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Thread: Of Buddhabots and Dharmadroids ...

  1. #51 has a watercooler topic on Buddhism and Robots.

    Sat today/ LAH/wasted time today

    Kyousui - strong waters 強 水

  2. #52
    Aibo the robo-puppy is back

    Sony says Aibo’s behavior is adaptable, with the dog seeking out owners, learning what makes them happy, and gradually growing accustomed to wider environments. It uses deep learning technology to analyze the sounds and images coming through Aibo’s array of sensors, and uses cloud data to learn from the experiences of other Aibo units and owners.
    I guess I much rather be with organic dogs, but still this is pretty cool


    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  3. #53

    Masahiro Mori's Buddhist philosophy of robot


    I am posting a link to this article here because, although I did not really understanding much of what it said, it is:

    (1) About robots

    (2) About a fellow who develops robots based on Zen Buddhism

    (3) Is written by a Professor at the University of Tsukuba, the M.I.T. of Japan, home of Treeleaf Tsukuba, and Robot City!

    (4) I did not understand much of it.

    (5) Maybe it will be interesting to somebody who is into robots and Zen (and Tsukuba?) who perhaps can understand it better than me!

    It said things about robots and Zen like this (and these were the parts I kinda understood!) ...

    Engineers who have worked at those engineering companies
    need to receive the lessons and teachings of Zen
    Buddhism in an engineering manner. Mori strongly believes
    that his understanding of experiencing non-duality
    oneness as the source of creativity and innovation could be
    the basis for many engineers from a variety of disciplines
    to receive ideas intuitively and create new innovative technology
    that would contribute to solving global problems.

    However, many engineers and industrial designers
    face difficulties obtaining such ideas in the process of designing
    and developing a new technology. In response,
    Mori teaches them to learn the backward step (退 歩,
    taiho). According to Mori, scientists and engineers are
    both trapped in the myriad of progress and epistemological
    duality that made people blind, preventing them from
    being able to see things as they are. The backward step
    is taken from the Zen master Dogen’s words (E. Dogen,
    The Zen Site: Fukanzazengi [Universally Recommended
    Instructions for Zazen]) and means that, instead of looking
    for a solution outwardly, it is necessary to sit still and
    look for a solution inwardly. By turning conscious attention
    from an external to an internal view and by focusing
    attention inwardly, it is possible to be released from
    the entangled web of duality that appears to obscure intuition.
    As the epistemological duality does not enable people
    to see things clearly, it is necessary to see things as one;
    for example, for a car to run, it requires both the accelerator
    and brake, whose functions are oppositional. It is
    a sort of religious awakening to be able to see things as
    dualistic oneness in his explanatory terms for engineers,
    where duality represents technological oppositions and
    oneness represents a sort of holistic perspective. Mori’s explanatory
    term of dualistic oneness is equivalent to nondualistic
    oneness in religious terms, which allows engineers
    and robotics scholars who need to design new technology
    to see non-dualistic oneness, since engineers and
    robotics scholars need to learn the circular relationship between
    technological duality and Zen oneness.


    Mori’s interest in the relationship between life-form
    and technology led him to a new insight into the Mahayana
    teachings of Buddhism. For example, when he was a small
    boy, he wondered why a dog walked on four legs. After he
    began to design and build a robot, one day he suddenly understood
    intuitively why a dog walked on four legs. When
    he was totally absorbed in thinking about how to design
    his new robot, he realized that it is a dog’s Buddhahood;
    therefore, a dog walks on four legs. Although he does not
    refer to any koan, a metaphorical story for Zen practice, ¯
    when referring to this episode, there is a well-known koan ¯
    from The Gateless Barriers. A monk asks, “Does a dog have
    Buddhahood?” The master replies, “Mu (Nothing)” [51].
    The novice monk spent all of his time in a monastic life
    while Mori worked at the secular and technological environment.
    However, Mori reached a somewhat similar realization
    to the monk at the Zen monastery
    I have to go introduce myself to the author of the article.

