RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 144,407
Posts: 5,670,626
Members: 25,611
Currently online: 389
Newest member: Leighdog

TrekToday headlines

Retro Review: Parallax
By: Michelle on Apr 17

New ThinkGeek Trek Shirts
By: T'Bonz on Apr 17

Star Trek Online Adds Voyager Actor
By: T'Bonz on Apr 17

Project Enterprise Campaign Debuts
By: T'Bonz on Apr 16

Star Trek Live In Concert Update
By: T'Bonz on Apr 16

Crofoot: Angel One And The Offspring
By: T'Bonz on Apr 15

Inner Light Screenwriter Brooklyn Appearances
By: T'Bonz on Apr 15

Star Trek #44 Comic Preview
By: T'Bonz on Apr 14

Mulgrew Chicago Appearance
By: T'Bonz on Apr 14

Her Universe Fashion Show Contest
By: T'Bonz on Apr 13


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Welcome to the Trek BBS! > General Trek Discussion

General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old July 18 2014, 06:20 AM   #16
Lance
Commodore
 
Lance's Avatar
 
Location: The Enterprise's Restroom
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

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. But if this is the case, then it always surprises me those occasions when the Doctor is switched off and on again, yet still retains everything he has already learned. Realistically, if his role was supposed to be as merely a short-term being that can be called upon for emergency situations and then simply switched off again, then his personality would have to begin again every time he gets rebooted. For as long as he's "online" he might amass further traits and quirks, but the very first time he goes offline and then is brought online again all of that should have been lost, and the EMH reset to factory settings.

But we never saw that. Every time EMH had this happen, he usually re-engaged with full awareness of everything he'd developed prior to the switch off. Which means that Zimmerman must have programmed him with some degree of memory retention in the first place. Which in turn means there was always a sentience. Like Data, the EMH was never a "toaster". But he was, effectively, always a slave. Which opens up a whole other can of Unfortunate Implications (especially after we see a bunch of them being used as free labor at the bottom of a mine shaft!!! ).
Lance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 18 2014, 10:02 AM   #17
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

I don't see why switching off would automatically mean rebooting. It doesn't mean that for my PC here...

As for "abuse", that's all in the eye of the beholder. Humans are being subjected to all sorts of things they don't exactly volunteer for, like paying taxes, stopping at red lights, or refraining from vivisecting cute puppies. Moral outrage at such coercion and inhibition varies with time and place.

The thing different with artificially created life (whether holographic or biologic) is that the creation process might already be considered so complex and demanding that the further ability to "program" the end product might be considered a trivial addition to the process, or indeed a solid and necessary part of it. Hence, artificial sapients could honestly enjoy being abused, and might suffer from not being abused.

Although that's not such a big difference, really. Regular humans can probably be "programmed" that way, too, once our technology and knowledge evolves a bit more. And humans today certainly enjoy being abused in certain ways and suffer from not being abused - it just depends on the definition of the day for abuse (say, an underage girl might really love having frantic sex with older boys every day, and hate the dirty old men at the legislative body who reserve the right to tell her when to open her legs).

Also, AI in many a piece of speculative fiction is not "programmed" at all, but left to emerge at random. Say, Asimov's positronic brains were "born" despite being built - the manufacturer had little control over the finer detail of the thought processes that would result when the switch was first flipped. So there wouldn't be a fundamental difference between positronic robots and flesh-and-bones humans in Asimovian stories in that respect; robots weren't "programmed", they were trained (and indoctrinated with the Three Rules, to varying degrees of success, but such indoctrination did not extend to other areas such as making a particular brain fanatically enthusiastic about running a combine harvester).

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19 2014, 12:05 AM   #18
JirinPanthosa
Rear Admiral
 
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

I would say in the Star Trek universe, a machine becomes sentient at the point where its circuitry is able to recombine its circuitry and programming to form new behavior patterns dynamically based on experience. When they gain the ability to form their own ideas and motivations that aren't directly within the scope of the programmer's intent.

By this logic Data and the Doctor qualify. It's not clear if Vic qualifies, but I don't think he does. Data was mentally capable of getting up and leaving Starfleet. The Doctor was mentally capable of ceasing to practice medicine and choosing a new career. Vic was not mentally capable of not performing for people. The parameters of his program were very reactive but they did not evolve. Moriarty by this definition seemed like he was sentient because he was able to choose careers other than supervillainy.

