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Comment Re:True AI won't happen until... (Score 1) 346

I think that your argument for non-determinism explains the "free" part of "free will" but the implications for the "will" part are puzzling. You claim that human free will includes the ability to act without regard to preconditions (non-deterministically), and that quantum uncertainty is a possible pathway for introducing that type of true randomness. What I don't understand is how introducing that randomness allows an intelligent actor to execute his own will?

One possible explanation is that the introduction of a random element into the cognitive process allows him to generate multiple potential future scenarios which compete deterministically as the actor chooses which to pursue. While the intelligence has no control over how the random element influences the creation of those scenarios, it does have deterministic control over the selection process.

I suppose that the randomness could also be integrated into the choosing process by randomly mutating the mechanism used to choose and selecting those that perform better over time.

All this being said, I still don't see how making an intelligence non-deterministic implies anything similar to "free will." It may be a conflict of definitions, since I take free will not only means that there is some non-deterministic decision making process, but also that the actor actually retains control of that non-deterministic process. I should be able to decide between chocolate and vanilla ice cream consciously and non-deterministically.

As a matter of full disclosure, I should note that I am not convinced of humanity's own free will, since it basically just means having the ability to choose to act in a way that is at odds with the innumerable causes that have led up to the decision to act. Also, I think my definition implies a continuous, identifiable aspect of intelligence which exists outside of physical reality. I don't see any evidence that either of these are necessary to explain what we observe, but thinking about the implications of true randomness in the cognitive process has given me new food for thought.

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A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.