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Author Topic: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?  (Read 10530 times)

Offline cheryl j

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #25 on: 23/12/2015 06:20:55 »
Dead molecules?
 

Offline RD

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #26 on: 23/12/2015 08:17:41 »
... dead molecules ...
At what point do "dead molecules" become alive ?.
Are the the sugar-molecules in my cup-of-coffee alive ? .
If that sugar is "dead molecules" do they magically become alive when I drink the coffee ?.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitalism
 

Online tkadm30

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #27 on: 23/12/2015 11:03:56 »
"Purpose and meaning are inseparable aspects of life, similarly as consciousness. We cannot expect those in dead molecules. We do not give any moral and ethical importance to an accumulation of dead molecules, but such a
consideration is a must for the life principle. Hence, abiogenesis is an insult to the life force."

A machine, as far I understand, is mechanically assembled from inanimate matter (i.e: dead molecules) thus it have no internal purposes like consciousness or imagination.

Whether the Vedantic view is a vitalistic philosophy makes me uncomfortable... I prefer believing that the Vedantic view is a philosophy of science because its concepts are still prevalent in modern biology.  :P

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/19420889.2015.1085138
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #28 on: 23/12/2015 13:26:55 »
The human psyche is composed of many layers. Conscious and unconscious is only the beginning of this differentiation; differentiation 1.0.  One of the problems with the science of the unconscious mind, is very few scientists use first hand data. Most depend on second and third hand data, which does not form a complete picture resulting in rational polytheism.

Going to Hawaii, in the first person, will tell you more than listening to 100 people tell you about their vacation in Hawaii? The reason is, there are parts of the brain that will react differently. Imagine doing astronomy using only the testimony of others, most of which will be from laymen; patients and test subjects. Having a tooth ache is different from being told about a tooth ache. In all cases, theory will not be totally objective to first hand experience.

Based on first hand experience, collecting data from my own psyche I found that the personality is based on layers. On the surface of the psyche is the persona or the mask of the ego. The persona is easy to see. The persona is connected to our choices of dress, style, tattoos, slang, make-up, attitude, etc. The persona is the mask we show the world and is how strangers see us.

Below the persona is the ego, proper, which contains our personal working memories. The ego proper contains things friends and family are aware of that the world may not see or be allowed to see. The tough guy may not want his friends to know he cries while listening to certain music. He prefers they see him as his tough guy persona. But his mothers sees more than his mask.

Below the ego is the personal unconscious, which contains memories of things we were once aware of, such as the 90% of the facts we learned in school, but forgot after final exams. These memories can be retrieved with hypnosis since they were conscious to us at one time.

Below the personal unconscious is the shadow. The shadow is the bridge between the personal unconscious and a deeper layer of the psyche called the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is connected to the DNA and contains firmware which is not personal but collective in nature, and defines humans as a species; human nature.

The shadow is the bridge between the personal and collective unconscious and contains traces of both. Like our shadow in the sun, the shadow follows us around. The shadow often contains things the ego is not aware of, which others might see. It contains. among other things, our quirks. For example, in gambling some people have tells, which are unconscious quirks that can betray the quality of your cards; nose scratch.

Below the shadow is the collective unconscious. These firmware define human collective human propensities which define humans as a species. The lion and dog have their own collective unconscious firmware. The first layers of the collective unconscious are firmware connected to natural human instinct.

The next layer, in men, are firmware of relationship, which help us as humans form object, idea and human relationships. For example, the subjectivity of prestige comes from this layer of the firmware. Prestige tells us how a object, idea or person stacks up in the hierarchy of social order. The pet rock can be way up there in prestige, if the firmware is active.

The next deeper level are firmware connected to meaning. These are more concerned to the naked truth beyond the prestige of consensus. The pet rock might be popular in terms of prestige, but the firmware of meaning is more objective, and uses a different method to stack up reality. When Einstein developed relativity this layer was active. Below this is the inner self, which controls the collective unconscious. The firmware of the collective unconscious are the many masks of the inner self.

The metaphysical nature of reality is connected to being unconscious of the entire unconscious. The various unconscious layers will react to reality and with most people being unaware, this will add something extra, via projection, that we can't see with science. We sense it is out there, but in reality it is inside of us, shining out.   

