Thursday 29 March 2018

#487 Life as a pool table - part 10

This is the tenth post in a series that describes a thought experiment covering a simplistic emergence of what we might call conscious thought, from unconscious processes. I will start this tenth part by listing the concepts covered so far:

Death, growth, survival, mating, reproduction, light-sensitivity, eyes, sight, sight-related movement, inheritance, colour vision and increased freedom of movement, responsibility, robots, emergent properties, memory, decision-making, a sense of self, an ego, language.

The concept of morality
As the robots go about their business, they can't help but interact with one another repeatedly. Such interactions become an opportunity for trade, in the widest possible sense of the word. If a large and particularly strong robot were to meet every other robot only once, its optimum strategy for each encounter would be try to take advantage of the other robots to the point of destroying them. However because the interactions are repeated throughout the robot's life, cooperation becomes the most sensible strategy in order to reap continued benefits over time. Sensible is an appropriate word to use here because our robot doesn't yet understand its actions. It's reliant on its senses and memory as well as its inherited neurological circuits, which are by now sophisticated enough to act as another kind of memory that is passed between generations.

Obviously the robots aren't capable of thinking strategically, however it's at this stage that their morality develops. The juvenile robots will play together to learn movement coordination. When one robot is paired with another robot but the other robot is 10% bigger, that's enough to achieve dominance, so the bigger robot wins the first play-wrestling contest. 

What happens next is the subordinate robot has to come back and ask the larger robot to play again. However if the robots are paired repeatedly, they will continue to play only if the big robot lets the little robot win at least 30% of the time. Out of these interactions emerges an implicit morality among the robots even though they don't yet understand their own behaviour.


Fizzfan said...

I wonder if cooperation from the dominant ones might also have been triggered by a sense of loneliness....If they kept killing or beating the weaker ones, who would they have to play with, and left on their own, how could they progress?
It’s also a bit pointless being successful if there’s no one to applaud you or indeed gauge yourself against?

Interesting you mentioned letting the little ones win. It’s a key feature in encouraging children to take on new tasks.
My Dad played chess with my son when he was about 12 and my Son thought he was a budding world champ. Unlike me (who is rubbish at chess so he didn’t really have to try that hard to beat me anyway) my Dad didn’t let him win and my son stopped playing after that:(
Not sure if males are more competitive with their younger male family members than females? I think they are.....

Good news of the day:-
Norway wants to buy electric passenger planes in the coming years to help slow climate change, building on its success with big tax breaks that have made it the world leader in electric car sales. State firm Avinor, which runs 45 airports in Norway, said the commitment to battery-powered aircraft could encourage development of electric and hybrid technologies by companies such as Airbus or Boeing.

Other good news......I’m on holiday for over a week! I’m very cited by the prospect of chillness.

Profound Familiarity said...

Cooperation might be triggered by loneliness. I haven't introduced emotions have I?

Are males more competitive? I don't know. Could be.

Yay! OK as good as the news about electric airplanes, I'm probably more excited that you have a week off, that's great.

But the planes are great too. Does that mean they won't make those trails in the sky?!

Fizzfan said...

Ahhh, maybe I should have said a sense of being alone, not loneliness.

I think I find it hard to keep emotion out of quite a lot of things:)

I guess it would. I’d miss them.