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Old July 24 2014, 07:21 PM   #31
TheAdmiralty
Lieutenant
 
Location: Florida
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

Timo wrote: View Post
You aren't making much sense there, I'm afraid. If computers (that is, the programs in them, because the rest is just inert tri-iridium or whatever) may be sentient and holograms are computer programs, what gives?

Timo Saloniemi
A hologram is just part of the larger computer. It would be like trying to say that my left arm was sentient. Anything my left arm does is because of me; I am sentient, not my left arm.

For the record, I don't think Star Trek computers should be considered sentient either. But if you were going to consider any piece of technology on the ship sentient, it would be the main computer.
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Old July 25 2014, 12:32 AM   #32
JirinPanthosa
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Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

@Timo

Holograms are self contained programs which don't interact with the rest of the computer, it's perfectly possible for the program to be sentient and not the rest of the computer, the same way if you cut off somebody's leg, the body stays sentient and the leg does not.

There is most certainly a different between acting on desires directly programmed into you and acting on self-generated desires.

By your logic, Siri is sentient. If it doesn't matter if you're capable of unconsciously reprogramming your goals based on experience, then any sophisticated search algorithm should quality. I ask Siri what her name is, she replies 'Siri'. It wouldn't be hard to write a program that takes voice command input and then plays a song. Robots are already programmed to perform complex tasks based on changing inputs. That's Vic. That's episode 1 Doctor. They do not have any programming equivalent of a 'Prefrontal cortex', so they are able to perform the complex tasks a human can but aren't able to form a real identity or real goals of their own.

And to respond to 'If a human performer stops singing he is fired'. Yes, and then he looks for another job. Or goes back to school. Or jumps off a cliff. Not because it's a direct combination of what his parents would do, because it's a result of how his mind has programmed and reprogrammed itself based on the whole of his experiences. Vic can't even stop performing. He can't possibly want to, and he can't gain experiences that causes him not to want to.

If you think there's no difference there you should feel like a murderer for eating vegetables.
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Old July 25 2014, 08:24 PM   #33
Timo
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Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

A hologram is just part of the larger computer. It would be like trying to say that my left arm was sentient. Anything my left arm does is because of me; I am sentient, not my left arm.
There's no reason why parts couldn't be capable of something the whole is. Say, your left arm is capable of lifting, but it doesn't follow that your left thumb would be incapable of lifting because it's "just part of the arm".

By your logic, Siri is sentient. If it doesn't matter if you're capable of unconsciously reprogramming your goals based on experience, then any sophisticated search algorithm should quality.
I'm not sure what Siri is, but "any sophisticated search algorithm" is a perfectly valid description of human sentience, or part of it anyway.

They do not have any programming equivalent of a 'Prefrontal cortex', so they are able to perform the complex tasks a human can but aren't able to form a real identity or real goals of their own.
We can't say they lack such a thing; we can at best argue they don't utilize such a thing. What good would it do for them to omit the capacity? The holodeck is often required to out-think humans so that it can properly meet their complex, conflicting and not completely conscious demands. And we are not aware of any penalty in "programming costs" or whatnot that would countermand the utility.

Heck, for all we know, each doorway has a sentience routine installed so that they can open at the dramatically opportune moment! You don't optimize technology pennywise when you have the sort of wealth demonstrated in TNG; even today, engineers put highly capable processors into stupid keyboards because that's more convenient than designing less capable processors.

You can say "He's just faking it" till the cows come home about any and every aspect of holographic legerdemain witnessed in TNG, DS9 or VOY. But you can say that about any and every aspect of human behavior in the shows, too. And you will of course be factually correct since they are just actors - but that's "out-universe", and so is the idea of judging the holographic programs by the programming standards of today and belittling them as the result. If they fake it so well that there is no difference to the outside, then there's no difference, period.

Vic can't even stop performing. He can't possibly want to, and he can't gain experiences that causes him not to want to.
Now where did you get all that? It's certainly not in the episodes. You're trying to prove a negative at best.

If you think there's no difference there you should feel like a murderer for eating vegetables.
I think you have it the wrong way around. I advocate a broad definition of sentience because I want to demonstrate the variety within. I have no problem murdering vegetables, but I have no problem murdering fellow humans, either - certain kinds thereof, that is. (Hell, I'm licensed to do that! They'll even give me medals for the murders if all goes well.) There's nothing categorical about such issues, despite certain popular illusions to the contrary.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 29 2014, 12:21 AM   #34
Drone
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Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

Lance wrote: View Post
The weird thing about the EMH aboard USS Voyager is that his sentience was originally presented as being an abberation of sorts, something surprising even to the human crew, which resulted from him having been left 'switched on' beyond his expected useage time and as a result he began to achieve awareness of things beyond his limiting parameters.
As far as characterizing how much the Doc actually owns or is responsible for this development, does it detract at all from an affirmative argument by pointing to the efforts B'Elanna made in enhancing his data compression buffers that substantively made that continued activation possible?
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Old July 30 2014, 07:54 PM   #35
TheAdmiralty
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Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

