You don’t have free will, but don’t worry. (Sabine Hossenfelder)

#31
confused2 Offline
Quote:They found that when the octopus's suckers acquire sensory and motor information from their environment, the neurons in the arm can process it, and initiate action. The brain doesn't have to do a thing.

At any point the octopus brain can send "I don't like the look of it - leave it alone." and the suckers will leave whatever it is alone. Having local wiring cuts down on the number of connections but the octopus brain is still in charge otherwise (obviously) the octopus would be forever snagged up in whatever its arms happened to touch.
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#32
Yazata Offline
(Oct 15, 2020 11:20 PM)confused2 Wrote:
Quote:They found that when the octopus's suckers acquire sensory and motor information from their environment, the neurons in the arm can process it, and initiate action. The brain doesn't have to do a thing.

At any point the octopus brain can send "I don't like the look of it - leave it alone." and the suckers will leave whatever it is alone. Having local wiring cuts down on the number of connections but the octopus brain is still in charge otherwise (obviously) the octopus would be forever snagged up in whatever its arms happened to touch.

I guess that I imagine (I'm not an octopus expert by any means) what the octopus arms are doing as reflexes of a far more advanced sort than we see in humans. There seem to be lots of behaviorial sub-routines in the nervous systems of the arms for various kinds of movements. The octopus brain can trigger them and they can be triggered locally as well. (Just as a knee jerk can be triggered both by our brains and by the physician's little rubber hammer.) So the octopus's brain has a simpler task of just telling the arm what kind of motion it wants, rather than telling the arm precisely how to produce the motion as our brains do. (Move this muscle, move that muscle.)

I don't think that the octopus arm counts as free-will since the arm is subject to control by the brain. The brain may not be dictating every exact motion but it's telling the arm what subroutine it wants activated and hence what it wants the arm to do. Grab, retreat, whatever. The octopus isn't just eight arms all behaving independently. The octopus is a coherent organism behaving with a single purpose. The individual arm is more akin to a human slave doing his master's bidding, I guess. When severed it can still perform its subroutines when suitably stimulated. 

It certainly supports the idea that octopuses are perhaps the closest thing to space aliens that we will find on this planet. At least anatomically and physiologically in a higher multicellular animal. On the cellular biochemical level, some bacteria and archaea are more different metabolically.

And I heartily agree with SS that it's fascinating and fun to think about.
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#33
Syne Offline
In animals, there doesn't seem to be a significant distinction between instinctual reactions of nerves or brains to external stimuli, aside from complexity.
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#34
Yazata Offline
(Oct 16, 2020 04:07 AM)Syne Wrote: In animals, there doesn't seem to be a significant distinction between instinctual reactions of nerves or brains to external stimuli, aside from complexity.

And humans are animals.
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#35
Syne Offline
(Oct 16, 2020 04:38 AM)Yazata Wrote:
(Oct 16, 2020 04:07 AM)Syne Wrote: In animals, there doesn't seem to be a significant distinction between instinctual reactions of nerves or brains to external stimuli, aside from complexity.

And humans are animals.

If that's what you believe. That there's no significant difference of kind. You believe either animals have primitive reasoning or humans advanced instincts?
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#36
C C Offline
(Oct 16, 2020 03:33 AM)Yazata Wrote: I guess that I imagine (I'm not an octopus expert by any means) what the octopus arms are doing as reflexes of a far more advanced sort than we see in humans. There seem to be lots of behaviorial sub-routines in the nervous systems of the arms for various kinds of movements. The octopus brain can trigger them and they can be triggered locally as well. (Just as a knee jerk can be triggered both by our brains and by the physician's little rubber hammer.) So the octopus's brain has a simpler task of just telling the arm what kind of motion it wants, rather than telling the arm precisely how to produce the motion as our brains do. (Move this muscle, move that muscle.)

I don't think that the octopus arm counts as free-will since the arm is subject to control by the brain. The brain may not be dictating every exact motion but it's telling the arm what subroutine it wants activated and hence what it wants the arm to do. Grab, retreat, whatever. The octopus isn't just eight arms all behaving independently. The octopus is a coherent organism behaving with a single purpose. The individual arm is more akin to a human slave doing his master's bidding, I guess. When severed it can still perform its subroutines when suitably stimulated. 

It certainly supports the idea that octopuses are perhaps the closest thing to space aliens that we will find on this planet. At least anatomically and physiologically in a higher multicellular animal. On the cellular biochemical level, some bacteria and archaea are more different metabolically.

And I heartily agree with SS that it's fascinating and fun to think about.


There are degrees of selection-making that would probably slot as proto-volition, with a fuzzy boundary between where that ends and the decision-making of a flexible, self-domesticated intelligent organism begins. The fuzziness just due to the inevitable differing, rival standards for measuring such or cognizing it.

Autonomous vehicles select from options affected by incoming data about the environment, and even though the programming rules are pre-set there can be errors in analyzing that data; or mitigated machine-learning may even be an attribute of them by now (that seems regulated by accumulated statistical probabilities rather than principles, laws, guiding theories of cause and effect, etc). It wouldn't matter if they were perfectly predictable in their actions, though, as long as no external agency is interfering with how the apparatus would normally react when confronted with _X_ situation or seizing complete control of it. Whether AVs are examples of advanced proto-volition or outright volition is perhaps in that fuzzy territory (probably primarily due to the creepy feeling it triggers for everyday norms about will).
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#37
Syne Offline
And AVs would be yet another example of defining will in a way that sacrifices all genuine agency for some false external/internal dichotomy. Internally motivated is not synonymous with agency, as internal motivations, like genetically programmed instinct, are just as deterministic as any external force. At least in animals without reason to overcome base instinct.
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#38
confused2 Offline
I've had about 10 hamsters. I choose them to look as much like the last one as possible because that model works well and seems happy with me. The other thing is that when I say "Hamster" I pick the one from the brood that looks up. Within the basic body plan (sometimes not even that) they have all have been totally different animals. If they are governed by instinct wouldn't they all have been pretty much the same?
Pure charm. (I cried when she died)
I'm a vegetarian. (Diet catered for)
Don't bother me without a good reason. (Duly noted)
I AM NOT GOING BACK IN THAT CAGE - CATCH ME IF YOU DARE. (Bitten many times)
Putting food in the toilet softens it up. (Kind'a makes sense)
I'm a hamster - what did you expect? (No problem with that)
I'm only good at climbing up things - it's your job to get me down.(Catching a little warm falling body is good - a fumbled catch and a broken leg - didn't seem to hold it against me though.)

And more. All adorable.


I think it takes an adult to understand that while you are looking at them they are also looking back at you.
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#39
Syne Offline
There's instinct, and then there's how instinct builds learned reactions based on unique experiences and stimuli.
The charmer likely was never traumatized by a human, or maybe even imprinted on one.
The vegetarian likely had a genetic digestive issue.
The escapee likely had some trauma, hence the violent defense.
The tenderizer may have had some tooth or nerve problem.

With instinct alone, past experience and stimuli are directly reflected in current behavior, as there is no reason to mediate reactions.
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#40
confused2 Offline
With the possible exception of the one softening food in the toilet I've dated girls with very similar character traits.
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