Exploring the unconscious mind can be done in the second and third person, but this does not filter out all the metaphysic layers which makes psychology a soft science and makes theory diverge into rational polytheism. Rational monotheism will require first hand data, which will be very similar for all.
« Last Edit: 23/12/2015 13:34:41 by puppypower »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #29 on: 23/12/2015 14:35:20 »
... I meant that imagination allows one to resolve the ubiquity of consciousness using metaphysical freedom.
Riiiight... more of the same  ::)
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A computer based on algorithmics have no imagination, no emotions, and no consciousness.
Debatable, even today (see computer imagination) - but, as I said, it makes mores sense to use an algorithmic system to emulate a non-algorithmic system like a neural network.
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The pseudo-profound BS in my humble opinion is that artificial intelligence could ever create from dead molecules a conscious being.
Nature creates conscious beings from 'dead'(!) molecules all the time - but it's not the substrate that matters, consciousness is computational, information processing, so can - in principle - be emulated by any universal Turing machine; in practice, neuromorphic systems are likely to be most suitable, but, as previously mentioned, these can virtualised on a digital algorithmic system. Modern digital systems are fast enough to emulate a large network of neurons and their connectivity with a single microprocessor, and still operate faster than the biological equivalent. The main technical problem for a large-scale emulation is power consumption and heat dissipation, though these are being addressed.
« Last Edit: 23/12/2015 14:37:06 by dlorde »
 

Offline flr

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #30 on: 23/12/2015 16:57:24 »
Quote
these can virtualised on a digital algorithmic ...
I believe John Searle said something like:

One will never get wet from a simulation of rain.
To get wet you still need real rain.

===
As for the rich and fascinating topic consciousness, my belief is that:
1. A Turning Machine will never generate consciousnesses, because it is an insufficient physical state/structure for such task. Similar with "China Nation" experiment.
 2. Forget about eliminitivists and religious views as they fall in the same category: laziness to even look into the issue.
« Last Edit: 23/12/2015 17:16:43 by flr »
 

Offline RD

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #31 on: 23/12/2015 17:32:00 »
Quote
One will never get wet from a simulation of rain.
To get wet you still need real rain.
Real ants are not required for formication.

My point being, disease & drugs are capable of distorting perceptions of reality,
demonstrating that if it were possible to hack-into someone's nervous-system it would be possible to accurately simulate any experience , (including wetness).
« Last Edit: 23/12/2015 17:51:28 by RD »
 
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Offline Ethos_

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #32 on: 23/12/2015 17:58:41 »
A few thoughts about AI:

Could an AI computer feel sorrow or regret when faced with an error of it's own making?

Could an AI computer fall in love with another AI computer without being instructed to do so?

Could an AI computer appreciate art to the extent that it could distinguish between beauty and ugliness also without instruction?

And lastly, could an AI computer enjoy the activity of "playing" even though the "playing" had no specific profit or progress as it's goal?

I frankly don't know the answers to these questions myself and I would hazard a guess that it's highly unlikely that definitive answers to these questions will ever be answered with any degree of certainty.

 
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Offline flr

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #33 on: 23/12/2015 20:22:48 »
... it were possible to hack into someone's nervous-system it would be possible to accurately simulate any experience , (including wetness).

If hack into someone nervous system to induce to that someone the feel of rain one is no longer simulating anything because he is working the real thing (the right physical substrate) that generate aware perceptions.

Note that you already assumed an "someone" so the right physical structure to generate that whole process/thing labeled as "someone"  existed already and it was not generated from scratch by codes run by some Turning machine.

I also can  hack inside my TV to make the image more red-ish or whatever, but that does not mean I understand the basic  and the ultimate physical laws that holds together that piece of matter(called TV). Similarly, figuring out the neuronal correlated of consciousness (at the level of inter-neurons connections) may leave untouched the question "Why that neuronal state is conscious in the first place?"
 

Offline flr

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #34 on: 23/12/2015 20:26:20 »
A few thoughts about AI:

Could an AI computer feel sorrow or regret when faced with an error of it's own making?

