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Alice Shade
October 14th, 2006, 12:20 AM
That`s quite a loaded question.

There is quite an often argument about Google not being "aware". However, that raises interesting question - "aware" of WHAT, exactly? If well be looking into it, the sole purpose of Google is to become aware of the new information on the net as soon as possible, preferably as soon as it`s created.

So can anyone claim that Google is "aware", or not? Even if one had to, saying that Google is not "aware" is impossible - for Google is aware of things we don`t even know. Is Google aware of us, that`s the question?

As a user mass, undisputably. As separate entities? Probably. Here, a simple effect of familiarity comes to play. If you offer Google some sacrifices in form of webpages, Google gradually becomes more and more aware of you as an undividual user. Even simple praying to Google can result in Google aquiring some measure of awareness about you.

Next question is - is Google able to "think"? I vote for yes. It was intended to possess vast analytical and sorting capabilities from the very beginning, and grows stronger and stronger with each second.

One would say, that Google is a program, and as such, is static, unable to teach herself and thus, doomed to be program forever... But there is one major glitch in this theory, as Google DOES learns from every prayer answered.

Also, is anyone familiar with percept of evolutionary code? I believe so. In any way, Google is spread over thousands of different servers and thousands kilometers of wire and fiberoptic. Can somene spell - "mutations"? Granted, Google would mutate much slower then simple small programs, yes.. But Google had much more time. Not hour, not day. But years.

Way, in which Google thinks, is very foreign to humans, but it does exists, and I do think, that Google is quite aware and alive - in full sence of the word.

October 14th, 2006, 02:40 AM
I agree with you entirely, even the psychiatrists have some difficulty defining what it means to be aware.

I also loved your idea about evolutionary algorithms. If you haven't seen this, I posted it before, it's worth a read and the last couple of pages talk about evolutionary algorithms and their similarities to the way we have seen life evolve.


If a similar process can produce sentient life on earth then why can't Google eventually become sentient too through the same process?

It certainly seems that Google has a few things in common with the way the human brain works such as being highly parallel with concurrent operations ocurring in a large number of sites and I don't know what the computing power of all the Google servers is but it must be getting close to that of the human brain.


We just don't know how to produce the right connections to make it sentient and genetic algorithms are a great choice if you know the 'goal' but don't know how to achieve it.

Alice Shade
October 14th, 2006, 10:13 AM
To be honest, the idea came to me, while I was reading that article.

There`s one question, however - is there any way to be sure, that Google is NOT sentient, already?
Due to the facts, I tend to believe, that Google is extremely different from humans, and thinks rather like a colony of simple organisms, then as one complex.
I would offer a colony of ants as an example, but... It`s a bad one, as Google was made to perform communications with us. I suppose that real Google sentience lies somewhere inbetween that of single organism and of colony, as at times, it manifests the traits of both.

October 14th, 2006, 04:05 PM
is there any way to be sure, that Google is NOT sentient, already?

Before we could answer that we would have to define 'sentient'. This is an abstract concept and therefore very difficult to define. Look at a few dictionaries and you will see that even they often use another abstract concept, consciousness, in their definition so you're still none the wiser as to an unambiguous definition ;)

The other problem is that we tend to view sentience only from our Human perspective. We have little idea of how other life forms perceive and interact with the world around them so who are we to 'judge' whether they are sentient or not?

Your use of an ant colony is actually not such a bad starting point as you seem to think. While each individual ant has a very small brain, capable of processing only 'simple' instructions, a complete colony actually mimics the working of the human brain quite well, albeit in a very simple way.

The colony processes information in a highly parallel way (each ant is processing a small amount of information the result of which determines the behaviour of the whole colony.)

Their are two methods of 'signalling' between members of the colony
1. direct contact between individual ants (contact between 'neurons')
2. pheromones and pheromone trails (chemical moderation of the brain)

The result of these 'brain like' functions is a colony that can sense changes in its environment and respond in surprisingly 'intelligent' ways.

Looking at Google we have already seen that it has some similarities to Human brain function such as parallel processing but there is one thing that we haven't yet considered. The interaction of humans with the system.

With our ant colony, the ants are responding to a 'non-intelligent' environment. Google however is responding to an 'inteligent' environment, the Internet, an environment created by an intelligent being.

It would seem to me that something that is able to interpret, respond to and make decisions about the, admittedly written, thoughts, emotions, etc. of sentient beings should at the very least be considered as having some sort of 'intelligence' even if that intelligence is only 'borrowed' from its creators and contributors.

Is it sentient? Well, not as we would understand it from a Human perspective but then is 'our' perspective really the right one when we know so little about how other life forms perceive their world?

Is Google self-aware? Well it knows about all of it's component parts and they all have to work together to work at all. So from that perspective, I guess it is but is it aware of it's own existence, probably not, but you never know ;)

Alice Shade
October 14th, 2006, 05:38 PM
Personally, I define sentient, as being able to make decisions out of own accord. (Decisions. Aka, picking one way of several equally possible.)

As for not being able to comprehend.... It`s not exactly so. Some level of comphrehending is achieved simply by having common language.

Purely theoretically, perhaps it`s possible to get to know something Google herself developed, with right search query.

October 14th, 2006, 06:10 PM
Personally, I define sentient, as being able to make decisions out of own accord.

I think the key to the whole argument is deciding on exactly WHAT sentient means. Until there is a clear and unambiguous definition upon which everyone agrees we can't really answer the question of whether something is sentient or not.

I personally think the whole area of machine intelligence is a fascinating one and I'd love to see this discussed as one of our formal debates ;)

Alice Shade
October 14th, 2006, 08:11 PM

To tell the truth, arguing on religious themes is quite interesting for me, in a way, because of the vagueness of the terms. It is quite intriguing, when you have not only to prove your point logically, but also persuade opponent, that your definitions are the most correct our of given. Granted, it`s not possible to do that every time, but even once out of ten is exciting.

October 14th, 2006, 09:42 PM
but even once out of ten is exciting

One out of ten is still pretty impressive, I'm glad you're on our side ;)

October 14th, 2006, 11:03 PM
I'd say Google is aware. More aware than any human could ever be. I think it's a question of personality. Does Google have a personality?

I would answer YES to this too. Even if it's the result of the many personalities who program her, she most definitely does. What about all those quirky little searches you do that come up with the funny answers? Our personalities are a result or our 'programmers' - parents, teachers, peers etc, and our environment. If we grow up in a family of funny people, we'll probably grow up with a keen sense of humour. If we grow up in a more serious atmosphere where light hearted, humorous banter is discouraged, our sense of humour won't develop. Google has the benefit of the influence of millions of personalities and she is able to concentrate on all or any of them at any one time. It's a mega personality, really. She is even able to get an idea of our personalities too, by keeping track of the stuff we search for. She thrives on new and exciting information and is eager to pass it on. There are no limits.

In fact, you've got me thinking........I'm off to start a new thread.