Questioning Consciousness

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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby dada » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:50 pm

The computer metaphor requires a holographic model to solve the problem of the display. The problem here is that a hologram is generated in a space, and there is no space for the hologram to be generated in. We're forced to say it is a virtual hologram, one that doesn't occupy a space.

The avatar or camera through which the virtual hologram is viewed must also be generated within this virtual construct that occupies no space. Fine, but at what point is it fair to say we are using a scientific framework to describe a religion? A complex religion, certainly, but a religion nonetheless. A complex religion wearing a lab coat.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:31 pm

BenDhyan » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:07 am wrote:To the materialistically inclined [1], the question is rhetorical as such persons naturally cannot imagine a state of mind they have not yet realized.[2,3]


[1] Undefined term. [2] Unsubstantiated claim. [3] Strawman.

I know this could sound awfully condescending,


It might, but it lacks the intimidation factor.

but let me make it clear that we each have our own goals in life, who is to say which is superior to another.


Eh, kind of leaving it all to the wind. Sure. Whatever.

My point is that our beliefs shape our destiny, and each realizing their own destiny is more important than wasting time debating which is correct.....they are all true.


Oof. "Beyond good and evil," it's all in the "destiny," could be accused of justifying anything and everything; though really it tends to a big lazy nothingburger, so it may be okay from the standpoint of a consequentialist morality. Free-spirit it all the way, man.

But on the last: No. Truth can be elusive, contestable. It can definitely be plural. It may not even exist. But under no circumstances are "all true." I can see why you would like that.

.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:48 pm

dada » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:50 pm wrote:The computer metaphor requires a holographic model to solve the problem of the display. The problem here is that a hologram is generated in a space, and there is no space for the hologram to be generated in. We're forced to say it is a virtual hologram, one that doesn't occupy a space.

The avatar or camera through which the virtual hologram is viewed must also be generated within this virtual construct that occupies no space. Fine, but at what point is it fair to say we are using a scientific framework to describe a religion? A complex religion, certainly, but a religion nonetheless. A complex religion wearing a lab coat.


I quite like this, without being sure of the terms. Someone said language is a block to understanding.

Long as anything goes here, and I believe that is valid, I'm trying on the idea of beings as virtual worms winding through time, rather than meat with energy in a brainspace, as the medium for memory. Physical, four dimensions, each route a separate being for as long as it runs (so the "receiver" at the forward tip of a temporary present is attached to one route, won't pick up others' memories or consciousnesses).

.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby BenDhyan » Sun Nov 11, 2018 5:18 pm

JackRiddler » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:31 am wrote:
BenDhyan » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:07 am wrote:To the materialistically inclined, the question is rhetorical as such persons naturally cannot imagine a state of mind they have not yet realized.


Undefined term. Unsubstantiated claim. Strawman.

I know this could sound awfully condescending,


It might, but it lacks the intimidation factor.

but let me make it clear that we each have our own goals in life, who is to say which is superior to another.


Eh, kind of leaving it all to the wind. Sure. Whatever.

My point is that our beliefs shape our destiny, and each realizing their own destiny is more important than wasting time debating which is correct.....they are all true.


Oof. "Beyond good and evil," it's all in the "destiny," could be accused of justifying anything and everything; though really it tends to a big lazy nothingburger, so it may be okay from the standpoint of a consequentialist morality. Free-spirit it all the way, man.

But on the last. No, truth can be elusive, contestable, can definitely be plural, may not even exist, but under no circumstances are "all true." I can see why you would like that.

.


Er...ok thank you Jack.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby dada » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:01 pm

Any four dimensional medium leaves certain fundamental questions unanswered, though. If I close my eyes and picture a house with a grandfather clock ticking in the hallway, I'm looking at an image of a four dimensional space. The house doesn't occupy a four dimensional space, it's just an image of one. And saying this house is happening within me, within four dimensional space seems illogical, since it isn't a real house, it's an imaginary space. Even if a future supercomputer could screengrab the image, convert it into something others could see, the gif would be a copy, not the same as the made up image I'm picturing, which is imaginary.

