Naked Science Forum

Non Life Sciences => Physics, Astronomy & Cosmology => Topic started by: tkadm30 on 13/12/2015 21:51:06

Title: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: tkadm30 on 13/12/2015 21:51:06
The ubiquity of consciousness is a universal phenomenon;

All living organisms are conscious entities;

Artificial intelligence cannot reproduce the metaphysical experience of reality;
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: RD on 14/12/2015 09:24:55
The ubiquity of consciousness is a universal phenomenon;

All living organisms are conscious entities;

Artificial intelligence cannot reproduce the metaphysical experience of reality;

If AI (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence) can pass a Turing test (http://hhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test) then it's indistinguishable from a human.

You'd have to come up with a test to see if the AI has "metaphysical" qualities, but look up the word "tautology" first.

[ Who'd have guessed you're pro-legalization of marijuana ].
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: tkadm30 on 14/12/2015 12:17:33
If AI (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence) can pass a Turing test (http://hhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test) then it's indistinguishable from a human.

Even if a robot passes the Turing test, it will not be aware that it has passed the Turing test.

A robot has no internal teleology; therefore it cannot reproduce the functions of consciousness
or shape the metaphysical experience of reality. His reality is thus artificial and not self-aware of the
matrix of life.

http://longbets.org/15/
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr on 17/12/2015 13:59:36

You'd have to come up with a test to see if the AI has "metaphysical" qualities,


But awaring is not about 'metaphysical qualities' and instead about the "quality of experience" as perceived/sensed from a first person perspective.
For example, for an awaring entity there is something is it like to experience red or sweet. Instead, an AI based philosophical zombie only compare tables made of 0 and 1 and if they match the zombie will behave as if experienced red/sweet, however how could quality of experience of red/sweet arise from comparing 2 tables?

Is all machine/behavior or there is something else  that gives us "there is something is it like"-ness of the subjective experience?

And if science will find all physical/neuronal correlates of consciousness, would not the question "why that particular state is conscious in the first place" persists?

Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: RD on 17/12/2015 14:44:19
... AI based philosophical zombie only compare tables made of 0 and 1 and if they match ...  is something else  that gives us "there is something is it like"-ness of the subjective experience?

Fuzzy-logic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzzy_logic) covers "-ness".

It's possible to create a software model of neurones ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_neural_network

If you had enough of them you could model the human brain ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_theory_of_mind
So the computer-model would have all of the properties & abilities of an actual brain , ( whatever names you want to give them ).

Computer emulator software (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulator) is proof of this concept.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: puppypower on 17/12/2015 20:08:08
Neural memory differs from computer memory in ways that allow consciousness to appear.

Neurons expend considerable energy pumping and exchanging cations; sodium and potassium ions. This action increases the potential of the membrane; membrane potential, and lowers the entropy of the cations. The ion exchange action segregates these two ions, which if left alone, would try to form a uniform solution. The neuron creates a dual potential; energy and entropy. The net effect is a neuron is designed to be semi-unstable and able to spontaneously change toward lower energy and higher entropy.

Computer memory is the opposite in that this is designed for long term storage and stability. This is not an accident waiting to happen. If computer memory was designed like neurons, it would be made purposely semi-unstable and able to spontaneously change both in storage, and well as when activated by a computer. Such memory will attempt to lower energy and increase entropy to remove the induced potentials  added when the memory was formed.

Say we had a computer with one zone of the new semi-unstable memory, plus an area of normal stable computer memory. Both memory zones begin with the same data. What we do is allow the unstable memory to change. We then will use algorithms that look for changes that meet various criteria. These changes will be written to the stable memory, then the this new version of the stable memory will be used to rewrite the unstable memory, for another round. This alters the potentials in the unstable memory. If we do this fast enough, the computer would appear to be conscious and thinking. We are not telling it what to think, but rather we are monitoring how it changes based on laws of energy and entropy.

When neurons fire, they move in the direction of lowering energy and increasing entropy. Firing of neurons satisfies the needs of the laws of energy and entropy, therefore firing was an inevitable path needed to lower the dual potential.

Our sensory systems will also fire neurons. Therefore our interaction with the environment, is also driven by the universal laws of energy and entropy. In other words, our instinctive urge to interact with the environment; see, hear, smell, taste and touch and even thinking and imagining, all satisfy the needs of the universe in terms of lowering brain energy and increasing brain entropy.

