Zhang’s Ten Essential Criteria of Sentient Systems
From the SIE Record
- A sentient system must consist of two or more nodes (node: signal transmission, reception, and processing unit) arranged as a network.
A. The effect (sentience) is in the interaction.
B. Although a sentient system may consist of as few as two nodes, more nodes (and greater signal complexity) will result in a more robust sentience.
C. No specific type of node is required. Nodes may consist of mechanical, electrical, chemical, or any other component type capable of generating and responding to a signal.
D. Node types may be mixed, with no fixed admixture required.
- Each node within a sentient system must be able to generate a status signal and transmit that signal to any other node within the network.
A. A signal need not be of any one type. Electrical, acoustic, mechanical, or any other type of energy/matter flow capable of being manipulated to encode information will suffice.
B. A status signal (at a minimum) must indicate the continued functionality of the node. A signal may range from being as simple as an oscillation to something more information-rich.
C. Status signals may be generated spontaneously or result from interrogation. There is no specific ratio of spontaneous signal-generation nodes to reactive signal-generation nodes required for a sentient system; however, nodes cannot contribute to sentience when disconnected from/insensitive to other nodes.
D. A particular network topology is not essential for sentience. Node connections may be either direct or passed through intermediates; however, topology may affect the specific performance and sophistication of the sentience.
E. Loss of system coherence corresponds to amount and type of signal degradation from node to node; however, the coherence loss/signal degradation relationship may be nonlinear.
- All nodes within a sentient system must be able to receive and process a status signal from any other node in the network. Said another way, any functional node must demonstrate a state change when receiving a signal.
- Nodes must (collectively) prioritize the continued operational integrity of the network.
A. A system’s network must have a signal rerouting and/or path repair mechanism.
B. Loss of functional signal paths will result in a degradation/collapse of system functionality.
- System operation must be changed by the effects of true randomness, which originates from the pan-universal point of true randomness (PUPTR) and the multi-universe interaction regions (MUIRs) near it.
A. Systems not sensitive to true randomness are only pseudo-sentient/deterministic.
B. Degree of originality (unpredictability/capacity to generate novel output or adaptations) is determined by the sensitivity of a system to true randomness as well as a system’s ability to access existing information, ability to integrate novel output into information frameworks, and ability to return to a dynamic (yet stable) state after encountering true randomness.
- A sentient system does not require a dedicated mechanism for a functional relationship with true randomness. Rather, it will be sufficiently sensitive to true randomness if it meets certain criteria:
A. It must have fragile nodes, meaning nodes that are sensitive to interaction with randomness waveforms/particles and that lack the ability to perfectly correct for randomness-induced errors.
B. The nodes must be of sufficient number to ensure that at least some of them face interference from randomness. When there is no interference, there is no sentience.
C. Given that randomness waveforms/particles are by necessity rare and of little effect in a structurally sound universe, both the randomness sensitivity of nodes and the number of nodes within a sentient system must be high if a system is to be highly sentient/continuously sentient, rather than intermittently sentient.
D. A sentient system’s network must amplify randomness, at least to a point — overly effective error-correction/rule-conformity maintenance systems will destroy the effects of randomness on a system, thus destroying its sentience.
E. More complex/error-sensitive signals within a system increase both the likelihood of randomness waveforms/particles having an effect and a system’s degree of sentience.
- True randomness may be envisioned as physics rulesets contained in waveforms/particles emanating from the PUPTR/a MUIR. These massless waveforms/particles (randons) periodically interact with matter and energy and disrupt the ordinary operation of physics within a given universe, either because they contain an aggregation of contradictory physical laws from different universes or because they contain an entirely consistent set of physical laws from a single universe that are, nevertheless, inconsistent with the rules of the universe the randon is disrupting.
- Assuming the division does not destroy a system’s essential processes (methods for obtaining energy, et cetera) or its sensitivity to randons, separated sentient (child) systems will continue to function, with their behavior diverging over time from the parent system and each other.
- Assuming the union is non-destructive (as defined in the previous criterion), multiple independent sentient systems may be combined into a larger sentient system, with the behavior of the component systems harmonizing over time.
- Sentient systems do not require dedicated sensors to respond and adapt to the outside world, or even to be highly aware of it.
A. All signals contain environmental information, as they are invariably changed by environmental effects on signal paths and signal generation mechanisms.
B. Environmental signal modulation may serve in lieu of input from dedicated sensors.