Knowing you're a hologram isn't enough. That's just System.out.println("I am alive"). You need the ability to dynamically self-generate your code the same way new neural pathways form in the human brain.

Last edited by JirinPanthosa; July 19 2014 at 12:15 AM.
JirinPanthosa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19 2014, 04:07 AM   #19
t_smitts
Captain
 
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

E-DUB wrote: View Post
Some of this has been talked about over in Trek Lit, given the subject of "The Light Fantastic".

I would say "The Doctor"-Yes, sentient.
Moriarty, Yes.
Vic, No-he's just programmed to fake it really well.
The Shadowplay people. Can't really tell.

It's hard, maybe even impossible, to tell the difference between actual sentience and simulated sentience, yet I maintain that there is one.
Why is Vic programmed to fake it, while the Doctor's the real deal?
t_smitts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19 2014, 04:41 AM   #20
T'Girl
Vice Admiral
 
T'Girl's Avatar
 
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

^ From what we saw of him, I don't believe Zimmerman would include a "fake being sentient" program in the EMH's overall programming.

And given that the EMH was intended for limited durations of activation, why would a "fake it" program take so long to kick in?

T'Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19 2014, 06:09 AM   #21
Ithekro
Commodore
 
Ithekro's Avatar
 
Location: Republic of California
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

Vic seems to be programed to be aware that the "customers" from outside are from outside and not from the hologram. He's program is advanced, but seems designed to entertain Starfleet personnel specifically while staying in character of a early 1960s Vegas entertainer. Perhaps this was because of the Dominion War that he was designed for this purpose....though I don't recall exactly what Bashir said about Vic or his programmer.

Though in the Mirror Universe, Vic was a real human in their 24th Century (there not being a Vic Fontaine that I recall in entertainment history).
Ithekro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19 2014, 06:13 AM   #22
Bry_Sinclair
Commodore
 
Bry_Sinclair's Avatar
 
Location: Tactical withdrawl along the Klingon border
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

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).
__________________
Avatar: Captain Naya, U.S.S. Renown NCC-1415 [Star Trek: Four Years War]
Manip by: JM1776 (STPMA.net)
Bry_Sinclair is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19 2014, 04:21 PM   #23
Elias Vaughn
Captain
 
Elias Vaughn's Avatar
 
Location: Dead. Or in the Celestial Temple. One of the two.
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

I think the most important first step would be defining 'sentient'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentience

Sentience is the ability to feel, perceive, or to experience subjectivity.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subjectivity

Subjectivity is the condition of being a subject: i.e., the quality of possessing perspectives, experiences, feelings, beliefs, desires, and/or power.
So I guess a hologram is sentient once it starts acting according to its desires instead of strictly to its programming. That's why, say, Moriarty is sentient but the Enterprise-D's computer is not. He wasn't programmed to want to leave the holodeck, but he wanted to anyway.
Elias Vaughn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19 2014, 04:34 PM   #24
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

Vic was not mentally capable of not performing for people.
How does that make him different from most people in showbiz?

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.
Since humans aren't unique (there are about seven billion of us, after all), are they tools as well? Save for the weirdo from across the street who has six toes, eighty-nine cats and no modesty?

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)?
Where's the issue here? I can see no need for sharp borders between individuals in the definition of sentience or "being alive for real" or whatnot.

And why would "bioneural" be more sapient than "optronic", "duotronic" or "electronic"?

So I guess a hologram is sentient once it starts acting according to its desires instead of strictly to its programming.
Why would desires not count as programming? It's almost trivially easy to "let loose" a program, by first providing it with a toolback of means and then issuing the order "start using your means as you please, making choices and seeing where they lead". The end result might not be identical to a toddler learning to play, walk, talk and enter politics, but it would be pretty darned racist to expect it to be. It would still count as "what life does for a living"...

Timo Saloniei
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19 2014, 05:02 PM   #25
Elias Vaughn
Captain
 
Elias Vaughn's Avatar
 
Location: Dead. Or in the Celestial Temple. One of the two.
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

Timo wrote: View Post
Why would desires not count as programming?
That is not what I said.

