So a scientist in the somewhat distant future is living on the final pages of the chapter that we call 'humanity.' For various reasons it's impossible to sustain human life (outside the scope of this question), and so he turns to pass on humans to machine form.
However, Dr. Scientist, doesn't want AI systems that are little more than extremely complex chatbots; that they could be passed off as human--that they're extremely sophisticated deceptions--isn't good enough. Dr. Scientist wants to creat AIs that are actually capable of free will.
The creation of these AIs is outside the scope of this question. The question is about the test of free will that Dr. Scientist creates before attempting his engineering of a system with free will.
First, take the following absolute assumption:
- Free will does exist
Dr. Scientist realizes this is a point of contention among philosophers down the ages, but he's unwilling to accept a world where he's just a meat computer, and so his test will form around this assumption.
Now take the following working assumptions based on Dr. Scientist's understanding of free will:
- A system without free will when, in the same state, given the exact same input, and in the exact same environment will always produce absolutely the same output (down to, and including, the most minute details)
- A system with free will when, in the same state, given the exact same input and in the exact same environment may produce different outputs
- The difference defined above is (one of?) the key defining factors of free will
So we can then deduce:
- If we place a given system in the same state, in the same environment, and provide the same input and always get the same output the system may or may not have free will
- If we place a given system in the same state, in the same environment, and provide the same input and at any point get differing outputs the system must have free will
The question is:
Ignoring the practicalities of absolutely perfectly recreating a given environment, state, and inputs, (explainable within the context of the story) would this be a reasonable test for possession of free will for Dr. Scientist to use? Further, are any of his working assumptions questionable/wrong that you can see leaving the first assumption, that free will exists, unchallenged?
I believe, under the above definition, some aspects of quantum mechanics would pass as 'free will.' I'm not sure how Dr. Scientist would handle this, but I assume he would call this a 'false positive.' If you feel this is relevant, I'm perfectly fine with suggested revisions to his test to account for this.
I also think it might be worth mentioning that for the purpose of the story he never creates a system with free will, and that's not what the story is about; it's about his attempt to create it, and his repeated failures. However to attempt to create something you need a reasonably define goal that you're aiming for, as well as a way of determining success or failure, thus this question.