The conscious mind, is more diverse compared to animal instinct. The human can do more than an ape. This extra variety of choice and will is connected to the needs of higher entropy.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: evan_au on 17/12/2015 20:20:20
Quote from: tkadm30
Even if a robot passes the Turing test, it will not be aware that it has passed the Turing test.
For a robot or AI to pass the Turing test, it has to be able to recall and react to recent events, including the prior content of the conversation.

If one statement near the end of the conversation is "Congratulations, you have just passed the Turing test!", then the AI would be able to recall this statement and will happily discuss with you the significance of passing the Turing test.

This certainly seems to me to be an awareness that it had passed the Turing test!
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: evan_au on 17/12/2015 20:29:58
Quote from: tkadm30
Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
I'm not sure what "metaphysical" means.

But I would say that, at least for humans. "consciousness shows itself in a physical impact of reality".

In that external events result in physical changes in your behavior and actions (including speech and writing), and those that enter long-term memory leave physical marks in the spines on dendrites (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendritic_spine) in your brain.

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The ubiquity of consciousness is a universal phenomenon;
Turing machines are universal machines; why shouldn't they be able to display universal phenomena?

Quote
All living organisms are conscious entities;
This suggests that if and when a computer demonstrates that it is conscious, you would be willing to consider it a "living organism"?
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: tkadm30 on 17/12/2015 20:59:24
This suggests that if and when a computer demonstrates that it is conscious, you would be willing to consider it a "living organism"?

"Purpose and meaning are inseparable aspects of life, similarly as conscious-
ness. We cannot expect those in dead molecules."

A machine or computer has no internal purpose; Therefore even if a computer has been programmed to speak Chinese, it doesn't mean it has intrinsic awareness of its intelligence to speak Chinese.

www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19420889.2015.1085138
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr on 17/12/2015 21:42:53

It's possible to create a software model of neurones ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_neural_network

If you had enough of them you could model the human brain ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_theory_of_mind
So the computer-model would have all of the properties & abilities of an actual brain , ( whatever names you want to give them ).

Computer emulator software (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulator) is proof of this concept.

But that has nothing to do with consciousness, your comments and links seem to me off-topic.

Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr on 17/12/2015 22:01:36
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The ubiquity of consciousness is a universal phenomenon;
Turing machines are universal machines; why shouldn't they be able to display universal phenomena?

Turning machines (and finite feed-forward ANN) cannot solve the halting problem. Our minds can do it, so our minds may be more than turning machines or algorithms running Turning machines.

But the key (and hard) question is: How the 'inner movie' and the quality of the experience (such as the redness of red) arises from physical processes?

Quote
For a robot or AI to pass the Turing test, it has to be able to recall and react to recent events, including the prior content of the conversation.
This certainly seems to me to be an awareness that it had passed the Turing test!

The entire system consisting of the tested behavioral zombie AND the conscious person that does the testing IS as a whole aware (due to the fact that the person is aware).  At best the AI Turning test probe that an aware entity can design a behavioral zombie, and therefore the consciousness might be more than algorithm and behavior. 
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: RD on 18/12/2015 05:24:14

It's possible to create a software model of neurones ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_neural_network

If you had enough of them you could model the human brain ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_theory_of_mind
So the computer-model would have all of the properties & abilities of an actual brain , ( whatever names you want to give them ).

Computer emulator software (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulator) is proof of this concept.

But that has nothing to do with consciousness, your comments and links seem to me off-topic.

Whatever qualities a human brain has, whatever you want to call them, (consciousness , soul , personality, etc ) , an accurate computer-emulation of the human brain can have all of those qualities.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: tkadm30 on 20/12/2015 12:43:20
A computer have no internal teleology, therefore it cannot resolve 2+2=5.

Intrinsic awareness is the purpose within consciousness.



 
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: RD on 21/12/2015 07:58:28
... A computer have no internal teleology ...

If a computer-simulation of your brain could be created, every neurone* identical , its output would be the same as yours when your brain was [somehow] mapped to that resolution.   The computer-model would diverge from your brain if it didn't get a software-updates of your subsequent thoughts / experiences / dreams / hallucinations / brain-damage.

[ * it would take billions of them (http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/brain-metrics/are_there_really_as_many) ]
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: puppypower on 21/12/2015 12:39:14
Self awareness in humans is connected to our brain having two centers of consciousness. If my stomach begins to grumble, I will become aware that I am hungry and might need to eat. The grumbling is part of an unconscious control system that acts separately from the conscious mind.