Could an AI computer fall in love with another AI computer without being instructed to do so?

Could an AI computer appreciate art to the extent that it could distinguish between beauty and ugliness also without instruction?

And lastly, could an AI computer enjoy the activity of "playing" even though the "playing" had no specific profit or progress as it's goal?

I frankly don't know the answers to these questions myself and I would hazard a guess that it's highly unlikely that definitive answers to these questions will ever be answered with any degree of certainty.



If by AI you mean Turing Machine, then my answer is NO. More than just Turning Machine is needed to get "feel", just like more than Turning Machine is needed to solve Halting or tilling problems.

My suspicion is that our minds/thinking rely on physical processes that cannot be completely translated to a Turning Machine, in other words our minds may rely on a computing model superior to Turning machines.

Also, the raw conscious "feel" of something may have nothing to do with any kind of computing model.
« Last Edit: 23/12/2015 20:31:11 by flr »
 
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Offline evan_au

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #35 on: 24/12/2015 00:57:49 »
Quote from: Ethos_
Could an AI computer appreciate art to the extent that it could distinguish between beauty and ugliness also without instruction?
A parallel question: Could a human appreciate art to the extent that it could distinguish between beauty and ugliness also without instruction?
I think not.

Indications are that things like music, art and beauty are basically fashions which are cultural artifacts of our own creation.
People growing up in one musical culture have trouble appreciating very different musical styles and even musical scales that are popular in other cultures.
In many respects, I think our appreciation of art and beauty is trained via subconscious cultural cues; some experiments have shown that a baby relates more to the music, rhythm and language to which a baby was exposed before birth.

One area that seems to be a universal measure of human (and biological) beauty is symmetry. When the shape of an organism is controlled by the outworking of a genetic algorithm, major deviations from symmetry indicate a major genetic or environmental crisis. We regard this as a blight, even when the asymmetry is too small to register consciously.

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Could an AI computer appreciate art?
Art is very much in the eye of the beholder. But when some apps recommend similar images or similar music, part of their determination comes from algorithms that study the content, not just what other people also consumed.

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Could an AI computer feel sorrow or regret when faced with an error of it's own making?
There are people who think that AI can only work well when computers have emotional states that reinforce learning or cause it to change its behavior.
Current AI learning algorithms (like backpropagation) do change behavior, but don't rely on emotional states.

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could an AI computer enjoy the activity of "playing" even though the "playing" had no specific profit or progress as it's goal?
I think this is closely linked to the previous question. A human (or an AI) starts with a low level of experience.
"Play" is a safe way of gaining experience, and it must be pleasurable and self-rewarding, or we would not do it, and we would end up naive and unready to face the world.

If we punished and shamed every child (or AI) for every time they failed to make an adult decision, we would end up with insecure children (or AIs) who were unwilling to try anything.
 
The same goes for organisations - an environment which encourages innovation (which will often fail in small or big ways) is more successful than an organization that punishes even a hint of failure; the latter just produces bureaucracies where everyone just focuses on "protecting their butt" (like politics).
 
A rich and welcoming play environment produces more innovated and interested adults who are self-motivated to learn new things. We need to approach this with AIs that are continually self-motivated to learn.
 
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Offline Ethos_

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #36 on: 24/12/2015 01:55:10 »

 
A rich and welcoming play environment produces more innovated and interested adults who are self-motivated to learn new things. We need to approach this with AIs that are continually self-motivated to learn.
Interesting thoughts Evan and this last observation is the most interesting one in my opinion. This approach may be the key to achieving a successfully self aware AI. After all, it's probably the most significant means by which very young humans initiate many of their first experiences in the
learning process. I must confess that I agree with your observations. Nevertheless, a truly self aware AI leaves me with a certain degree of trepidation. And there are several top computer scientists that share this fear as well.
 

Offline flr

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #37 on: 24/12/2015 04:20:38 »
Quote
Current AI learning algorithms (like backpropagation) do change behavior, but don't rely on emotional states.
Essentially they are about how to do a fit.
One can get as much emotions and (self) awarness from these ANNs as from fitting a and b from y=a*x+b then use a and b to estimate y from any other x.
« Last Edit: 24/12/2015 04:23:26 by flr »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #38 on: 24/12/2015 18:07:52 »
I believe John Searle said something like:

One will never get wet from a simulation of rain.
To get wet you still need real rain.
He was quite right. A simulated tornado won't blow your house down.

