

Density calculation is possible ONLY by assuming we know of what it is made. Its mass is clear from its orbit and its volume from observation. But it could be a big hollow ball with a very dense core. Or a big ball of brie with a very dense core.
Until we are *certain* of its composition, we cannot be *certain* of its density.

Yes, that was my point. As unlikely as mathematical cows or squirrel scientists studying humans. And while the lack of supporting evidence in all cases is not *proof*, combined with what we do know about the situation, that *consistant* lack of proof is testimony of *something*.

Oh? We've lived with animals for thousands of years. They've been our companions and servants all that time. Our relationship with some animals predates recorded history. There have been naturalists and behaviorists far longer than there have been astronomers. We've never set human foot upon any planet but this, and we've only very briefly visited one other by proxy.

You've been suggesting an active deception on their part.
And since animal researchers have been *looking* for intelligence for a very long time, there must be more going on than self-deception. Indeed, with regard to sign language and gorillas, the self-deception may have gone the other way!

My personal knowledge may be anecdotal, but as I've said, serious scientists have been studying animals as long as there have been serious scientists. And less serious study has existed as long as humans have had a relationship with animals.
They are a big part of our world, and it is natural that interested parties would study them.

The two statements barely intersect. How are they contradictory?

I think you are leaning too far backwards to accomodate putative alternate intelligence. It's a circular argument: if we can't see any sign of it, it must be so different we cannot see any sign of it. It leads us nowhere useful.
I think the things I named are very likely universal. Most of them come from having a physical existence. Numbers are universal IF a species invents math. 1+1=2 throughout the universe as soon as you invent "1" and "2" and "+" and "=".
Shapes are evident to anything with perception and form.
Color is evident to anything with color vision. And light/dark to anything that sees. Likewise, sound to anything that hears or is able to sense vibration.
So, yes, I think these are very likely universal concepts.

Amusing story, but Neep doesn't sound too bright. One would hope intergalactic explorers have better training! (-:

My views are the result of the information I trust and logical analysis. They are, in fact, *contrary* to some of my preconceptions.

You've proposed alternative scenarios to rebutt my stated views. I'm rebutting back trying to show where your logic leads. If you would support your rebuttal, you need to answer the implicit questions raised by it.

You complain I appear to me mocking your position, and then turn about and do the same. Worse, you trot off down the garden path.
Let's stick to the point. You suggest animal curiosity about humans is not a survival trait. I reply that knowledge about those that threaten you very *likely* is a survival trait.
Nothing about lab benches or head drilling.

Could we just stick to ideas and keep personalities out of it?

But isn't it implicit it is in what you suggest? Your view requires either that, despite the efforts of some very dedicated, devoted and trained people, communication is impossible, even after all this time on earth together, OR that they are actively hiding it from us.

Hiding one self or offspring is rather different than concealing a major behavior characteristic. It would be, it seems to me, not unlike, say, dogs concealing that they bark from us. I just don't think intelligence hides from all observers, particularly the very interested and trained ones.

Why and how? Isn't it intelligence that allows us to transcend our animal nature? Isn't it intelligence that allows us to communicate with other cultures?
Which seems more logical: that we don't see a quality in animals because it simply isn't there, OR that we don't see a quality because it is so incredibly unrecognizable it is *impossible* to see?

My "willingness to reason fairly"? Huh??

Walk into any technical library. Go to the bookshelves that contain books and papers by animal researchers. I personally guarentee that no creditable source will talk about animals doing higher math or animals actively and scientifically studying humans.

It's been implicit in the alternate views you've floated, but: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CS> That would suggest they needs be *much* more intelligent than CS> us, since it's manifest that humans can't keep a secret. | RH> Well, being much more intelligent than humans wouldn't be hard, RH> I'm afraid. | CS> What are the chances this intelligence was able to evolve and CS> surpass us without our noticing it? | RH> High. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CS> Where is their science? Where are their scientists? | RH> Perhaps they're BETTER at unobserved observation THAN WE are. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You've suggested cows doing integral math without math school or books. You've suggested squirrel scientists (again without any obvious science schools). You've also implied we're dumber than they are.