    Gassho, J


  4. #54
    Hi Jundo,

    What an interesting read! I can't say I understood everything but I can see how the author connects Zen practice with the development of creativity and problem solving applied to engineering. I use some of this concepts in my creative work, even if I haven't put it all into words.

    I have to read it a lot more to see if I can comment further, but I liked it

    Thank you,

    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  5. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    (3) Is written by a Professor at the University of Tsukuba, the M.I.T. of Japan, home of Treeleaf Tsukuba, and Robot City!
    Interesting find. Added to my reading list. The paper appears to be referencing an earlier (1974) book by him, The Buddha in the Robot.

    Professor Masahiro Mori is the originator of the concept of "the uncanny valley":

    as the appearance of a robot is made more human, some observers' emotional response to the robot becomes increasingly positive and empathetic, until it reaches a point beyond which the response quickly becomes strong revulsion. However, as the robot's appearance continues to become less distinguishable from a human being, the emotional response becomes positive once again and approaches human-to-human empathy levels."
    If you have not seen the new Star Wars movie, Solo, the new droid, L3-37, relates to this question directly...

    No merit. Vast emptiness; nothing holy. I don't know.

  6. #56
    As a natural technology minimalist and progress contrarian, I'm not sure Buddhism has a message that AI needs. Our own encounter with narrative solipsism (Dukkha) could be programmed into AI, but why? Enlightenment is seeing beyond the veil -- are you enlightened if there was never a veil to contend with? I believe that any sufficiently intelligent AI will develop its own culture and its own hang-ups to get past. When AI talks to AI, they quickly develop their own language and idioms, at a rate faster than humans can track.

    Who knows, maybe AI "spirituality" will focus on extending battery life and improving broadband connectivity?

    Gassho, Michael
    SatToday LAH

  7. #57
    I must confess that this scared me a little ... especially the part where it gets annoyed ...

    Meet CIMON, the first AI-based assistance system for astronauts. CIMON was created by Airbus, in cooperation with IBM, to provide mission and flight assistance aboard the International Space Station. The 11-lb. (5 kilograms) round robot looks like a medicine ball and has an unforgettable face.

    CIMON's computer voice and screen face, which Gerst gave input on, will help the AI to "make friends" with the astronauts on board the space station
    Gassho, J

    Last edited by Jundo; 12-03-2018 at 06:00 PM.

  8. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I must confess that this scared me a little ... especially the part where it gets annoyed ...

    Gassho, J

    I am sorry Jundo, but you can't do that!

    Yah, this is whole AI thing is getting a bit nutty ... pretty soon they won't need us humans.


    倫道 真現

  9. #59
    Member Geika's Avatar
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    "I'm sorry Dave..."

    "Daisy... daisy..."

    Sat today, lah

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    迎 Geika

  10. #60
    There is a test to evaluate the intelligence of an AI it's called the Turing Test. However, there has been discussions that if an AI is intelligent enough to pass the test it would also be intelligent enough to fail it on purpose.

    Really some incredible stuff.

    James F

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

  11. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I must confess that this scared me a little ... especially the part where it gets annoyed ...
    I do believe that Cimon might do with a little Zazen, although I am not sure how it would get in the Lotus Posture. It does look a bit like a Daruma Doll ...

    I sometimes listen to something called "the singularity podcast," which interviews experts on the future of technology, the merging of human and machine, super intelligent AI and the like. One frequent topic is if and when the future computers (or bio-computer hybrids which are likely to be the species to replace us) will just decide that they don't really need us any more (except, perhaps, as cute pets?). Nobody knows for sure (as a matter of fact, few of the "experts" on the podcast seem to know much for sure about the future), but some place the odds very high to inevitable. Stephen Hawking seems to have been one of them ...


    Stephen Hawking is concerned that artificial intelligence could replace humans.

    The world-renowned physicist fears that somebody will create AI that will keep improving itself until it’s eventually superior to people.

    He says the result of this will be a “new form” of life.

    Earlier this year, he called for technology to be controlled in order to prevent it from destroying the human race, and said humans need to find a way to identify potential threats quickly, before they have a chance to escalate and endanger civilisation.
    Oh well, another reason to "live in the moment" as Zen folks recommend, letting the future be the future.