A hologram can be programmed to desire something, or it can develop a desire without being specifically programmed for it. That second one is the thing I was talking about. Some desires are indeed programmed in. After all, nothing in the command to the computer indicated that it should program Moriarty with a desire to leave the holodeck. He developed that desire independently because he was sentient.

It's almost trivially easy to "let loose" a program,
I did already mention Moriarty, so I'm aware.
Elias Vaughn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 20 2014, 01:29 AM   #26
T'Girl
Vice Admiral
 
T'Girl's Avatar
 
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

Elias Vaughn wrote: View Post
I think the most important first step would be defining 'sentient'.
In these discusion a while back I started to use sapience instead of sentience. Sapient is wisdom or judgement, sentient is awareness. My cat is aware, but he isn't (with all respect) capable of either judgement or wisdom, he is just an animal.

Sentient is a sliding scale, sapient is either/or. No grey areas.

Timo wrote: View Post
Vic was not mentally capable of not performing for people.
How does that make him different from most people in showbiz?
You have people like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift who will perform and interact with their fan at concerts and events, but once they're "off the clock" will politely do neither. The late Johnny Carson was the same way, at say a restaurant he would smile and polite tell you to basically go away.

Vic was alway "on." If you entered his lounge and asked for a song, you would get one.

T'Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22 2014, 04:11 AM   #27
Gaith
Rear Admiral
 
Gaith's Avatar
 
Location: Washington State
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

Melakon wrote: View Post
If the Enterprise and Voyager computers can create self-aware programs, why isn't it creating a self-aware identity for itself?
Janeway: "Coffee, black."
Replicator: "Make it yourself!"
Gaith is online now   Reply With Quote
Old July 22 2014, 11:00 AM   #28
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

A hologram can be programmed to desire something, or it can develop a desire without being specifically programmed for it. That second one is the thing I was talking about.
I really don't see the difference. Desire is already a fairly complex set of actions, so the programming for it won't be a simple "command"; it must consist of relatively grassroots-level provision of "means" for exhibiting desire and then perhaps some specific nudges and winks to make the AI start exploiting those means. None of the AIs we have met have been simpletons, only capable of monomaniacally pursuing a single goal, or three or four goals or whatever. All operate more or less like humans, relying on a set of mental "means" to cope with a task or a challenge, and for practical use they must possess a broad set of such means - broad enough that things like desire can arise without us being able to tell whether this was fated to happen "specifically" or "generally".

Say, Vic at most exhibits the level of "programming" we find in kids today: a narcissistic desire to be heard, adored, and paid for all that. There's no particular indication he couldn't overcome that programming, nor indication that he would wish to.

sapient is either/or. No grey areas.
How so? This is one area where we have plenty of experience on gradation - there are clever people and stupid people, quick people and slow people. These are grades of sapience, ranging from more-moronic-than-cat to way-smarter-than-you-and-me, and it's just social pressure that forces us to turn a blind eye on such differences and pretend we are all one happy fleet.

Vic was always "on." If you entered his lounge and asked for a song, you would get one.
If you entered the lounge, he would be "on duty" by default. Were he a human, he'd get fired if he didn't deliver. So I don't see a difference there, either.

Except of course that Vic isn't a lounge singer as such, but a holographic lounge singer, and knows it - so his "duty" is somewhat different, and he's perfectly aware of the differences. If there are customers around, he must cheer them up, even if the fake bar is fakely closed. He's only "off duty" when there are no users on the holodeck (and unlike most entertainment holoprograms, he seems to be active every now and then even without users).

Janeway: "Coffee, black."
Replicator: "Make it yourself!"
The E-D computer does some of that with the early, incessantly babbling Data...

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 24 2014, 03:49 PM   #29
TheAdmiralty
Lieutenant
 
Location: Florida
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

I honestly would say holograms, as defined in the Star Trek universe, can't be sentient. They are computer programs. The computer that runs a holographic program may be a sentient being, but a hologram cannot be.
TheAdmiralty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 24 2014, 07:03 PM   #30
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: How do you define a sentient hologram?

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
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:37 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.