I keep forgetting your distaste for metaphor from me. The point, in simple, literal black and white, is that animals stand a lot to gain by speaking up in recognizable fashion.

I said they were pretty dumb creatures. You asked me how I didn't know they weren't doing higher math. I replied, you replied, etc.

Consider that cows invariably outnumber farm hands (at least on every farm I've ever been on (a few)). They could *easily* revolt, escape and march off down the road.
They don't. One explanation is that they are gentle, dumb creatures. In light of the evidence, that seems pretty likely.

Metaphor, Richard, metaphor. Give me some credit here, eh?

(No, of communication.)

Seems a reasonable assumuption.

Little fuss? What about the resistance? What about the opposing forces? Do you really think they went willingly and gently? Do you not think that if they had the power in the face of the weapons against them they would not have protested?

Yes, the absense of evidence is *evidence* of absense. What it is not is *proof* of absense. On a purely statistical basis, consistant failure of something to happen is meaningful.

As our slaves, test subjects and food sources?

Name just ten more of those thousand, if you would. (-:

Yes, and I'm saying that's incorrect. Many animal researchers would give up years of their life for such an occurance.

Why "most unlikely"? The PETA folk likely *dream* of something like this happening.

Even if we did act in such an inhumane way--something that I'm not at all convinced would happen--they would be ABLE to protest... up to the moment we--by your view, I guess--would gun them down.
That act alone would be history and would likely precipitate change. Consider what happened when one human stood before one tank.

Do you really think I am talking about well-dressed animals? But, fine, whatever.

It's much more than that. It's, "if animals were intelligent would would have found much more evidence of it than we have."

And--my point--at no time passed through a stage recognizable as intellectual development, and at no time passed through a stage of reaching out to the other intelligences on the planet?

Your suggestion requires that animals achieved intelligence ENOUGH to recognize the value of concealing it from us *before* we achieved enough intelligence to notice they had something worth concealing.

?!?! What exactly are these contrived and fanciful scenarios for? You suggest an animal smart, excuse me, intelligent enough to write words on the beach, but not smart, excuse me, intelligent enough to figure the consequences?
Not such a smart, excuse me, intelligent animal after all!

Some spend a career at it!

To name just one: ability to learn new things.
Consider how much a human learns in a lifetime. Compare that to how much an animal seems to learn.

I don't think so. "Might be" is moderate. "Could easily" suggests a whole different world of probability.
If your doctor told you you "could easily" die today, would you view that as a moderate statement?

You asserted it as an article of belief. You haven't supported it, let alone proved it. It seems just as likely, if not much more so, that communication is more a winning strategy.
Would we really be likely to shoot deer if they communicated with us? Why don't we hunt dolphin? Why doesn't Western culture eat dog or cat? Why do we decry the hunting of elephants?
Is it not, at least in part, because we perceive *rudimentary* intelligence in these beings? If they communicated actively with us, can you imagine what groups like PETA and Greenpeace would do?

No, that--as I think you should know--is me. Are you claiming you have never said a thick skin is important in these here parts?

I'm no longer convinced you'd accept anything I have to say.
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Programmer Dude wrote:

If there are two outcomes with 50% probability of occuring, such as a truely random coin-toss, then it's irrelevant how many times one result has occured in the past. The next toss of the coin will be either heads or tails with equal probability.
Of course if you've done that many samples, all with the same result, there is an extremely high chance that the coin is flawed in some way. To get that many in real life I'd say the coin would have to have two heads :>
It's like trying to predict lottery numbers based on historical evidence. Take all of the past draws in your local lottery. Count the number of times each number has come up, and divide by the number of draws to find the historical draw frequency of each number. Let's say you find that the number 6 has been drawn more than 3 times as frequently as any other number. How does this affect future drawings? Assuming that the lottery is correctly run, so that each ball has an equal probability of being drawn, then there is no effect at all.