Say I go to a museum and I see a work of art that makes me feel awe and wonder. I may project that feeling of awe into the object and assume the object is giving off this vibe. This ability to move the audience makes that works of art very valuable. In reality, the unconscious center of my mind is reacting to the stimulus, making me aware of the object in a strong way. If I am unconscious or unaware there is a secondary center, it will project itself onto the object, so I can become aware, indirectly, through the object. This would be an example of a metaphysical experience of reality.

The unconscious center is called the inner self. This is what all animals have and is connected to natural instinct, human nature and the DNA. Humans have an additional center called the conscious mind/ego. This appears to be more connected to language. Free will is the ability to make choices different from the inner self. But to practice free will, we need to be aware of the choices of the inner self, to differentiate our own choices. As long as one is not aware of the secondary, you don't have free choice, but only choice.

As long as these two centers are unconsciously merged in the mind, due to cultural conditioning, the inner self is projected outside ourselves so we can become aware; indirectly. This is often felt to be a metaphysical connection to reality,  where there is no apparent physical connection using the existing laws of science. Science can't see it but one can feel it. 

A projection is like a movie that shines through the mind's eye; imagination, onto reality. For example, say you just fell into love. You may see your beloved with almost mythological attributes. She is the most beautiful and talented person in the world, to me. Your friends won't see this exactly like you do, because only your inner self projector is active. This projection comes from the inner self, with the projector hoping to make you self aware of the inner self. But since we are not trained to think this way, the fantasy will normally run its course, until one realizes they were seeing reality with a metaphysical overlay governed by chance. 

You could simulate this with a computer by having two centers of logic that approach problems differently. There will be a tug of war between the two, with times of cooperation, and times of conflict. For example, say one program thinks in the long term utility and other thinks in the needs of the moment. One side will want to store the seed potato, wile the other side will want to make fries. The compromise would need creativity;  some will go to storage based on the weight of the opposing arguments. Both centers will need to be self aware of each other as well as to itself, to make compromises, that will be challenged by the bias of the other. The net path the computer will make will not be linear but will have curves.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: tkadm30 on 21/12/2015 15:06:58
The unconscious center is called the inner self. This is what all animals have and is connected to natural instinct, human nature and the DNA. Humans have an additional center called the conscious mind/ego. This appears to be more connected to language. Free will is the ability to make choices different from the inner self. But to practice free will, we need to be aware of the choices of the inner self, to differentiate our own choices. As long as one is not aware of the secondary, you don't have free choice, but only choice.

As long as these two centers are unconsciously merged in the mind, due to cultural conditioning, the inner self is projected outside ourselves so we can become aware; indirectly. This is often felt to be a metaphysical connection to reality,  where there is no apparent physical connection using the existing laws of science. Science can't see it but one can feel it. 

The conscious nature of our own mind is a metaphysical cognitive act; The unconscious mind may lie as you suggest in the mental states of the brain, were neuronal sentience operates the mechanics of brain activity
through an external teleology/purpose. By altering the states of consciousness, one may bridge the gap between the conscious/unconscious mind. Artificial intelligence is therefore an illusion or fairy tale that could not reproduce the inner function (intrinsic awareness) of the conscious mind; A robot could not be held morally responsible for its behavior or for its inability to solve 2+2=5.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: RD on 21/12/2015 16:15:31
The human can do more than an ape.

Sometimes the ape can do more than the human (https://youtu.be/zsXP8qeFF6A?t=20s) ...

Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: evan_au on 21/12/2015 18:05:08
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Turning machines (and finite feed-forward ANN) cannot solve the halting problem. Our minds can do it...
I agree that our minds can solve simple cases of Turing's Halting Problem.

The huge effort put into teaching Structured Programming over the past 40 years or so is aimed at limiting people to generating the small subset of software for which the author (and their colleagues) have a chance of understanding its structure, and visually solving the Halting Problem.

Given well-structured software, a good optimizing compiler can also "understand" the structure, and solve the Halting Problem.

But given a really convoluted piece of code, perhaps requiring solution of a unsolved mathematical problem, no human or computer can resolve the Halting Problem.