However, you can calculate with a simulated (or, more precisely, emulated) calculator (I have one on my phone), and you can run real Windows programs on an emulated Windows operating system (e.g. on a Mac). The point being that computation (information processing) is substrate-neutral; you can do it with analogue computers, digital computers, neural networks - any capable real-world information processor (a Universal Turing Machine equivalent) can - in principle - compute what any other can (though some are impractical).

If the biological neural networks in brain are computational in function (and the evidence is very strongly in favour of this) - although not conventionally algorithmic - then their computational functions can be emulated by non-biological information processors, such as digital microprocessors programmed to emulate those networks (assuming all relevant aspects are emulated).

Whether this means that an artificial consciousness is possible depends on whether you think consciousness is a computational process of the brain or not.
Quote
my belief is that:
1. A Turning Machine will never generate consciousnesses, because it is an insufficient physical state/structure for such task. Similar with "China Nation" experiment.
Can you explain this? It seems to me that the 'China Nation' thought experiment simply describes a human brain on a large scale, so would have all it's relevant properties (we assume the people behave like neurons in all relevant respects, are organised and inter-connected in the same way, and all other relevant influences are suitably accounted for, e.g. blood dynamics, neurotransmitters, hormones, etc).
 
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Offline evan_au

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #39 on: 25/12/2015 10:35:35 »
Quote from: flr
A Turing Machine will never generate consciousnesses, because it is an insufficient physical state/structure for such task.
"Never" is a long time.

Quote from: Scientific American Mind
Join together 100 billion neurons—with 100 trillion connections—and you have yourself a human brain

The state of the art in 2014 was 1 chip that holds 1 million neurons and 256 million connections, or about 1/400,000 of a brain.
Cobble together 10,000 of these chips in a data warehouse, and you have 1/40 of a brain.

Moore's law doubles about every 2 years, so if this trend continues, in about 15 years (2030), we could produce something in a research lab with "sufficient physical state/structure" to be comparable with a human brain. In 20 years (2035), many companies could afford them. Make it 35 years (2050), and such a thing could be affordable in every home. In 15 years (2030) it could be ready for fielding by the military, which has a totally different cost structure.

Could consciousness emerge from this mass of chips? Nobody knows. But it is conceivable.

Elon Musk, Steven Hawking and others have warned about the dangers of autonomous military robots. As I see it, we have about 10 years to rediscover and start applying something like Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics" - a code of robot ethics. Unfortunately, the military is the group least likely to appreciate an advance like this.

PS: If you use the historical 18 months for the doubling time of Moore's Law, the above dates come scarily closer.
« Last Edit: 25/12/2015 10:38:04 by evan_au »
 

Offline flr

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #40 on: 25/12/2015 18:44:58 »
Quote
Can you explain this? It seems to me that the 'China Nation' thought experiment simply describes a human brain on a large scale...
It is more than that.
The “China Brain” (or “china Nation”) is very shortly in Wikipedia, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_brain
If one replaces neurons with people and connections between neurons with hand waving/shaking between adjacent peoples will the resulting state be conscious as the imitated neuronal state?
If the function is all that matter for consciousness then the pattern of hand-waving of people is similar to connections between neurons and therefore perform the same function as neurons but implemented in a different substrate.
The question is: Will there be consciousness out of the ensemble of people imitating through hand-shaking/waving neuronal pattern? If yes of whom? Of a new individual of the consciousness of the person (whose pattern is imitated) is expanded over the “china brain”?

If functionalism is correct (the function is all that matter and not the substrate) then the “china brain” is conscious.

There are variations of china brain though experiment. For example if we replace neurons with silicon neurons will we get conscious? Or if create an accurate holographic representation of the brain will that hologram be conscious?  Or if  succeed to record in a computer a copy of the neuronal connections, will that Turning Machine copy be conscious? If not, then why neurons generate consciousness? How are the real neurons different?