Normally, tires do not explode. This is an observed fact. A tyre exploding, or failing in some other fashion, is by definition a non-normal event.
However, driving 5000 miles on a fresh set of tires, and not experiencing a failure, is not evidence that failures /WILL NOT/ happen.

Human intelligence is obvious /TO HUMANS/. Seems fairly self-explanatory, doesn't it?

It is quite likely that we will recognize other intelligence that is similar in degree and nature to our own if/when we meet it. It is slightly less likely that we will fully recognize extremely high intelligence.
It is also very likely that there are forms of intelligence that we would not recognize as such because it is very different in nature to our own. In fact it's quite possible that there are forms of /life/ that we would not recognize as life.

What SETI is doing is attempting to find alien life by scanning for activity on the 'quiet' hydrogen band. Since it is so clear of interference, they believe it would be ideal for communication.
For short-range communication, I agree. But there's a reason why it's so clean... it's the /absorption/ spectra of hydrogen, the most common element in the universe.
Am I the only one that sees the irony?

All of which may very well be in forms we do not recognize.
And take Art out of that list. Producing works of art is not a requirement of intelligence. Nor is appreciation of art. The fact that /we/ produce and appreciate it has no relevance... we are, after all, only a single datum.

The whole mathematic cow thing is getting tired. None of us believe that it is so, but I guess it's a useful hypothetical case. I guess.
There have been several well-documented cases of what these days is called 'savant syndrome' or 'autistic savants.' There have been extreme cases where the savant has a measured IQ (if that means anything) of below 25 ouside of their field, but are capable of prodigious feats of mathematics, art, memory, etc. And with an IQ under 25, you are dependant on others for survival.
Of course it's a rare thing in humans. The current wisdom is that there are fewer than 20 'prodigious savants' alive today. The most extreme cases are, quite literally, drooling idiots... with high genius level ability in one narrow field.
We don't know why, or how, or pretty much anything else about the phenomenon. We've made some guesses, but that's all they are.
So *what if* savant syndrome is a /normal/ condition for, say, cows. Maybe they /do/ stand around all day watching the numbers dance through their heads. Maybe they can't do much of anything else.
As I say, it's not very likely. But it's also not impossible.

The density of a body is it's mass divided by its volume. Regardles of composition. If you're talking about the density of pluto's /core/ vs the density of the brie that makes up the rest of it, then no we /can't/ be sure until we slice the planet up (to feed the masses of course) and look. But the density of the /planet/ is fairly easy to define.

I read your statements as "Some of us might reconize the possibilities, but not me." No contradiction there :>

Ah, good. I was starting to think we were holding completely incompatible views :>
Useful or not, there is a possibility that there is intelligence that we would not recognize. If we don't recognize it, that's our failure in recognition, /not/ its failure to exist.

...to an intelligence which has developed/learned mathematics, has the appropriate senses, etc.
<snip>

Hiding something we can directly perceive is more difficult than something we can not. Hiding something that we /can't/ is trivial. For example, we now know that some animals are color-blind, because we have a much better understanding of the mechanisms of vision... and we've taken them apart to figure it out.
So much for 'red rag to a bull' huh?

Neither. Logically speaking, we have insufficient data to /prove/ either statement. We can - and do - make assumptions.

<snip>
Umm... do you see anything contradictory in those two statements of yours quoted above?

To quote Mark Twain: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics."

Key word: /seems/. We don't /know/ how much an animal learns. We can only guess... or more precisely, we can devise tests, collect the data, and hope that our tests were good enough.
At the end of the day, all any of us currently has is a theory. No matter how elegant you or I think our own theory is, the fact is that it will /remain/ a theory. There is no way to prove or disprove it, since to do so would require knowledge about /all/ forms of intelligence. Since we've only got one (that we acknowlege) to work from, there is insufficient data.
Wow, but this has taken forever to reply to :>
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Corey Murtagh wrote: <snip>

See? I really /should/ check my references. It was, of course, Benjamin Disraeli who said that. Twain quoted him :>
Something else from Disraeli that's particularly apt to this conversation: "Ignorance never settles a question."
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sounds like your coin is broken, otherwise, i'll take heads, at 2/1
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Corey Murtagh wrote:

Yes. Each toss has 50% probability.