And none of this explains how the images seen are displayed. The hologram requires a space to be projected in, or a plate to be projected on. The space reflected in a mirror requires the mirror. Images in the mind are holograms without a space or plate, reflections without a mirror. Just doesn't strike me as a very scientific theory. Maybe not religious, either, I probably shouldn't have gone there, that was a cheap shot, a provocation. More like esoteric philosophy, science fiction.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby DrEvil » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:54 pm

Elvis » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:03 pm wrote:
DrEvil wrote:I'm still in the strictly materialist camp of consciousness. There's just so many things supporting it, and pretty much every explanation I see that goes beyond that has a strong whiff of religion, which to me is just wishful thinking.


My view of "non-local" consciousness is derived from evidence (including evidence published by institutional scientists), not from religion. I've repeatedly invited you to look at the evidence, but for one reason or another you decline. On the one occasion I recall you responding to some data, you waved it off without addressing or properly disputing it. Therefore on this question I claim the rigor. :yay


Yeah, I know. I remember promising to look at it ages ago, and then forgot all about it. Sorry about that.
(I will also freely admit that I'm biased towards the materialist view simply because that's where my interests lie, and cognitive bias can be a right bastard sometimes. I try to keep an open mind about these things, but as soon as my brain senses even the tiniest whiff of anything that can even be remotely taken as religious sentiment it goes into rationalization mode, because I want the mind to be computable).

I'm not entirely opposed to the idea, it's just that it's the kind of idea that I think requires a lot of evidence before I can take it seriously, and right now that evidence is kinda patchy (not non-existent, just not very overwhelming, but still intriguing). And I'm still not sure how you would explain the non-locality. It's one thing to say consciousness is non-local, but how is it non-local? What and where does the brain connect to, and how? It would at the very least require a deep dive into some of the more esoteric theoretical physics and cosmologies to explain.

That said, non-locality is real, an established fact (spooky action at a distance), so perhaps there is something more to it we will discover when we dig deeper, but as I mentioned up-thread, right now it's not supposed to be possible to convey information that way, so unless that changes it has to be something else we don't know about yet, or is just considered fringe theory.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:57 pm

.

1. Doctor Not-Who: The mind is never going to be computable. Hey, assertion, I know. Go for it. Simulations of it are by definition computable, of course, and at some point the transhumanists may successfully sell everyone on a simulation so good it must be the real thing. It won't be. Certainly not as long as the current round of nerds are pursuing it. I guess those are all faith assertions.

2. dada: Now you're the one stuck in metaphors, hologram and screen and space and whatnot. Leaving aside the totally solipsistic possibilities -- I mean if you're willing to allow me that much -- then you and I and everyone else claiming a mind's eye currently exist and have consciousness. Doesn't matter if we're in a Matrix -- we have individual consciousness, just like in the movie. Doesn't matter what consciousness "is," whether it's inherent and arises in us from our material make-up, or if it is something bigger and outside and we are just tendrils of it. Even as tendrils, each tendril has its own sub-consciousness to the extent where it experiences life as an individual. It also doesn't matter what other beings or objects may also possess consciousness, or be tendrils, or whatever. Side question. Are we willing passengers on this train of thought, so far? Can we accept this moderate philosophical realism so far? Okay:

So our memory-images and imagined visualizations/smellizations/innersongs/conjured sense-perceptions obviously exist. (I won't even go into whether they are "material," as I consider that a misunderstanding. They don't move stuff in our surroundings, but they do exist. Everything that exists is material, or immaterial, the distinction is false or way too squishy to be posited as a significant dichotomy.) So where do these images "live" before or after we conjure-recall-fall prey to them? Where do they "come from"?