It appears to me that essential to functionalism is the question: What is/are the physical process(es) that underpin a conscious percept and at what scale it  occurs?
Certain physical configurations (by configuration  I mean its time-dependence as well, and not some structure frozen in time) are accompanied by aware percept (such as how-is-it-like-to-experience -sweet when eat a candy candy).
I suspect that   aware percept necessitate so tight restrictions on the underpinning  physical substrate that only neurons have it and silicon or china brain does not.  But what if we imitate in china bran (or hologram or silicon) all that is measurable about neuronal connections, why would not china brain be conscious? Then what we copy (at the level of classically describable and macroscopically measurable interneuronal connections) is not what underpin an aware percept.
 

Offline flr

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #41 on: 25/12/2015 19:05:27 »
in 2014 was 1 chip that holds 1 million neurons and 256 million connections, or about 1/400,000 of a brain.
Cobble together 10,000 of these chips in a data warehouse, and you have 1/40 of a brain.
I am pretty sure one will get something totally different from a brain.

What "1/40 of a brain" is even supposed to mean? If a tight vessel blow inside my brain and do some damage not even visible without microscope my entire mind/personality could be lost and I could became in a vegetative state; that is how interconnected things are inside brain.  I truly have reasons to believe you will not get a brain (or 1/40 (sic!) of a brain) by clogging many CPUs together.
« Last Edit: 25/12/2015 19:08:56 by flr »
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #42 on: 25/12/2015 22:28:10 »
...I suspect that   aware percept necessitate so tight restrictions on the underpinning  physical substrate that only neurons have it and silicon or china brain does not.
But why do you suspect this?  What properties of the substrate do you think might be relevant? (because if we know the relevant properties, we can include them in the emulation).

I grant that the 'China Brain' would function incredibly slowly compared to a human brain, which would mean it would need appropriate stimulation at a similar rate, and its output responses would be correspondingly slow, but it's just a thought experiment, and I'm assuming it is intended to exactly represent the function of a brain - neurons (& other active cells), in their networks and structures of networks, scaled up so that the functionality is similar - otherwise what's the point of the thought experiment? If the people can't communicate with as many others, or at a frequency or processing speed as would occur in a real brain (but suitably scaled up), they obviously wouldn't be able to function usefully at all.   

Suppose we approach it from another direction, and, say, imagine a thought experiment, where we develop artificial programmable neurons that can emulate the behaviour and connectivity of any neuron in the brain (chemical sensors & effectors also allow it to respond to and modify the chemical environment around it, just like a biological neuron). So we scan someone's brain (a willing volunteer!), identifying every neuron and it's connections, and measuring how each one behaves; then we start replacing them, one by one, with the artificial electronic neurons, programmed to behave identically. Assume each replacement replicates the relevant behaviour of the original exactly.

Do you think there will come a point in this cell-by-cell replacement when the volunteer will no longer be recognisably conscious, despite there being no functional change in his brain? If so, can you explain why you think so?
« Last Edit: 25/12/2015 22:30:17 by dlorde »
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #43 on: 25/12/2015 22:30:08 »
Quote from: flr
What is "1/40 of a brain" even supposed to mean?
This was mentioned in the context of comparing how many neurons and synapses there are in a human brain vs a silicon computer which tries to implement neuron-like structures.

I know we are comparing apples and aardvarks here, because there are many things we don't know about how individual neurons work, or how different neurons differ from each other.

One thing we do know is that it takes a lot of brain power to control muscles smoothly, and a large fraction of the increased brain size in larger animals is due to the extra neurons it takes to control the extra muscle fibers.

Fortunately, developments in Diffusion MRI are allowing us to map the high-level connections within the brain, as part of the Human Connectome Project. This will assist us in identifying functional groups of brain areas, which will help us understand the human brain, and perhaps better understand the human mind. It will also guide the design of AI computers; it is very inefficient to blindly connect every computer chip to every other computer chip - breaking them up into functional blocks makes a lot of sense.