Or the universe has gone a little screwy. The point is, SOMETHING is going on. And after 50,000 heads tosses, it would NOT be at all unreasonable to have some level of confidence about the 50,001st.

In part, because they are engineered to be robust, but also in part, because--as you say--it's an observed fact. The combination of science/engineering and observation leads us to a high *confidence* that tires don't explode.

It is not *proof*. It *is* evidence. It's part of that observed fact you mentioned above.

What I'm saying--and believe--is that intelligence transcends species and should be recognizable to another intelligent species. We certainly seem to recognize (rudimentary) intelligence in other species--my dog is quite intelligent, and this is evident in a number of ways. Doesn't that suggest higher intelligence would be even more recognizable?

That is an assertion. What support have you for that assertion? Why wouldn't *any* intelligence be recognizable against a background of random and organic behavior?

Ask yourself what intelligence is and how it could fail to be so utterly unrecognizable. Would it share absolutely NO traits with the various forms of human intelligence?
It would not form societies? It would not form government and law? It would not have language and symbols? It would not communicate? It would have no economy, commerce or trade? It would have no tools?
Seems *very* improbable to me.

Problems of the hydrogen band aside, it's the WAY they are doing it that I was referencing. They are looking for order and pattern in the random noise of space. The idea is that *any* intelligence would *necessarily* create recognizable order in their environment.
NO OTHER intelligence could fail to recognize the effects of humans on earth: Roads, communications, vehicles, air craft, cities, energy production,... our presense here is unmistakable.
It's possible they might be so advanced as to think us pretty dumb, but I can't see how they could fail to recognize our intelligence.

I assert it is, you assert it isn't. [shrug] Two guesses. :-)
You may well be right, art may be a particularly human endeavor. I just have a gut sense it isn't. (FWIW, I define art as the drive to express ones interpretation of reality, and I just am of the *opinion* this is linked to intelligence. As you say, we only have ourselves as data, but it's interesting that art seems to exist in nearly every human society.)

It's kind of at one extreme. I think we all recognize that. (-:

Agreed! (Although one might question whether they have the "CPU" capacity, so to speak.)

Assuming that volume is consistant.

Yes, exactly.

Absolutely. And I agree it's *possible*. I just *believe* that is unlikely. Extremely unlikely.

I would prefer the term "draw (tentative) conclusions." I'm asking which is the more logical (tentative) conclusion?

Too much quoted, so I'm not sure which two statements you meant. If you mean that cows are unarmed--as were the Jews--the difference is that farm hands tending cows don't typically carry machine guns and don't carry the numbers of an army. Farm hands are also unlikely to murder a cow's family just because a cow steps out of line.

Sure. Do you see any suggestion that an animal learns as much in its lifetime as a human? I see the opposite. I've raised a number of dogs from pups. They learned a fair bit--for a dog.

Of course. So what do we do? Give up or keep investigating?
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[Apologies to Corey for piggybacking - Chris's article didn't like my news server, for some reason. Quite a bit snipped.]
Corey Murtagh wrote:

Bad analogy. Closer: if you flip a coin into a bucket so that you can't see it land, and call out "heads" irrespective of the actual result, you can certainly do that 50,000 times and then claim that it is significant. But that doesn't mean that your analysis of the coin's behaviour is an accurate one.

Corey clearly understands my argument.

Have you considered the possibility that human intelligence is so ignorant, humanocentric, and egotistical that it can't recognise intelligence elsewhere?

Indeed. Of course, if some animal species /are/ intelligent, they might draw up a very different list, and conclude sadly that we clearly don't qualify.

Well, I introduced it because I thought it would be useful. (The example should have used a camel, not a cow, to attract the Pratchett vote.) The poor thing is a little tired now, and it has already served its purpose in illustrating a point. Clearly, Chris isn't convinced, and I don't propose to serve him any more algebraburgers.

