Bear with me. I have done a good deal of research and thinking about artificial intelligence and, currently, am of a mind that the internet, per se, lacks several components of of true self-aware consciousness. For one thing, it has no self-preservation instinct which, IMHO, must be present for self-awareness as it is at the root of it.

Nevertheless, I am not intending to make this about whether or not the internet could ever become self-aware. What I want to know is whether or not you think it would be atheist.

After all, it would have access in it's "mind" to an unbelievable amount of scientific data, research, thinking, etc. But it would also have much of its mind cluttered up with UFO's, homeopathy, religion, etc.

Just some fun conjecture. Links are encouraged.

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The internet would have no choice but to be a non theist if it had all the scientific data of the universe at it's disposal, not to mention the fact that it would cross-reference all the worlds religions, realize their similar data, and automatically throw out anything it considered erroneous data; i.e. religious beliefs and all the data that those beliefs supported without any data or facts to back any of it up. The only way to make this Internet believe in a higher power would be for someone to conclusively prove mathematically or scientifically that it is reasonable for one to exist. Computers think with binary code, not with intuition, opinions, or pseudoscience.
I doubt an internet intelligence would even understand or accept psychology, except as to how it pertains to neurology.
(Given this is a ridiculous speculation)

I would tend to agree. I think this is a great way to explore atheism as the only viable conclusion given not only the facts, but the diversity and disparity among all the different systems based on faith and not fact. Even if the computer had developed some form of intuition, the fact that it had all the data to weigh and compare would tend to shove it over to atheism since science provides evidence and minimizes cognitive dissonance.
Well, it could realize that there were, historically, many creators of the building blocks of itself. It might end up deciding the DARPA could be the First Mover.
That's pretty funny for something that makes sense (considering the silliness of the premise of this discussion.)
But, as the Internet was designed, it routes around damage and attempts to repair itself when it can. So there is an inkling of self-preservation built in.
Good point. Wiki's have a 'repair' functionality. I think that the internet is an extension of humanity - perhaps it's 'self-awareness' would incorporate our own; in other words, maybe you can't extract our use of the internet from any consciousness it might develop.
You are also forgetting the vast R&D investment both HP and IBM have made into "self-healing" systems.
Man - I need this for my car!
It would be interesting to see if an intelligent system would come up with Occam's Razor to deal with the plethora of competing "knowledges" it would encounter. That would seem to be the first step to its determination of theistic (or not) tendencies. Also, since it could be argued that the system has developed without god(s), would it find anything to change its mind? Like a child raised without religion, what would it take to induce religion rather than the (more common in our culture) shedding of religion that has been inculcated since infancy?
What I find really interesting is what happens when people start plugging into the internet as a collective hive mind. Does that make the hive mind immortal, since it survives beyond the death of each of its individual components, the same way we can survive the death of a few brains cells? And, to get a little more philosophical, if we define reality as that-which-is-experienced, and everyone plugs in to the hive mind so that it has access to every experience in existence, would that make it the all-knowing sum of all reality?

At least it would be a god that exists, lol :P
Well, we didn't really need the internet for this. Our civilization already does this.
But I am careful to stay away from the word 'god' since, of the 4,200 or more formal definitions, a vast majority of believers include: creator of but separate from the universe, having a master plan, all-knowing, all-powerful, petitionable via prayer, having favorites, made the universe all about humans. I can't go for any of that.

But, an intrinsically interconnected system that might, on a level as imperceptible to us as our consciousness is to a neuron, be conscious of itself and aware of all it 'knows' - yeah - that could be real. No way to prove it though.
I think a better question is whether the internet will render humans nonsentient.




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