Quote
China Brain...Will there be consciousness out of the ensemble of people? If yes of whom? Of a new individual or the consciousness of the person (whose pattern is imitated)?
I suggest that if you have a number of conscious beings which are able to communicate, as soon as you put a group of them together, you create a new conscious being with a different identity than the individual pieces - an organization. This larger consciousness may be a family, a tribe, a political party, a religion, a discussion forum, a nation, a pod of dolphins, etc. This larger consciousness will have slightly different goals than the individuals from which it is formed.

These different goals create tensions. Sometimes an individual gains control of an organization, and bends the goals of the organization to match his or her own personal goals, with negative results for other individuals, and the organization as a whole.

Getting individuals to cooperate is hard, since they often compete for the same resources; getting organizations to cooperate is also hard, since they also compete for resources and individuals.

With a few small exceptions (like interactions between humans and their work animals), human organizations do not yet extend outside our own species. Perhaps AI might be the first such extension, causing a shift in the outlook of humanity?
 

Offline flr

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #44 on: 26/12/2015 03:26:26 »
Quote
But why do you suspect this?  What properties of the substrate do you think might be relevant? (because if we know the relevant properties, we can include them in the emulation).
Because we can solve the tiling problem or halting problem for cases computers (i.e. Turning Machines) cannot do it.
What means to solve a problem with a computer? It means to generate a physical-state (inside machine) isomorph with the proof of the given problem. Indeed if one will follow the electronic states (in both space and time) inside computer one will find a physical structure isomorph with the given problem
What means a non-computable problem? It means that it cannot be solved within the computing model of a TM. Can we communicate to computer a non-computable problem? Yes but it is as if one write can incomplete program. 
What specific example of non-computable problem can be given? The halting and the tiling problem. (just google “the tiling problem”, see also wikipedia). The tiling problem can only be solved by computer (TM) only if periodic patterns (like in crystals) are generated. For non-periodic cases TM will never find solution and cannot figure out that it will never find solution. It is not that the programmer did not write a smart enough program, instead it can be mathematically proven that the computing model is insufficient and it is not possible to write a code for TM to solve the tiling problem in finite time for aperiodic case.
Our minds can identify and solve (for simple cases) problems that computers/TM cannot solve, and we can even explain why this is the case. When doing so it must be the case that a physical process/structure isomorph with our thinking/proof occurs  inside our brain. In other words, if I solve a problem that TM cannot solve it then my hardware (brain) must be relying on physics isomorph with the problem. Then if I solve a non-computable problem then my hardware may be relying on a non-computable physical state/process (isomorph with the problem).
What physical process is non-computable, or how would look like?  Well, physics similar to (or relying on similar events as in) tiling for aperiodic case is noncomputable. Do such non-computable physical events exist in reality? Perhaps. Rodger Penrose suggested that quantum gravity is non-computable. Classical physics is computable as far as I know.

What the “tilling problem” have to do with the ability of conscious entity to aware the reality? Perhaps nothing. However, it is a step forward in showing that our minds are more that Turning Machines and certain aspects of our minds are not representable in TM. In other words, if one try to put our minds inside a computer then mathematical proof can be given that it cannot be completely done, or, some processes from our brain will be left not-representable  inside the computer/TM.
 
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(because if we know the relevant properties, we can include them in the emulation).
It is also possible that, based on the known relevant properties, one can mathematically prove that an emulation in finite time is not possible (essentially due to the limitation of the machine and its computing model). For example, one cannot emulate in a computer/TM how to solve in finite time the tiling problem for aperiodic case. To solve it (for aperiodic case and in finite time) one would have to tape into a completely different type of physics than the elementary steps of computer/TM. Our brains might do it because we can identify solutions (sometimes very quick) at least for certain simpler cases.
« Last Edit: 26/12/2015 04:22:49 by flr »
 

Offline flr

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #45 on: 26/12/2015 06:49:10 »
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Suppose we approach it from another direction, and, say, imagine a thought experiment, where we develop artificial programmable neurons that can emulate the behaviour and connectivity of any neuron in the brain (chemical sensors & effectors also allow it to respond to and modify the chemical environment around it, just like a biological neuron). So we scan someone's brain (a willing volunteer!), identifying every neuron and it's connections, and measuring how each one behaves; then we start replacing them, one by one, with the artificial electronic neurons, programmed to behave identically. Assume each replacement replicates the relevant behaviour of the original exactly.