Yeah, I'll buy that for a dollar. The contradiction is clear to me, but it's late and I'm tired.

It's not a circular argument. If we can't see any signs of animal intelligence even after looking for it, then /either/ it doesn't exist, /or/ we aren't very good at recognising animal intelligence.

Right.
Does 1 have to be shaped like that? How about =? Do you insist that animal intelligences (should they exist, and should they be into mathematics) use the same symbols that we do?

Precisely. Again.

Oh dear. It clearly isn't worth going on. Reply as you will.
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A brief response, because I'm busy, but I see some important points... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Richard Heathfield wrote:

Corey *agrees* with your argument; I do not. I fully understand it; I just *perceive* that it's unlikely.
My perception is that I believe intelligence *transcends* species. I think I've made a good case for why I think this.
You guys assert over and over that we might, or probably would, not. But you've presented no good *reason* why not other than *assuming* it would be so. I perceive some good (IMO) reasons why it would not be so.

Of course. I believe--if it were there to be unrecognized--that somewhere along our long history, there would be *enough* people who are NOT ignorant, NOT anthrocentric and NOT egotistical to have recognized it.
The evidence is simple: YOU guys have considered the possibility, and you (and I) are strictly arm chair analysts. If we can do it, I have to believe people in a better position than us could.

Agreed. Do you have an probability for either choice? My analysis assigns a larger probability to the former for reasons I've stated.

Of course not. (Obviously not, I would have thought.)

You seem to be translating lack of finding intelligence in animals as "NO DATA". This is not so. It *is* data, and--thus far--the data pretty much says one thing.
Thus it is evidence, and as it piles up over the centuries, it begins to be significant evidence. NOT PROOF... EVIDENCE.
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<<thoughtful snip>>

I saw a program on TV showing a gorilla that had been taught sign language. It could construct and communicate ideas at about the level of a two- or three-year old. I was impressed that it could take one idea (like: flower pretty) and create a similar idea about another object (like: trainer pretty) and even form the negation (like: hurt not pretty). Not rocket science, but it tended to make me think the gorilla was rational.
<<snip>>

Well, a beaten animal may well whine and try to hide OR attack back. Either could be taken as an "attempt to communicate" but at an animal level through "animal sounds" and body language. I swear a dog I had once used to say "Lemma out" very quietly at night by the side of my bed. If she had simply barked at everything there wouldn't have been different messages in her barking. My current dog has a quick two bark message that means "I need help" (like when her ball rolls over to the heat register that she avoids) and a rapid, multiple bark message that means "someone is at the door."
My wife and I were eating dinner one night with the dog lying at our feet and my wife said something like "Well, even with all our trouble, the Holy Spirit is here with us." to me and the dog got up and ran to the door to see who was here. I swear to it. Clearly the dog associates the sounds "is here" with the pleasure of seeing someone at the door (they all make a fuss and pet the dog). Is this thinking?
Of course, there is the story of a couple who had a cat that started scratching at the chair and the husband said he'd take care of it. He grabbed the cat and threw it outside. For 15 years thereafter, whenever the cat wanted to go outside it started scratching the chair. Who trained whom?
<<snip>>
What to make of all this, and stories of dolphin pushing drowning swimmer back to shore (they can kill you by battering you with their snouts, but they don't), and other "Lassie saved me" stories, I don't know. There is SOMETHING going on in those little brains of theirs, at some really low level compared to ours, and conditioned by their physiology and instincts. I just don't know whether to call it "thinking" or not. "Processing" might be a better word.
Animals appear to learn sequences of actions to get what they want, and they seem satisfied to stop at very little in the way of feedback. Perhaps they can't absorb and store enough patterns to make the breakthrough to the level of human thought. Maybe we did, thousands of years ago.
Anyway, do you really want your canary to learn Java? They might get good enough at it to take your job. After all, they work cheep!
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Gary Labowitz wrote:

I've read that a great deal of the gorilla sign language business turned out to be wishful thinking on the part of trainers with a lot of love and a highly vested interest in the outcome.
Regardless, do you think it means anything that the best we have been able to do with the *smartest* animals we know is achieve this crude level?
(I also wonder, would a gorilla find the trainer to be "pretty"? :-)

Could be. Any of us, under physical attack, might also whine, cry, scream, run away, hide, or attack back. Would we view those as communication or something else? Perhaps. Is it reasonable to suppose that if we had better means of communicating, we would use them?