Again, I hope you're willing to grant certain assumptions: that we didn't each just blink into existence this very second, complete with our memories that never happened. We experienced things, we remember them; our memories are constantly re-remembered and unreliable and occasionally hallucinated, but nevertheless deeply entrenched in actual past experience that we lived through. Also, we remember all this junk we've learned individually, words, maps, Star Trek episode titles, etc. So this stuff is not in consciousness, can be called into consciousness, can be associated into consciousness surprisingly by whatever else we happen to be doing or thinking, can pop in at seeming random, etc., and yet for all the caveats memories are amazingly consistent from occurrence to occurrence, suggesting some relatively stable "store" of memory located "somewhere" outside consciousness whenever we are not conscious of it. (Quotes because I hate all these words insofar they all block or pre-define too much that IS necessarily there but IS NOT observed; I don't want the terminology to become the debate, here.)

This memory-place has not been observed as a hard drive. It would have quantum-level electrons playing the 0s and 1s, I suppose. That sounds so scientific, but it has not been observed, it is a purely speculative entity. So where the hell is it? You keep asking where the hell we image any of it, the location of the hologram or screen, which is a great question, but one that I consider separate (obviously we are imaging the whole damn time, for example by seeing or hearing anything).

For today, I'm playing with the totally unsubstantiated idea, hardly new to me or you (hell, I first picked it up reading Heinlein's story about Dr. Pinero at age 13 or something) that each living thing is an organism-worm noodling through the relatively inanimate surrounding four-dimensional matter-energy-filled space, and the current front of said worm (you in the present) is in touch with echoes of all that it passed through before. For today, this is no more ridiculous to me than the hard-drive metaphor. So there.

.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby dada » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:53 pm

Yes Jack, but the position I've taken in this discussion isn't that these things arise, happen, take place, or come from somewhere, or anywhere at all, I'm the one arguing for nowhere.

Not to be found anywhere in timespace. Not material, not immaterial, I guess one might say in between, or outside of these categories. In the barzakh, the interworld, as they say in the shaikism school. The Ishraqi philosophy of Suhrawardi. There's a long lineage of heavyweight thinkers that would back me up. The 'archetypal world of the autonomous, active imagination.' Sure it sounds strange and preposterous here, I know. It isn't for everyone.

It's a nondualist position, you can all be expressions of my consciousness, and I'm an expression of everyone's consciousness at the same time, I see no dualist contradiction. Things can exist and not exist, it isn't an either or, but a both and neither where I come from.

And not that I'm against the worm concept. You know I love science fiction worms.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby chump » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:34 pm

via rielpolitik:




October 1, 2018

Image


Zen Gardner, Guest
Waking Times

I’ve always been fascinated by the clear commonalities of religions and philosophies, and their intermingling with mysticism and the so-called occult – which is nothing more than sequestered teachings of the same.

I’m similarly bewildered by the tendency of humanity to take things out of context, or as stand alone proposed truths which may appear incomplete and therefore untrue by themselves.

Everything Leads to Unity – Separation is an Illusion

It all fits together like a multi-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, as I perceive it – each aspect or seemingly partial truth a reflection or incidence in another context of the same derived essence. Fractals, as beautifully illustrated by the Mandelbrot sets, are the tracers of this dimensional reality. Applied to human knowledge and understanding, this same living metaphor can give great insight as to the true nature of our amazing universe as well as our perception. Not just scientifically, but in our language declination, interpretive skills, and deeper sensory capabilities on many mundane as well as esoteric levels.

It’s all inter-connected as well as inter-dependent. This is the magic of conscious awakening, tapping into the plane of inter-connectivity, which Carl Jung referred to as the collective unconscious. Whatever it is, so many aspects of religious and spiritual teachings, deep philosophical and metaphysical thought, and now even post-mechanistic science, are identifying this same common denominator.

The terms for this have become somewhat flacid in the modern information onslaught, but unity consciousness is pretty spot on. Just how we’re interconnected defies the limitations of human reason. For a purpose – we’re here to arise through this in-flesh existence. Why? We can only conjecture. But apparently we are souls of some sort learning and growing through the experience. Any way we look at it, the challenge is before us and we are somehow aware of these mind-boggling and astoundingly wonderful aspects.