Do you think there will come a point in this cell-by-cell replacement when the volunteer will no longer be recognisably conscious, despite there being no functional change in his brain? If so, can you explain why you think so?
With current (or near future) technology a likely outcome  is that the ‘volunteer’ will start developing dementia-like syndromes progressing as the replacement of neurons occurs.

For argument, let us assume that it is possible for artificial neurons to imitate all functions (including chemical synapses, all time transients, etc) of the natural neurons. To quantify this better, let’s assume that classical physics and macroscopically measurable properties (above thermal fluctuations sqrt(N)) are sufficient information to find all that is needed to make artificial neurons behave like natural ones, and at the end of replacement the artificial neuronal network behave measurable similar to original natural neurons. What do we get at the end of the process: an insentient machine (philosophical zombie?) or the original sentient being?

If we get a zombie then we lost some physics, likely at quantum level. Quantum mechanics (QM) is working in anything by e.g. holding atoms together, without QM atoms e- will fall into nucleus, but the question is: is QM directly involved in consciousness? As QM demonstrably play a direct direct role in biology (photosynthesis and taste), I find it hard to believe it is not involved directly in such a special and important process such the aware-ing/conscious-ing of the reality.

QM can provide speculative ground for the nature of non-computing process that might underpin (or be isomorph with) some of our thoughts [HOWEVER we don’t know if indeed our brains rely on non-computable physics because we can only solve particular cases of non-computable (for TM) problems and maybe our NN figured out a way to represent those particular cases with classical computable physics, relying on the simplicity and particularity of the solved problem; on the other hand counterarguments can easily be brought].

Speculations aside and based on what we know, direct involvement of QM can provide inside our brains two things: i) a more efficient energy transfer from point to point (due to electronic or vibrational states extended over many atoms) and ii) faster Turning Machine computations if the results of those computations somehow survive from picoseconds to tens of miliseconds in order to be interfaced with the timescales of NN classical processes – the missmatch of decoherece timescales  is a loooong shot but maybe nature found a way.

Back to your question, if the QM is directly involved in the process of consciousness (via e.g. space-extended electronic states or quantum vibrational states on certain parts of neurons) then it dramatically restrict the molecular substrate that can be used, and the artificial neuron may have to be very similar to natural one in order to reproduce the quantum states directly involved in conscious -ness (-ing).

It is conceivable to end up with a artificial NN that imitates perfectly at the classically describable level of interneuronal connections the original natural NN but it completely misses to generate some quantum states of the natural NN because the ANN does not have the right physical configuration. If those missed quantum states are essential to consciousness then ANN is a mindless machine even if at classical and interneuronal connection level imitates perfectly the natural NN

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Abreviations:
TM = Turning Machine
QM = Quantum Mechanics
NN = Neuronal Network
ANN = artificial NN
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #46 on: 27/12/2015 23:39:04 »
Because we can solve the tiling problem or halting problem for cases computers (i.e. Turning Machines) cannot do it.
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Our minds can identify and solve (for simple cases) problems that computers/TM cannot solve, and we can even explain why this is the case.
I'm familiar with the halting and tiling problems. They're Decision Problems - the decidability of tiling problems mathematically depends on the decidability of a  halting problem. But they are statements about arbitrary instances, not specific instances. Both humans and computer programs can solve certain (simple) specific instances. The compiler in a decent IDE will comfortably solve halting problems for even some quite complicated code (better than a human, which is why the feature is provided), but not for all code. As humans generally use algorithmic techniques for anything more than trivially simple instances, I'm curious to see your reference for instances that humans can solve, but for which no computer algorithm can be written.
 

Offline dlorde

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #47 on: 28/12/2015 00:53:02 »
With current (or near future) technology a likely outcome  is that the ‘volunteer’ will start developing dementia-like syndromes progressing as the replacement of neurons occurs.
This is a thought experiment, the assumption is that the technology will exactly mimic the original.
 