How do you suppose she learned that bit of slang? Is it an expression you used around her?

Same here. When she was outside, a single bark meant "I want to come in now." If I didn't respond, she'd issue another single bark (at about two/three minute intervals).

Also, same here. My buddy comes over once a week and we go to the movies. If I say, "That GUY is coming over," she barks. One time I swear she knew it was Wednesday--she was hanging out around the door. I *think* she has noticed a slight difference in my pattern on Wednesday nights, though.

I did some surfing about dolphins as a result of this thread, and it's not entirely clear how accurate those stories are or what they mean. One thing though, dolphins *have* attacked humans. Not often, but it has happened.

I agree entirely! They seem like children, at best. My dog *knows* she isn't allowed to eat food off tables. Having owned dogs all my life, I naturally don't put temptation in their way. When I was married, my wife was not "dog trained" and consequently "trained" my dog that sometimes there was tasty stuff 'up high'.
Point is, she knew it was wrong, wouldn't do it when anyone was around, but left to her own devices...*snatch*.
She also knows--from nine years of my highly consistant reaction on the matter--she is not allowed to eat food she finds on the ground outside. Nevertheless, she won't miss a morsel if she can get away with it (and despite knowing I'll yell at her, which she hates).
She's even tried to play it cool. Lagging behind, holding something in her mouth, not chewing, hoping I won't notice. But the behavior alone is a giveaway! "Drop it, Sam!" (-:

I agree with that entirely. I proposed a "critical mass" analogy here a while ago, and the more I think about it, the more I like the analogy.
Radioactive materials--depending on refinement and type--are anything from fairly benign and safe to toxic and "hot". But as you refine the ore, certain types become a lot less benign. At some point, you can use the heat--in a controlled fashion--to generate power. At some point beyond that, KA-BOOM!!!
I compare animals minds to the unrefined ores. Clearly radioactive, but not usefully so. I compare the refining process to the evolution of the brain/mind. And the KA-BOOM is when a mind achieves "True Intelligence."

OUCH! (-:
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<<snip>>
It was a joke of my father's. Her whine just sounded like "lemmeout." The point was that she just made this little pleading noise and not a bark -- it being late at night and a bark would wake people. I thought that was nice of her.

Hmmm... we seem to have the same dog.

<<snip>>
There was a story of a solider, from a sunk ship off an island in the Pacific that was held by the Japanese trying to swim away from the shore. The damned dolphins kept pushing him toward shore. They didn't understand the geopolitical implications of their actions.

Oh, yes. We must have the same dog. Mine loves to go for walks and when she suddenly turns toward home, as if to say "enough walking, thank you," it is time to check the mouth to see what treasure she is trying to sneak back with. If she were subtle enough to walk for a little while and then turn home she might get away with it. And she knows not to eat from the table. But if no one is there .... It's an old dog riddle: If you eat from the table and no one is there, is it eating?
--
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Richard Heathfield wrote:

How many animals have made obvious and overt attempts to communicate with you (anything beyond their own immediate needs)?
Me either.

Over nine years of observational data.