The Debilitating Power of Perceived Separation

Assuming you agree with me that there is an underlying unity within the Universe, at whatever level or levels, why then experience separation at this plane of existence as we do? Why the struggle to find and affirm unity if that is the inherent nature of all things? Why isn’t it inherent?

It is. Just at a different level of perception, the revolving prism through which we gaze.

This brings us directly to our dualistic paradigm we have apparently been dropped into. It reminds me of the caterpillar going through its metamorphosis, an illustration we cannot side step. Nor the many other seemingly nonsensical cycles of this magnificent creation we were born into – however limiting it can seem to whomever, and which that bothersome “other” nature within us senses at some level since birth. The perceived dualism is just a lack of understanding and/or recognition, at very profound levels.

This may appear laced with assumptions to the skeptic, but those who can hear this will hear. Some here amongst us will refuse to allow or even consciously recognize these other “bothersome” sensations, but that’s a choice anyone can make in this playing field.

Another great majestic mystery is that of free will, our unfettered power of choice. Of course this is being infringed upon through social as well as technological programming, but I contest it cannot ever be fully erased or overcome. Especially if we discern those clear signs that such are being foisted upon us and our freedom to not participate at any given time. The early warning system does not fail, but most today are blowing past that and suffering the sad consequences. It was and is still a choice.

But separation, the literal idea that we or anything is literally separate at its ultimate energetic level, is the illusion. This is spoken about since the Tao Te Ching, through Buddhism, the Summerian and Egyptian teachings, Greek philosophy and many unsung movements, all of which were later replayed in the Bible and gnostic teachings at varying levels of interference. And on and on. I can’t possibly go into the deeper aspects of this, but suffice it to say that adopting a worldview of separation brings hate, greed, competition, intolerance, and division on every level.

And the suffocation of love.

And what is the interpersonal as well as societal result? For one, disharmony and strife. But ultimately? An easily manipulated race by anyone or anything seeking control. That’s just the nature of things. That there are such entities or even people who’d capitalize on this phenomenon is for each individual to find out for themselves, but it is a truth.

What we need to know is that even this is part of the process in this experience. It dovetails with everything about our challenge here and to me only stands to reason, as well as being confirmed bythe mountains of evidence as to the truth of it.

So Aspects and Fractals? The Wind Up…and Out

Everything has its derivative, it’s counterpart or playmate, as quantum physics has discovered. It’s all energetically connected and cannot be separated from anything. Quantum entanglement is one of the coolest terms and ideas to date, but we’re only just touching the periphery of things, still. Every so-called, or self-proclaimed I should say, advanced civilization has thought it was the cat’s meow with what it discovered. Hardly any humility except in a precious few. A repeated meme even in recorded history.

We know what happened to the ones we know about. Atlantean culture seems to have gone the same way, but many will shun that idea. I don’t. And who knows who their precedents were? All I know is, the cycle is breakable, individually for sure, and collectively we will have to see, but the opportunity awaits.

Our lower human avarice and thirst for knowledge and power seems to know no bounds. Yet some beautiful men and women instead stand up to such unconscious tirades, and yet stand in awe. I salute those brave and beautiful souls.

I contend we are living in the darkest of ages. Technology means nothing without conscious awakening. Those in “authority” are just inventing new cages for the suppressed and more advanced war machines as the planet is plundered, as seems to be the repeating trend through the ages. We really don’t know the whole story – we’ve been cut off from our linear, historical past. But what is evident is evident.

The cover up is not by accident. We might soon learn something and thereby break the cycle. It’s truly up to us, as astounding as that may seem. But it’s true.
Never mind knowing everything, we know enough.
While consciousness calls.

Love, Zen

https://www.wakingtimes.com/2018/10/01/ ... en-thread/
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby DrEvil » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:13 pm

JackRiddler » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:57 am wrote:.

1. Doctor Not-Who: The mind is never going to be computable. Hey, assertion, I know. Go for it. Simulations of it are by definition computable, of course, and at some point the transhumanists may successfully sell everyone on a simulation so good it must be the real thing. It won't be. Certainly not as long as the current round of nerds are pursuing it. I guess those are all faith assertions.