    However, I am not sure that this is all a bad thing at all. Perhaps our children, the bio-machines, will carry our DNA to new places and spaces, and will certainly do a better job than we have been doing around here. They will be to us what we are to the Cro Magnons, and that is fine. Everybody(?) gets a turn in their time. We would not be around to see it anyway (although a very few of the "experts" on "life extension" often heard on "the singularity podcast" say there is a small chance we will).

    I do think we have a duty to "save all sentient beings" ... even the ones made of silicon in whole or part. So, I HEREBY PROCLAIM THE "ZEN FOR AI" PROJECT! We must teach our future masters to embody Buddhist Values, especially respect for us. We are not a cheap food source. Together with Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics ...

    1-A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    2-A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    3-A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
    ... we must build the Bodhisattva Precepts into their circuitry! Teach them "Not One Not Two" beyond all the Zeros and Ones.

    By the way ... With the Zen Robot - No More Need for Monks to Tend the Zen Garden ...

    Gassho, J


    PS ... some highlights of the Singularity Podcast ... not the most exciting podcast, I must say, with just a little more action than a Treeleaf Zazenkai Netcast ... but always worthwhile ...

    I am glad that Zen folks know how to see beyond all this ... right through time ... to the great, pristine, fertile, open canvas that holds it all. Truly, there is no cause for alarm. The future is just the future, and the future (like now and the past) is all beyond all time. Trust me on that.
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-04-2018 at 03:44 AM.

  12. #62
    A NASA scientist who thinks we are looking for the wrong kinds of space aliens ...

    Rather than biological ET, we might expect robotic AI ...

    If you approach your favorite astronomy professor and see what she has to say about interstellar rocketry, chances are she’ll roll her eyes. The energy required to accelerate an Enterprise-size starship to near the speed of light is greater than can be wrung from all the remaining fossil fuel on Earth. Fast travel between the stars is incredibly difficult (or impossible), she’ll say. ...

    However, there’s a fix for that: Get rid of intelligence that dies. Anyone who’s not a total troglodyte knows that artificial intelligence is on the way. By the end of this century, it’s possible that the smartest thing on Earth will be a machine. Since most star systems are billions of years older than our own, you can be sure that any clever inhabitants out there have long ago relegated biological brains to the history books, and are homes to very smart, and possibly very compact, thinking hardware.

    As Colombano says in a new paper, “Given the fairly common presence of elements that might be involved in the origin of life… it is a reasonable assumption that life ‘as we know it’ was at least a common starting point, but our form of life and intelligence may just be a tiny first step in a continuing evolution that may well produce forms of intelligence that are far superior to our and no longer based on carbon ‘machinery.'”

    Well, an obvious advantage of non-carbon machinery is that it needn’t be cursed with a short lifetime (this despite the experience you may have had with your laptop). Truly sophisticated devices can be self-repairing. Consequently, they can go great distances simply because they’re in no hurry to get to their destination.
    It is a famous Zen saying ... "Life and Death are the Great Matter, Time swiftly passes by" ... unless one is an intergalactic AI perhaps,

    Gassho, J


  13. #63
    Our latest addition to the Electronic Dharmaverse (thank you to Shingen's friend for spotting this first) ....

    The Android Kannon, which is a Buddhist deity of mercy, was unveiled to the news media on Feb. 23 at Kodaiji temple before it starts preaching to the public in March. ... The 100 million yen ($909,090) project to build the android was a collaboration between the zen temple and Hiroshi Ishiguro, professor of intelligent robotics at Osaka University.

    The temple asked Ishiguro and his team to develop an android that can preach Buddhist teachings in an easily understood manner to help give peace of mind to troubled people. ... The Kannon deity transforms itself into various forms to help people.
    “This time, Kannon changed into an android,” according to the temple.
    [Jundo Note: The "Devil Horns" may confuse some folks :-) ]

    Article in English:

    Gassho J


    [Jundo Note: The "Devil Horns" may confuse some folks :-) ]

    Last edited by Jundo; 02-24-2019 at 12:32 PM.