Example: Input a positive integer. If it is 1, Halt; if it is even, halve it; if it is odd, triple it and add 1.
Question: Does this Halt in a finite time? (ie Turing's Halting Problem)
Answer: Nobody knows (last time I checked).
        You can check specific values:
        Some numbers (like 64) halt very quickly.
        Some much smaller numbers jump around erratically for a very long time (27 reaches as high as 9232).
        But the Halting Problem asks about every possible input, and we simply don't know.

So I think that solving the Halting Problem is a false dichotomy between humans and machines.

PS: I hope I have recalled this simple example correctly. But the point is that even simple questions in computation can have an unknown outcome.
...Some software gurus have even suggested banning simple operations like "triple it and add 1", because they make software impossible to analyze!
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: evan_au on 22/12/2015 16:03:25
Quote from: tkadm30
A computer have no internal teleology, therefore it cannot resolve 2+2=5.
I tried this on Wolfram Alpha (http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=x%5E3+-+4x%5E2+%2B+6x+-+24+%3D+0&lk=3).

Question: 2+2=5
Answer: False

I think that is a pretty reasonable resolution for integers, real & imaginary numbers.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: tkadm30 on 22/12/2015 17:22:00
If that computer is programmed with binary logic, then it must use mathematics to solve the problem. Mathematics however cannot solve problems dealing with the metaphysics of reality. Thus only a living being could possibly solve 2+2=5 using imagination, a property of the mind which allow one to bend the physical laws
of sentience.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr on 22/12/2015 17:40:23
Yes, these are the reasons why both the religious and eliminitivist views to consciousness are to me the most uninteresting: they sidestep and deny from the beginning the questions.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr on 22/12/2015 17:55:24
We know how computers do multiplications of 2 integers: the flow of electricity though circuit elements is pattern isomorphic with what we call multiplication in base 2.

However, did the scientists figured out how the neurons in our brain do the multiplication (or summation) of 2 integers? Are we so advanced yet ? Anyone can point to a link (somehow) related to this?
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: evan_au on 22/12/2015 20:43:27
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only a living being could possibly solve... using imagination
As I understand it, most living beings do not use imagination.

For most small organisms, their largest data store is in their genome, which has pre-programmed responses to the world as they find it. "Learning" at the DNA level occurs through genetic drift within a population.

Some degree of genetic learning occurs within an individual, at the epigenetic level, which may lead a malnourished  organism to behave slightly differently than its well-nourished clone with the same DNA.

Those with more data storage outside their genome (for example in a brain) can store more temporary information (like where is food today vs where was food on other days) and modify their behavior based on the results of trial-and-error experiences during their lives. Pattern matching then retrieves the most likely solution.

Much of that brain-based data storage is used for functions like movement, finding food and reproduction - the same things that occupy a single-celled organism. It is just that they are far more flexible about it. They are in some ways more helpless while they populate this storage with useful experiences, gained through trial & error.

I agree that imagination is powerful - it allows one to use the model of the real world which has been stored in the brain, and try out various strategies in imagination without the danger of actually trying them (the "inner movie"). It is trial and error, with reduced risk. This is one aspect of Planning.

Animal psychologists look for species which display the ability to Plan actions, coming up with novel actions in novel situations that work first time (or almost work). This is one indicator of Planning and Intelligence.

Mental rehearsal is also one aspect of dreaming - the ability to carry out actions in the brain while the body is paralyzed and unable to act on it immediately. Perhaps dreaming is an example of imagination in action?

I am interested to see your definition of imagination, and how it differs from planning.

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If that computer is programmed with binary logic, then it must use mathematics to solve the problem.
Yes, Wolfram Alpha has a large database of mathematical solutions, which the computer uses to seek the best method, apply it to solve equations and graph the solutions.

It even is able to determine when one approach is not working, and try a different method, effectively learning by trial and error, when normal methods fail.

Because it is doing this internally, before changing the physical world, you could say that it is Planning.

Mathematics has powerful tools when dealing with mathematical problems. But Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) also use mathematics to train the network on real-world data, extracting the patterns of interest, even outside mathematical domains. In a sense, backpropagation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backpropagation) is like dreaming: the result is to modify the weights of actions based on the outcomes of those actions.