Counterpoint: It is!

It has to be computable in some form or another, or it wouldn't exist. We have individual minds, and those minds have to exist in some form in/on some kind of structured environment (structured because our minds are similar and work in the same way, so there has to be a base template) that allows them to exist and perform their functions (aka "computing"). It may not be something that humans will ever be able to replicate, but our minds run on something.

I do agree that the current nerds are wildly optimistic and will almost certainly fail in their quest for immortality though. Ray Kurzweil will die a very bitter man.

Also: if a simulation is so good you can't tell the difference, how do you know there is a difference?

2. dada: Now you're the one stuck in metaphors, hologram and screen and space and whatnot. Leaving aside the totally solipsistic possibilities -- I mean if you're willing to allow me that much -- then you and I and everyone else claiming a mind's eye currently exist and have consciousness. Doesn't matter if we're in a Matrix -- we have individual consciousness, just like in the movie. Doesn't matter what consciousness "is," whether it's inherent and arises in us from our material make-up, or if it is something bigger and outside and we are just tendrils of it. Even as tendrils, each tendril has its own sub-consciousness to the extent where it experiences life as an individual. It also doesn't matter what other beings or objects may also possess consciousness, or be tendrils, or whatever. Side question. Are we willing passengers on this train of thought, so far? Can we accept this moderate philosophical realism so far? Okay:

So our memory-images and imagined visualizations/smellizations/innersongs/conjured sense-perceptions obviously exist. (I won't even go into whether they are "material," as I consider that a misunderstanding. They don't move stuff in our surroundings, but they do exist. Everything that exists is material, or immaterial, the distinction is false or way too squishy to be posited as a significant dichotomy.) So where do these images "live" before or after we conjure-recall-fall prey to them? Where do they "come from"?

Again, I hope you're willing to grant certain assumptions: that we didn't each just blink into existence this very second, complete with our memories that never happened. We experienced things, we remember them; our memories are constantly re-remembered and unreliable and occasionally hallucinated, but nevertheless deeply entrenched in actual past experience that we lived through. Also, we remember all this junk we've learned individually, words, maps, Star Trek episode titles, etc. So this stuff is not in consciousness, can be called into consciousness, can be associated into consciousness surprisingly by whatever else we happen to be doing or thinking, can pop in at seeming random, etc., and yet for all the caveats memories are amazingly consistent from occurrence to occurrence, suggesting some relatively stable "store" of memory located "somewhere" outside consciousness whenever we are not conscious of it. (Quotes because I hate all these words insofar they all block or pre-define too much that IS necessarily there but IS NOT observed; I don't want the terminology to become the debate, here.)

This memory-place has not been observed as a hard drive. It would have quantum-level electrons playing the 0s and 1s, I suppose. That sounds so scientific, but it has not been observed, it is a purely speculative entity. So where the hell is it? You keep asking where the hell we image any of it, the location of the hologram or screen, which is a great question, but one that I consider separate (obviously we are imaging the whole damn time, for example by seeing or hearing anything).

For today, I'm playing with the totally unsubstantiated idea, hardly new to me or you (hell, I first picked it up reading Heinlein's story about Dr. Pinero at age 13 or something) that each living thing is an organism-worm noodling through the relatively inanimate surrounding four-dimensional matter-energy-filled space, and the current front of said worm (you in the present) is in touch with echoes of all that it passed through before. For today, this is no more ridiculous to me than the hard-drive metaphor. So there.

.


I did some quick research on human memories, and from what I could tell they actually have a pretty firm grasp of how they form and how they work inside our brains, down to which specific parts of our brains do what, and how those parts work in detail. Cut out the wrong part and you can't form new memories.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby JackRiddler » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:40 pm

.

The last point doesn't contradict what I said. Sure, they know locations within the brain within which memory appears to reside (based on measured electrical activity), with the further evidence of what happens when said parts of the brain are damaged. (Of course, this doesn't contradict receiver theories but let's forget that.)

