Intelligent Systems And Their Societies Walter Fritz

Some very fundamental
Philosophical Questions

Looking at these questions from the point of view of
intelligent systems (For continuous reading, like a book - do not enter here now)., it looks to me, that the answers could be something like the following:


Who am I?
The answer is a name, possibly an identification number, member of some society.


What am I?
I am a member of the species Homo Sapiens, (or Cro-Magnon) which evolved from other mammals about 40,000 years ago. Mammals are animals, which are living beings, which in turn are part of the universe. We can also say that Homo Sapiens is an intelligent System, composed of body and mind.
If I have my body and my mind, then who is "I"? "I" is the combination of body and mind. "I" am not only the body nor only the mind.
The body, in order to function, needs direction. This direction is given by the mind. Both together are an intelligent system. This is as far as philosophy can go. Your religion may tell you that besides body and mind you have a soul.


Why do I live?
We live, because human beings have properties which aid survival. Better said: Only those types of human beings, that had properties, strongly helping survival, are those that still live today.
Perhaps it would be desirable if we feel that we have a mission in life; namely to improve some aspect of our human society or some aspect of living within our human society. For details see: Why do we Live (Enter for continuous reading, like a book).


Where did the Universe come from?
If we are religious, our religion answers that question. But let us try to find a philosophical answer. Some things in the environment are made by intelligent systems. Some processes are caused by intelligent systems. But many things and processes have a "natural" cause. A river came to be, because tectonic movement built mountains. Water evaporates from the oceans and rains on these mountains. The rain flowing off the mountains joins into brooks, which join to form a river. So no intelligent system made the river.
It is possible that an intelligent system outside the universe created it (but being outside of "all there is", is a contradiction). It is more probable that the universe is a system of things and processes that were not created but existed always (in some shape prior to the big bang, and the way we sense it now, after the big bang).


What is my Environment?
The environment of a system (and we are intelligent systems) is that part of the universe that is in communication with the system, but is not part of the system.


What can we know of our environment?
We really cannot know things (parts) of the environment themselves, but only "emanations" that come from these things. "Emanations" are something that comes to us from the environment. For instance electromagnetic waves reach our eyes, a few molecules reach our nose, a counter pressure affects touch cells in our fingers.
Information from the environment is received by only a very few senses. Many aspects of the environment (for instance electric fields) we cannot sense (or only with instruments). See senses and concepts.


Why can we predict (to some extent) what will happen in our Environment?
We are "intelligent systems" and as such remember our experiences. Also we review our experiences for patterns, for things or processes that repeat itself. So we learn. Then, when we find ourselves in a similar situation as one experienced before, we know what will happen and know what we can do.


Why do we act?
Since we are intelligent systems, we have objectives. An intelligent system is so built, that it tries to satisfy its objectives. This is done by actions.


How should we act?
As intelligent systems we act to reach our goals. We will reach our goals easier if we do not hinder other intelligent systems in reaching their goals (because they would react adversely). Also, being a member of a society makes it much easier to reach our goals, so one of our important goals should be to support and improve our society. See details in Ethics as a Science.


What is Good and Evil?
An artificial intelligent system (For continuous reading, like a book - do not enter here now). cannot know what society or persons with authority consider to be good and evil. For this system, that which helps it to reach its goals is good and that which hinders it, is evil. Its goals include helping human beings and their society.
Small children also consider what helps them as "good", and later, what helps their brothers and sisters, their family, as good. Adults have read so many books and heard so many teachings that their consideration of good and evil is largely artificial.


How do we think?
At first it seems that we think with words, by formulating sentences in our minds. The study of intelligent systems shows us that that is not so. Language is something we learn much after we start to think. in fact, if we could not think, we could not learn. Some persons speak several languages, but they do not think in several ways. See details in Overview of the Intelligent System (For continuous reading, like a book - do not enter here now).


What happens with Us after We are Dead?
The atoms of our body disperse, combine chemically with other atoms, and some are reused by other living beings. Scientists have calculated that we all have some atoms from Shakespeare, Kant and Caesar, for instance.
Our mind, the functioning of the brain, stops with the cessation of electrical activity in the brain. Some of our experiences stay in existence in the minds of other human beings that knew us or that heard from us.
If a further part of us continues to exist can, at present, only be answered by religion, not by science or philosophy.


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Last Edited 5 June 2013 / Walter Fritz
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