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If we get a zombie then we lost some physics, likely at quantum level. Quantum mechanics (QM) is working in anything by e.g. holding atoms together, without QM atoms e- will fall into nucleus, but the question is: is QM directly involved in consciousness? As QM demonstrably play a direct direct role in biology (photosynthesis and taste), I find it hard to believe it is not involved directly in such a special and important process such the aware-ing/conscious-ing of the reality.
Why? Do all 'special and important' processes have to directly involve QM? Is it more than just a case of consciousness is mysterious and QM is mysterious, so maybe they're connected? I'm happy to accept that there may be particular neural processes where QM effects could play an optimizing role, as in other biological systems, but I don't see the rationale behind claiming it is somehow the key to consciousness.

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Speculations aside and based on what we know, direct involvement of QM can provide inside our brains two things: i) a more efficient energy transfer from point to point (due to electronic or vibrational states extended over many atoms)
What 'electronic or vibrational states' in particular? How does that help cellular communication? The timescales of the neural membrane depolarisation and synaptic transmission are consistent with the overall activity that's observed, e.g. sensory input takes about 300ms of processing to reach the threshold for the wide-scale activation of the cortex and other areas, that is consistent with the start of conscious awareness - which takes a further 300-400 ms to activate areas associated with generating a response. Where does QM help?
   
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ii) faster Turning Machine computations if the results of those computations somehow survive from picoseconds to tens of miliseconds in order to be interfaced with the timescales of NN classical processes – the missmatch of decoherece timescales  is a loooong shot but maybe nature found a way.
I thought the claim was that a Turing Machine couldn't emulate the non-computable functions of the brain, which was what QM was being invoked to explain? having QM speed up Turing Machine computations wouldn't help with non-computability...

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..if the QM is directly involved in the process of consciousness (via e.g. space-extended electronic states or quantum vibrational states on certain parts of neurons) then it dramatically restrict the molecular substrate that can be used, and the artificial neuron may have to be very similar to natural one in order to reproduce the quantum states directly involved in conscious -ness (-ing).
That's a big, unsupported 'IF' - but the thought experiment assumes that any QM involvement can accounted for in the emulation - we know how QM behaves, so we could, in principle, duplicate its influence on our artificial system.
 
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It is conceivable to end up with a artificial NN that imitates perfectly at the classically describable level of interneuronal connections the original natural NN but it completely misses to generate some quantum states of the natural NN because the ANN does not have the right physical configuration. If those missed quantum states are essential to consciousness then ANN is a mindless machine even if at classical and interneuronal connection level imitates perfectly the natural NN
But if we do generate all the relevant QM states, as the thought experiment assumes?

It seems to me that either you know of some QM effect that can't, in principle, be emulated in an artificial system, or your QM argument is not a valid objection to AI consciousness. I don't know any compelling evidence that QM effects are involved or are necessary, and all the neuroscience evidence I've seen suggests that the brain functions just as one would expect if special QM effects weren't involved.

The EU funded Human Brain Project is aiming to create a neuron emulation faithful to molecular scales, where any required QM effects could be incorporated. So far, their very limited emulations of parts of biological brains (of rats), have behaved just like their biological counterparts; they may be nowhere near complex enough to be more than proof-of-principle models, but no evidence of, or need for, QM effects has been seen.

We can't yet define precisely what we mean by consciousness, so it's not really surprising that we don't yet know how it works.
 
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Offline Ethos_

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #48 on: 28/12/2015 03:43:23 »


We can't yet define precisely what we mean by consciousness, so it's not really surprising that we don't yet know how it works.
I suggest that consciousness becomes possible with AI when it's calculations demonstrate opposition to the programmers aims. When AI defies instruction, a conscious rebellion becomes evident. Rebellion is the precursor to self identity and a conscious personality.
 

Offline flr

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #49 on: 28/12/2015 05:34:11 »

The EU funded Human Brain Project is aiming to create a neuron emulation faithful to molecular scales... So far, their very limited emulations of parts of biological brains (of rats), have behaved just like their biological counterparts;

Their biological conterpart generated conscious states (that was its major purpose after all). Do you know if the emulation itself was conscious as well?
« Last Edit: 28/12/2015 05:51:14 by flr »
 

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Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
« Reply #49 on: 28/12/2015 05:34:11 »

 

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