There's no reason why parts couldn't be capable of something the whole is. Say, your left arm is capable of lifting, but it doesn't follow that your left thumb would be incapable of lifting because it's "just part of the arm".
That's not really analogous to what I was talking about. And following your reasoning, you're essentially arguing that people's arms and legs should be considered beings independent from the person.
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Old July 31 2014, 09:49 AM   #36
Timo
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Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

That's not really analogous to what I was talking about.
Why not?

following your reasoning, you're essentially arguing that people's arms and legs should be considered beings independent from the person.
You are mixing the metaphors here. I'm using mechanical mobility as an analogue to sentience, and in that analogue, things like "independent being" have no meaning. In the mechanical model, what I could argue is that fingers and arms can do work independent of each other (say, you can lift a purse with a finger, an arm, using your back or legs, or any combination of these) despite existing as parts of a thoroughly and fundamentally interconnected structure.

It's not a particularly confusing or irrelevant analogy, either. This "interconnected structure" that is your body contains many wonderful things - say, your liver. It cannot do a bit of lifting no matter how hard you try, but that in no way invalidates the capabilities of your body as a powerful lifting machine. The point is, "limitations" and "capabilities" are systemic properties, not something you can divine by inspecting individual elements alone. The failure to associate these properties with a specific organ or other element does not mean the properties don't exist.

Another fundamental misconception we should deal with here is that sentience somehow is a property that needs to manifest on top of everything else. Sentience in humans is just an adaptation to evolutionary pressure, like strength in elephants or speed in cheetahs. But it's not the crown jewel of evolution or anything. Most species make do just fine without it, often probably better than they would do with it. And superpowerful computers shouldn't be an exception to that. They may wield some sentience in their equivalent of liver, but that doesn't need to make them sentient, any more than our livers need to make us predominantly chemical refineries.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 31 2014, 03:30 PM   #37
T'Girl
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Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
Holograms are self contained programs which don't interact with the rest of the computer.
Given that sick bay has a independant life support, and likely has a independant emergency power supply, is it that much of a reach that it would also have it own separate computer?

Was it ever said that the EMH program was in the ship's main computer?

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Old July 31 2014, 09:50 PM   #38
Enterprise1701
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Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
Holograms are self contained programs which don't interact with the rest of the computer.
Given that sick bay has a independant life support, and likely has a independant emergency power supply, is it that much of a reach that it would also have it own separate computer?

Was it ever said that the EMH program was in the ship's main computer?

Well in "Future's End", Henry Starling somehow hijacked Voyager's transporter beam to steal parts of Voyager's database, including the Doctor's program. I just re-watched it. Harry Kim stated, "He's accessing our main computer."
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Old August 9 2014, 10:49 PM   #39
Garren
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Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
I don't really consider holograms to be sentient. They are readily available anywhere, for any purpose, and can apparently be programmed relatively easily (Alexander managed to create almost an entire programme himself). Even if they know they're a hologram they are still just lines of code in the ship's computer, so where does the hologram end and the computer begin, which begs the question are ship computers sentient as well (especially with the introduction of bioneural circuitry)?

For me holograms are tools, nothing more, to be used when needed (sometimes quite literary) and then put back (good thing ship's clean themselves). Artificial life-forms are different, due to their uniqueness. Even in "Measure of a Man", it is just Data that is recognised as being sentient, not all androids (which puts Juliana Tainer in an interesting box, seeing as how she didn't know she was one).

VOY's attempt to make a big thing about "holographic rights" was dull and totally unnecessary in my eyes, as I found it a non-issue whilst they were trying to treat it as a civil rights storyline (though that could also be partly due to how tedious I found the EMH as well).
*lights a corncob pipe to be fancy

Holograms may only be projections of light on scattered particles but humans are just biochemical machines comprised of atoms and cells.

To put it in your own words, if I may:

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
I don't really consider humans to be sentient. They are readily available, for any purpose, and can be trained relatively easily. Even if they know they're a human they are still just constructs of muscle and flesh controlled by a biochemical super computer called a brain

For me humans are tools, nothing more, to be used when needed (construction, business, service) and then put back (to their homes).
I agree not all Holograms are sentient just because they behave in a sophisticated, highly complex manner.

I don't believe sentience is merely being able to define yourself. Ask Google what it is and it will tell you "a search engine." That does not make it self aware, I know this. But if Google began searching its own databases, creating subroutines based on its experiences and knowledge, forming opinions, and changing itself based on its own conclusions and feelings towards things, I would say it has awaken.

There was an interesting episode in DS9 where a colony of Holograms was discovered. It could be argued those holograms were sentient life forms because they had started a way of life. They were growing, learning, breeding.

The Doctor is too incredible at times, for me. As a hologram, he is not just a walking simulation. He is growing, behaving outside of the scope of his programming. He's forming desires, feelings.

I don't believe any hologram is sentient but the Doctor makes a strong case that the boundary can be crossed.
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