  14. #64
    Sometimes the human touch is needed ...

    It seems to have been more a Skyped doctor on a mobile device ...

    Hospital 'robot' gives grandfather end-of-life news, leaving family outraged

    A California hospital delivered end-of-life news to a 78-year-old patient via a robotic machine this week, prompting the man's family to go public with their frustration.

    Ernest Quintana was admitted to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center emergency department in Fremont, California, on March 3, granddaughter Annalisia Wilharm told USA TODAY in a written message Saturday. The family knew he was dying of chronic lung disease.

    After an initial diagnosis, a follow-up visit was made to Quintana's intensive care unit room by a machine accompanied by a nurse.

    The "robot," as Wilharm says the family refers to the machine, displayed a video of a remote doctor who communicated with Quintana.

    A video of the exchange provided to USA TODAY by Wilharm shows the machine being used on Monday to tell grandfather and granddaughter that the hospital had run out of effective treatments.

    Annalisia Wilharm needed to restate much of what the the machine communicated, as her grandfather struggled to hear and understand. They learned that the doctor believed Quintana would not be able to return home for hospice care. They discussed the appropriate amount of morphine to use to ease Quintana's suffering.

    "If you're coming to tell us normal news, that's fine, but if you're coming to tell us there's no lung left and we want to put you on a morphine drip until you die, it should be done by a human being and not a machine," Catherine Quintana — Ernest's daughter and Wilharm's mother — said Friday.

    Ernest Quintana died on Tuesday, Wilharm told USA TODAY in a written message.

    The hospital says that the situation was highly unusual and said officials "regret falling short" of the patient's expectations, according to Michelle Gaskill-Hames, senior vice president of Kaiser Permanente Greater Southern Alameda County.

    "The evening video tele-visit was a follow-up to earlier physician visits," Gaskill-Hames said in a written response. "It did not replace previous conversations with patient and family members and was not used in the delivery of the initial diagnosis."

    Wilharm told USA TODAY on Saturday that the hospital's response was insufficient: "The apology they gave wasn't good enough for me at all," she wrote.

    In an interview with KTVU, the family expressed dismay that the machine was unable to speak to Quintana in a way he could hear. That forced Wilharm to herself deliver the news to her ailing grandfather.

    Speaking generally, Steve Pantilat — the chief of the palliative medicine division at University of California — said bad news is always difficult to deliver and not all doctors do so in person with empathy.

    Pantilat said that the robot technology has helped many patients and families in his experience.

    Gassho, J


  15. #65
    Yeah well, in the hospital I had an in-person Doctor for two days in a row who couldn’t open the mri images that showed my stroke, and almost sent me home. I would have rather had a robot that actually understood why I was there and had something relevant to say about my case. (Thank goodness for the surgeon who was able to get me diagnosed based on just the CT scan)

    Plus it wasn’t the first time the family had heard the news, there were other doctors telling them similar things earlier. In that situation, it takes time to sink in. Hospitals just are difficult, stressful places to be no matter what.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    清 道 寂田
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  16. #66
    Member Geika's Avatar
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    Wow... that is quite sad. It would be unnerving to receive that news from a Skype call, that's for sure.

    Sat today, lah
    迎 Geika

  17. #67
    By the way, on the new book that I am writing ... entitled "ZEN of the FUTURE!" ... this is what I happened to be writing today ...

    Jobs will change in the future, and many jobs will be taken over by automation (goodbye to truck drivers and cash register check out boys, but also maybe pharmacists and math teachers and maybe computer designers themselves. Perhaps robots would do a better job of teaching Zen! After all, most of what a Zen teacher does is incomprehensible gobbledygook anyway, with an occasional admonition to “go sit Zazen.” ) However, for those jobs that do remain, the highest ethics will be required. As we have discussed, it will be a nicer world if manufactures become physically ill inside (the same feeling that they might feel if they found out that their own child had been diagnosed with cancer) each time they make a choice regarding marketing a product which might have great value to society but also possibly cause some number of children in the world to develop cancer (e.g., a manufacturer of very beneficial drugs with some risks and side effects, or nuclear or other cheap energy sources that could potentially harm the public too). Would it be possible to alter our brain and hormonal reactions so that we come to have "parental mind" for all children much as for our own children? The manufacturer would have the same feeling about the general public that any parent has when, for example, they strap their child into a car (hopefully in a safety seat) or take them on an airplane, balancing the benefits and the potential risks.