The location doesn't tell you how it works. You know how a hard drive works. You know how a heart works. (You even sort of know why a heart works, if you accept that it's tautological.) You do not know how memory is stored, how it is accessible, how it can just pop back on its own, how it can be on your mind without your being aware of it, etc. If conceived as information (possibly a false paradigm for conscious experience, but I know you're devoted to it), the stored experience of a year probably still adds up to more than what's currently stored on every electronic medium in the world. How is it "written," "stored," "accessed" (if these words really describe how it is done), then rewritten and restored and relayered with each remembrance? Instantaneously, no load time. Where are the ones and twos you believe must be there? (Or the triads, or whatever.) What is their medium?

Who says our minds "run" on something? Like Windows runs on a Lenovo? What does the something on which minds run, run on? Seems to me you'll be as ready to keep laying down a theoretical substrate beneath the theoretical substrate, or a first cause behind the first cause, as any theist worth his pillar of salt.

It's why I've often put up the horror movie reality that the quick-and-dirty fix for synthetic consciousness is going to be hybrid. They'll run a computer on a cow brain, eventually they'll grow human brains with computers attached.

Also: if a simulation is so good you can't tell the difference, how do you know there is a difference?


If by simulation you mean (as I did) one that we talk to (as opposed to one that we exist in, like the Matrix), I will know there is a difference after it's fooled me and its programmer shows the code and the machine it "runs" on. I will know (faith assertion?!) that it's not conscious, even if it's programmed to produce every response that a conscious entity might in such a way as to fool me. I will know that it's not even conscious on the level of an insect or a microbe, because I know (faith assertion?!) that consciousness is a quality of being alive, and the threshold is being alive, not processing power. That is what I meant.

Leaving aside metaphysics, this idea that if something can fool you it's a consciousness will eventually be known as Turing's Fallacy. We have that shit already every day, machines outwit the shit out of us, and they are not conscious. This is why there a distinction nowadays is commonly made between artificial intelligence and consciousness.

.
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby chump » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:02 pm

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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby chump » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:38 pm

0 - 1. On - off. Dark - Light. In - Out. Cold - Hot. Pain - Pleasure. Boy - Girl. Friend - Foe. Good - Evil. As above - So below...… Seems to me, mathematically metastasizing, this is where matters began and end.


A lotta philosophers strive to compare their parallel plane to the planet we apparently seem to share - an alternate reality, if you will... some flatulant, flunky, false flag philosophy, or preferring to refer to my regular reality as geo or ego-centric because from my perspective, and probably yours - in our mutually exclusive shared experience, our world is infinite in every direction, our horizon is essentially always eye level, nobody knows what's far below, while our Sun and Moon and star constellations cross our sky - like a series of signals - wa-ay up high...


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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby dada » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:11 pm

Say we're sitting around a campfire, toasting marshmallows.

For one person the sights, sounds, smells, taste of the marshmallows, tactile sensations, emotions, connections to other memories and whatever other information, all these are stored in the memory bank for later recall.

Another person at the campfire has had the brain operation that prevents the memory from being stored. So the first person can see the memory tomorrow, the code is stored in the memory bank. The second person doesn't have the code stored, they can't recall the memory tomorrow, they draw a blank.

This is talking around the basic problem. The code is a set of instructions for generating a memory. One person has the set of instructions stored in the memory bank, the other doesn't. The unspoken assumption in this model is that the set of instructions for generating the memory, and the memory which is generated are two different things, which we've conveniently ignored.

Or is the set of instructions the same as the memory. If so, the computer model has failed, because obviously with a computer, looking at the code and seeing what the code generates are two different things.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby DrEvil » Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:51 pm

JackRiddler » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:40 am wrote:.

The last point doesn't contradict what I said. Sure, they know locations within the brain within which memory appears to reside (based on measured electrical activity), with the further evidence of what happens when said parts of the brain are damaged. (Of course, this doesn't contradict receiver theories but let's forget that.)

