February 10, 2011 Leave a comment
I was thinking today about some of the characteristics of neosentient systems. Would these systems be similar to other systems we are familiar with?
If the systems were entrained upon each other, we would have to be able to empathize with them to perceive their sentience. This is the science-fiction trope of cloudlike or otherwise difficult to perceive sentient organisms (networks of sentience trees, etc). Similarly, we could design neosentient systems to be observable by us, but the remote possibility exists that such systems already exist, unperceived by us. This observeation is inteneded to expand our understanding of the forms that neosentience might take.
Moving on to the topic at hand, though, I grew interested in neosentient ‘pathologies’. Autism is an interesting example of a human ‘pathology’ which has no pathogen (since the vaccine claims have been retracted), but is rather structural. Autistic humans become more entrained upon non-humans than upon humans to the point where empathy is meager or non-existent. (There is a course a spectrum of inter-human entrainment that yields a variety of personalities and behaviors. See also Randall Collins’ interaction ritual chains. My connection of his work to psychology may be new, I can’t recall.) A peculiar feature of severe autism seems to be the lack of social identity. And our perception of sentience requires a social component as the object of empathy. Stories of miraculous computational feats performed by autistic humans both serve as an observable confirmation of their sentience/intelligence(right words here?) and evidence of their deep entrainment upon the ahuman patterns they experience (e.g. dates, times, numbers, colors, images, sounds).
I suppose the upshot of these observations is that neosentient systems may very well have structural ‘pathologies’ that limit or prohibit our interacting with them or even perceiving their sentience. Additionally, a neosentient archetype may be capable of multiple states, including pathological ones, depending on the circumstances under which it operates.