Free will doesn’t exist, it is why we must be free

Free will is a concept having two dimensions. An internal one, which is the will and an external one which is the freedom.

Free will is about the opportunity to make a choice. Making a choice is done because there is a cause and there is a purpose. We made choice because we want something. In fact, the “we” is our body and the interactions of our homeostasis. There is a balance between maximisation of satisfaction and minimization of dissatisfaction. The result of this balance lead to the target we want to achieve. The will is then the way to go to this target.

I have hunger, then the target is to eat. Having hunger initiate a neural path equivalent to a previous experiment when hunger was satisfied. This way the fridge image is rebuild in our brain (there is no memory process in the brain, as there is no information stored in it, but a rebuild process – ), the fridge become the target because it is the most recent or the most used experiment I had to satisfiy my hunger. The rebuilding process initiate a recent or a most used experiment neural path.

In this way, there is no “free will”. My brain has followed a process that lead to a solution.

On a more philosophical and semantical point of view, each time a decision is taken, or a choice make, there is no freedom because there is always a cause and a purpose. And in the case were there is no cause and/or no purpose, then, it is like tossing a coin, and tossing a coin is not more about will.

Will is never free.

But when I go to the fridge, and I open it, there is a pie and a salad. Again, our homeostasis enters the game. Pie implied production of pleasure molecule (in my case), and then again, the way to satisfy hunger with maximisation of pleasure is done by eating the pie.

Let’s change a bit the situation. Now when I open the fridge, there is paper of my sister on the pie which is: “don’t eat my pie”. My choice is reduced and if I take the salad, I will have less pleasure. If I eat the pie, I will have more pleasure but, in the future, I will encounter dissatisfaction when my sister will come back to me.

It is there, because of an external factor that freedom come into the game. My sister (an external factor) reduce the satisfaction of my will.

Someone will say that in this situation I can still make a choice, so I have freedom but with different result.

Let’s change again the situation. When I come to the fridge, the fridge is closed, because my sister doesn’t want me to eat. In this case there is no choice and my will is not satisfied. My sister took away my will.

The conclusion is the following: There is an internal will on which we don’t have real power. As we don’t have power on it, we need to be in an environment where it is possible to satisfy it. To be able to maximize the result the environment need to provide a maximum of choice with a minimum constraint. It is why I say that free will doesn’t exist and it is why we must be free.

If we think about that sentence in the case of artificial intelligence, we see that there are challenges.

As we need to implement a will, then we know that the AI will not be free, because of the cause and the purpose implemented. If we want an AI to be free, then it means that we will have to not reduce the choice the AI will be able to make by minimising the environmental constraint. And the we will have a system equivalent to us with all the consequences that implies.

Knowing also that the “will” process is a tricky one. Putting a goal as maximising satisfaction and minimizing dissatisfaction is easy. What’s almost impossible is to compute the balance of a human equivalent homeostasis that will define the level of the will.

GRDprocess is doing research on the thinking process and its implementation for artificial general intelligence to propose track for solution.

Memory doesn’t exist

Understanding the cognitive process of human being is the first step before trying to connect the brain to artificial systems.

Memory doesn’t exist in itself. There is no information store in the brain. The brain is a processor, not a hard drive. The brain is triggered with two kinds of stimuli. An external one and an internal one. An external stimulus is an information coming from outside and processed by our sense that transform the external information into an internal signal. An internal stimulus is a signal coming from our body and its billions of cellular interactions that come to the brain and is processed back to the body, we call that homeostasis.

The point is that when I “remember” something, it is an internal stimulus (whatever it is) that come to the brain and activate a path of neurones equivalent or partially equivalent to the one activated by an external stimulus. We can say in this case that our brain is rebuilding an external information, not on purpose but because it is the result of our homeostasis. People call that “The internal representation of the world” which is not stored but constantly rebuild and adapted in real time.

Saying “I remember” is a mistake. It is more relevant to say something like: “my brain is processing a signal whose source is an internal stimulus which is equivalent to an external stimulus already experimented.

We can see that connecting an artificial system to our brain to improve for example memory is not relevant, as we don’t know the meaning of our internal stimuli (we know the big pictures but not the all the detailed interactions and the original cause). When we are remembering something, there is a cause based on the result of all our cellular interactions, we have no “real free will power” on what we are thinking.

Defining this internal process is almost impossible due to the number of interactions, their interdependences and the fact that it is a continuous process having begun the first day of our conception. It is like trying to compute billions of billions of interactions where the difference between a 65456236 and a 65456237 is like jumping from the cliff or not jumping from the cliff. Don’t forget any molecule because the cliff is high.

The good news, is that there is still a way to improve our “not existing memory”. As the internal process is too complex (and not relevant) to be used, we can play on the external process. We can “augment” the information coming from outside in order to strengthen the plasticity of our brain. The attention point is, in this case, that augmented information’s can lead our thinking in limited direction drive by the “what and how” of the augmentation. We can this way miss some understanding of our surrounding environment with all the implied issues.  It is the same as a painter having a white paper or having a pre-formatted paper in front of him. Pre-formatting helps but it also limits the potential. Being linked to a Wikipedia or using Google Glass is a “quick win” efficient improvement solution.

What about artificial intelligence? An artificial intelligent system will have, not only a processor, but also a hard drive. This mean that imitation of the brain process is not the direction we need to take. On the other hand, an artificial system doesn’t have an internal complex process of homeostasis. What will then drive the “memory” and thinking process?

GRDprocess is doing research on the thinking process and its implementation for artificial general intelligence to propose track for solution.