The location doesn't tell you how it works. You know how a hard drive works. You know how a heart works. (You even sort of know why a heart works, if you accept that it's tautological.) You do not know how memory is stored, how it is accessible, how it can just pop back on its own, how it can be on your mind without your being aware of it, etc. If conceived as information (possibly a false paradigm for conscious experience, but I know you're devoted to it), the stored experience of a year probably still adds up to more than what's currently stored on every electronic medium in the world. How is it "written," "stored," "accessed" (if these words really describe how it is done), then rewritten and restored and relayered with each remembrance? Instantaneously, no load time. Where are the ones and twos you believe must be there? (Or the triads, or whatever.) What is their medium?


Here's a pretty good overview of our current understanding of how it works:
http://www.human-memory.net/processes_storage.html

Short version: patterns are encoded in our neurons. The corresponding encoded pattern fires and we remember that memory.

Who says our minds "run" on something? Like Windows runs on a Lenovo? What does the something on which minds run, run on? Seems to me you'll be as ready to keep laying down a theoretical substrate beneath the theoretical substrate, or a first cause behind the first cause, as any theist worth his pillar of salt.


I would say the "something" that our minds run on runs on the basic laws of the universe. Our universe allows structures to exist that are capable of holding a functioning mind.

It's why I've often put up the horror movie reality that the quick-and-dirty fix for synthetic consciousness is going to be hybrid. They'll run a computer on a cow brain, eventually they'll grow human brains with computers attached.


Tbh I don't have a problem with that direction. I think it's much more likely than fully synthetic minds. As our understanding of the brain expands we can start adding bits and pieces to it to improve functionality. The first people will probably be soldiers and various medical cases (there's already a few hundred thousand people with implants in their brains walking around). A soldier with improved hand-eye coordination or an off switch for morality is probably high on various people's list (this bit I do have a problem with, just for the record).

Also: if a simulation is so good you can't tell the difference, how do you know there is a difference?


If by simulation you mean (as I did) one that we talk to (as opposed to one that we exist in, like the Matrix), I will know there is a difference after it's fooled me and its programmer shows the code and the machine it "runs" on. I will know (faith assertion?!) that it's not conscious, even if it's programmed to produce every response that a conscious entity might in such a way as to fool me. I will know that it's not even conscious on the level of an insect or a microbe, because I know (faith assertion?!) that consciousness is a quality of being alive, and the threshold is being alive, not processing power. That is what I meant.

Leaving aside metaphysics, this idea that if something can fool you it's a consciousness will eventually be known as Turing's Fallacy. We have that shit already every day, machines outwit the shit out of us, and they are not conscious. This is why there a distinction nowadays is commonly made between artificial intelligence and consciousness.


Computers have already beaten the Turing test, so they're looking into something a little more substantial to replace it (example: Winograd schemas). The Turing test is basically a test of how good computers are at fooling people, not a measure of consciousness.

I'm not sure life (as we know it) is a prerequisite for mind. Life is just a very long list of mutations of dumb matter that figured out (figuratively speaking) how to organize and replicate. I can't see any theoretical reasons why we shouldn't be able to skip over the 3.5 billion years of happy accidents and go straight for the end result. I also don't see any barriers to creating, either on purpose or by accident, digital life. I don't think there's a commandment that says "Thou shalt be carbon based"!

The way I see it, our minds are the emergent result of all the little processes that make up our brains. Something greater than the sum of its parts (or at least with an inflated ego. I think, therefore I'm special), and its role is for the most part conflict resolution between opposing impulses. Instinct isn't enough to handle a problem like "do you burn your fingers or do you drop grandma's china and break it", so our mind steps in, weighs the pros and cons and makes a decision. It's a side effect of complex society / social interactions.

I also think there's a good chance that super-human consciousness isn't possible at all. Something orders of magnitude smarter than us would be able to make all those decisions instantly and instinctively without needing a meddling "self" to make them for it.

We might be sitting right at the sweet spot of smart enough, but not too smart to have consciousness at all.
"I only read American. I want my fantasy pure." - Dave
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