I guess we have to ask what is the ratio of data in a computer system which is "hard coded" (like DNA) vs learned on-the-fly (like a brain). When more is learned than provided as initial data, we could say that a computer system is Intelligent.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde on 22/12/2015 22:32:05
If that computer is programmed with binary logic, then it must use mathematics to solve the problem. Mathematics however cannot solve problems dealing with the metaphysics of reality. Thus only a living being could possibly solve 2+2=5 using imagination, a property of the mind which allow one to bend the physical laws
of sentience.
'to bend the physical laws of sentience' sounds like pseudo-profound BS (http://journal.sjdm.org/15/15923a/jdm15923a.pdf) - a Chopra-esque deepity (http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/) - unless, of course, you can explain what these physical laws are (why not show the maths while you're at it), and how they can be 'bent'  [;)]

A digital computer programmed with binary logic can be programmed to emulate the relevant functions of a biological neuron - in fact, of a network of biological neurons - in all it's noisy, lossy, flexible, resilience. Such a network, appropriately structured, can function just like it's biological equivalent. It functions at a level of abstraction above the digital substrate, so it doesn't have the algorithmic limitations of that substrate. 

For example, an interesting recently published demonstration is a virtual (emulated) neural network, nicknamed 'Annabell' (Artificial Neural Network with Adaptive Behavior Exploited for Language Learning), which is "capable of learning to communicate through natural language starting from tabula rasa [blank slate], without any a-priori knowledge of the structure of phrases, meaning of words, role of the different classes of words...". In other words, it can learn a language (e.g. English) well enough to give sensible answers to simple questions, without having any pre-programmed dictionary or syntax. It learns semantic processing by association, from a training dataset of sentences based on the language experience of 3-5 year-olds.

Annabell emulates 2.1 million neurons, interconnected through 33 billion virtual connections, is written in C++, and you can compile and run it on a desktop computer.

You can read the published paper here: A Cognitive Neural Architecture Able to Learn and Communicate through Natural Language (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0140866), and you can download the open-source software and documentation from GitHub here: annabell (https://github.com/golosio/annabell).

It seems to me that the question is not whether a conscious AI could be made, but whether we really want to make one. There are at least two major government-sponsored projects to produce human brain emulations (e.g. the EU's Blue Brain Project (http://bluebrain.epfl.ch/page-52063.html)), but they're focusing more on medical and computing research objectives than consciousness per-se. It's possible, perhaps even likely, that a low level consciousness will result from a well-trained emulation of similar structure and complexity, but I suspect a lot of dedicated time and effort would be required to get something approaching human-style consciousness, and that would come with all kinds of metaphysical (and legal?) problems about its moral and ethical status.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: tkadm30 on 23/12/2015 00:42:45
'to bend the physical laws of sentience' sounds like pseudo-profound BS - a Chopra-esque deepity - unless, of course, you can explain what these physical laws are (why not show the maths while you're at it), and how they can be 'bent'  [;)]

By that expression I meant that imagination allows one to resolve the ubiquity of consciousness using metaphysical freedom. A computer based on algorithmics have no imagination, no emotions, and no consciousness.

The pseudo-profound BS in my humble opinion is that artificial intelligence could ever create from dead molecules a conscious being.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: cheryl j on 23/12/2015 06:20:55
Dead molecules?
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: RD 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
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: tkadm30 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
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: puppypower 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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde 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 (http://www.technologyreview.com/view/537786/is-this-the-first-computational-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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr 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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: RD 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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formication).

My point being, disease & drugs are capable of distorting perceptions of reality,
demonstrating that if it were possible to hack (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_%28term%29)-into someone's nervous-system it would be possible to accurately simulate any experience , (including wetness).
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: Ethos_ 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.

Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr 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?"
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr 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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: evan_au 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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: Ethos_ 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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr 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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde 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).
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: evan_au 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 (http://www.livescience.com/47240-ibm-computer-chip-simulates-brain.html) 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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr 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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr 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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde 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?
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: evan_au 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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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?
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr 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.
 
Quote
(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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr on 26/12/2015 06:49:10
Quote
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

===
Abreviations:
TM = Turning Machine
QM = Quantum Mechanics
NN = Neuronal Network
ANN = artificial NN
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde 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.
...
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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decision_problem) - 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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde 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.
 
Quote
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.

Quote
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?
   
Quote
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...

Quote
..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.
 
Quote
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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: Ethos_ 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.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr 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?
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr on 28/12/2015 05:39:18
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.
If you could only imagine how much my codes run against my wishes/aims in the debugging stages....u
You don't even know how much 'rebellion' (well, kind of) I encounter from the pieces of software I write till I get them debugged....
Jokes aside, how can I ever know is indeed opposition and not just mechanical mindless machine steps that just fitted the context ? In other words, how would I ever know the "opposition" is in machine rather than in the eye of the beholder?