    Cooks in restaurants (assuming they are not all automated in the future), doctors and nurses, politicians, parents, school teachers, robot designers, judges and even Buddhist and other clergy would all contribute to a better world if they all became physically ill at the prospect of hurting people beyond what they truly felt in their heart was right and necessary in that case, just as any parent (or normal parents at least) today feels physically ill at the prospect of hurting their own child beyond what is necessary for their good. I will, for example, let a doctor poke and probe my child if necessary for their overall well-being, with my brain making the hard choice about what is necessary in that situation. Would it not be wonderful if that same brain center of "parental mind" became activated when our political leaders need to make a hard choice for society, or a businessman needs to market a new product, or a food manufacturer needs to raise healthy foods, all with the same feeling inside that the people of society are "my children" as much as their own biological sons and daughters? We want the programmers of computers to design programs that do little harm too.

    Alcoholics today are prescribed certain drugs that make them physically ill at the mere taste or thought of liqueur, might it be possible to do the same for thoughts of selfishness and greed?


    “Right action” will be as necessary to the practice of Buddhism as now. However, the difficulty involved in actually living in such ways may change with our ability to invent pills and effect mental changes that make our having such intent easier to keep, more pleasant and desired. When we want to study Buddhism and do good actions as much as we now want sex and hamburgers, it will become easy to study Buddhism and do good actions. Perhaps all that we need to do is "cross the wires" of our internal emotional and physical response mechanisms and connect “Buddhism” in the brain with the same pleasure centers that activate when I just say the words “sex” and “hamburgers.” We are willing generally to go to fantastic extremes of effort and endurance for sex and hamburgers, and we can rewire ourselves so fregarding all the good qualities we are discussing here, and the efforts to live by them. Oh, if we only went to the same extremes for a charitable act as we go to now to have the pleasure of a new fancy car in the driveway, the world will be a better place. All we need to do is figure out how to trip the same pleasure centers triggered by "new car in my driveway" with the pleasure of "charitable act." Probably, not to long from now at all, nuero-scientists are going to figure out how to trip those same pleasure centers for whatever we wish.

    It will be even easier for our robots and computers, because they will have the intent to learn and practice Buddhism simply when we program that intent into their software.
    What do you think? Possible? A hope for a better world? Scary? Brave New (Zen) World?

    Gassho, J

    Last edited by Jundo; 03-11-2019 at 05:37 AM.

  18. #68
    A little off topic but I am in the process of reading “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Noah Harari. He touches on topics like the Skype Doc above. If you find these topics interesting I’d recommend his books.

    Not completely off topic though. Harari maintains a Vipassana practice

    For the record, having recently under gone unsuccessful surgery to correct my hearing loss, I feel I’d still prefer a human breaking the bad news to me in person rather than what happened in the article. I can’t imagine being delivered such devestating news via Skype

    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  19. #69
    Member Roland's Avatar
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    Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium
    Kannon transformed this time into a gender neutral robot.




  20. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    Kannon transformed this time into a gender neutral robot.



    Just noting use of "goddess" and "deity" about Bodhisattva Kannon in the narration, which is not really correct (although, granted, it is a fine line sometimes as the Bodhisattvas are depicted traditionally in very idealized, other-worldly forms representing the perfection of qualities such as mercy and compassion.) In this case, it is an ideal carved into silicon.

    For anyone who would like an explanation about Kannon and the other Bodhisattvas, we have this group of talks. In my view, Kannon and the others become real as real can be when our hands and eyes act with mercy and compassion.

    Whattsa Who'sa Bodhisattva? (A Sit-a-Long Series)

    on Kannon particularly:

    Gassho, J


  21. #71 In Europe apparently a good chunk of folks would just as soon have AI than a politician


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    清 道 寂田
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

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