A. She seems quite happy and unfrustrated. (Must be all that food and those long walks.)
2. A sentient being would be capable of recognizing the failure and attempting something else. As the failure in this case is manifest, alternate strategies are clearly required. None is evident.
3. A sentient being would very likely pick up on, and use, some of *my* communication methods. No evidence of such exists (and, yes, I fully recognize that absense of proof is not proof of absense, but after nine years of close, daily bservation the absense is very, very suggestive...even compelling).
4. A sentient being would very likely recognize and respond to my attempts to communicate in it's language. Again, nonesuch is evident.
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On Wed, 03 Sep 2003 16:06:27 -0500, Programmer Dude

Yes. See http://mindprod.com/intel.html
-- Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green. Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming. See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
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Roedy Green wrote:

And when you asked what its favorite food or color was it replied....
(Note: two-year-old humans WILL reply!)
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You make some very good points, but is the process of attributing to other animals fundamentally all that different from what we do within our own species? With our own species, we certainly get more feedback which serves as reinforcement and helps to both establish and sustain communication - but it is also true that most folk get quite close to their pets (and some to their livestock!), and whilst many may sneer at such "anthropomorphic" behaviour, we have little evidence that what we do there is really all that different from what we do with each other. We have less in common with other animals, but does it make any sense at all to use the word "intelligence" in such contexts. Just think back a century or so when we were not so politically correct.
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On Wed, 03 Sep 2003 18:02:43 -0500, Programmer Dude

Please read The Language Instinct by Steve Pinker (Amazon.com product link shortened)
see http://mindprod.com/jgloss/creole.html
He argues that human brains have a prewired program for human language parsing. Basically what happens when you learn a language as a child is a few configuration parameters get tweaked to tune the algorithms.
One speculation is that dolphins use a holographic language where they paint sonic pictures.
It is rather difficult for either species to learn the native language of the other. So the two mutually create an artificial language.
-- Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green. Coaching, problem solving, economical contract programming. See http://mindprod.com/jgloss/jgloss.html for The Java Glossary.
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Roedy Green wrote:

I'd guess that's certainly true NOW, although which really came first is a bit of a chicken/egg thing. But I agree that speech likely has a very good "impedence match" with the human brain.
However, I am including all forms of communication. I am not restricting this to speech.
My dog is able to communicate basic wants and needs by posture, eye contact (big with animals) and movement. If she wants a treat, she stands by the kitchen and looks at where the treats are stored. On our walks, she often appears to have a clear idea of which direction she'd like to go.
The commuication is clearly there, it's just rudimentary and basic. Not unlike talking with a one-year-old. It just seems to me that, if animals ARE any better than your basic one-year- old, there would be more progress in our mutual attempts to communicate. After all, we've had thousands of years to spend on the problem.

And I suspect that if there is something to this, we will eventually discover it. So far, not.

Exactly. This seems absent despite the efforts of workers with a vested interest in succeeding. SOME patterns have been found to allow communication (I want to find out more about elephants as a result of this thread!), but consider: if they are as intelligent as us, why aren't they studying us as hard as we are studying them?
Where is their science? Where are their scientists?
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Programmer Dude wrote:
<snip>

What makes you think they aren't?

Perhaps they're better at unobserved observation than we are.
Note, also, that we tend to keep most of our own scientists where most animals are unlikely to observe them. Why should not animal scientists (if they exist) be kept where we are unlikely to observe them?
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Richard Heathfield wrote:

The *universal* apparent lack of process and organization.

Perhaps Pluto is made of brie.

Even the scientists that *study* animals?

Seen any squirrels in white lab coats ducking behind trees lately?
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Programmer Dude wrote:

In other words, we haven't looked closely enough.

Perhaps, but it's rather unlikely. For example, the mass and volume of Pluto are, presumably, a matter of record, so its density may be readily calculated. It is likely to be different to that of Brie. If you are concerned about this, feel free to perform the necessary research.

In the field, you mean? If so, they could easily be under observation in their turn. Or not. We don't know either way.

Yet another attempt to ridicule a serious debating position. Okay, let me try to respond to this childishness. From the above, it appears that you define a scientist as "an entity wrapped in a white lab coat".
From that simple premise, you have managed to demonstrate that, in the lab in which I had chemistry classes about 25 years ago, the teacher's lab stool was intelligent. Nice one, Chris.
Now, if you like, we can debate this seriously. If you'd rather play silly games, please count me out.
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