Quote
I suggest that consciousness becomes possible with AI when ... demonstrate opposition to the programmers aims.
And if my aim is: "Defy my aim"?
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: evan_au on 28/12/2015 08:36:33
Quote from: tkadm30
All living organisms are conscious entities

Let's probe the boundaries of this for individuals:

Quote from: evan_au
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.
Both bees and ants form colonies; I am not sure whether an ant nest or bee hive is conscious - how could you prove it?
Perhaps ants and bees are examples of the China Brain experiment in nature? Super-organisms with a comparable number of neurons to an individual human?

But maybe humans really define our consciousness by culture - the ability to learn faster than genetic mutations, and to transmit this learned culture between generations?
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: cheryl j on 28/12/2015 08:40:28
It seems to me there are two separate questions in this discussion. One is - if you artificially replaced or replicated every neuron in the brain, would it be conscious? (that seems obviously true if your replication is perfect.)

The other is, does a system that duplicates the function of a conscious animal, have to be conscious as well? In biology there always seems to be more than one way to skin a cat, different ways for locomotion, different engineering for flight or sensation or reproduction. Consciousness may be our OS, but I don't see why it should be the OS of every "intelligent" system.

I must admit, I only half understood much of what dlorde and fir were debating, and I hate to sound like thick headed biologist. But if I shut down all your sensory systems, your eyes, ears, smell,touch, and propriroception, how long would your consciousness function, if you were literally a brain in a jar with all the nutrients and oxygen its cells needed?
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: cheryl j on 28/12/2015 09:08:02
The interesting about consciousness and qualia is this:
Some people say, well, you know, your whole experience of reality is just an artificial construct of your brain. But the converse is equally true - there is no thought, idea, memory, or imagination in the brain that is not connected to some present or past physiological sensation - a sound or image or other sensation - even our most abstract concepts. There are no symbols or meta-representations in the brain that are not basically derived from  or coded in sensory experience.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: RD on 28/12/2015 09:34:07
how long would your consciousness function, if you were literally a brain in a jar with all the nutrients and oxygen your brain needed?

Without liver & kidneys attached a few days max. This dog's head only survived hours ... https://youtu.be/pQOZTpEApfA#t=4m27s (https://youtu.be/pQOZTpEApfA#t=4m27s)
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: cheryl j on 28/12/2015 09:55:18
how long would your consciousness function, if you were literally a brain in a jar with all the nutrients and oxygen your brain needed?

Without liver & kidneys attached a few days max. This dog's head only survived hours ... https://youtu.be/pQOZTpEApfA#t=4m27s (https://youtu.be/pQOZTpEApfA#t=4m27s)

Well, yes. I'm assuming waste management as well. My point is, whether consciousness would exist without the body and other biological attributes that may not be present in other systems.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde on 28/12/2015 17:44:27

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?
Good grief, no; this was an early proof-of-concept, a relatively tiny emulation (31,000 virtual brain cells connected by roughly 37 million synapses) of a cortical column in the rat brain somatosensory cortex - see this public resource (https://bbp.epfl.ch/nmc-portal/web/guest/welcome). It didn't include glial cells, and had no plasticity. These will come later. The videos of spontaneous activity in the model when given different calcium ion concentrations are particularly interesting.

A neuron-by-neuron reconstruction requires tracing the type and connectivity of every neuron & synapse in the piece of brain being studied. This is a monumental task - by contrast, it makes generating the computer model look easy.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde on 28/12/2015 18:12:05
The other is, does a system that duplicates the function of a conscious animal, have to be conscious as well? In biology there always seems to be more than one way to skin a cat, different ways for locomotion, different engineering for flight or sensation or reproduction. Consciousness may be our OS, but I don't see why it should be the OS of every "intelligent" system.
I agree - it depends what functions of a conscious animal you want to duplicate. If you wanted to duplicate the consciousness of the animal, you'd have to duplicate a lot of other mental functions, because it appears that consciousness efficiently delegates as much of the 'grunt work' as it can to the fast, parallel, 'subroutine' processes that manage most of our lives. But if you wanted just those functional subroutines, you wouldn't need consciousness (unless you wanted them to intelligently coordinate their activities).

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... if I shut down all your sensory systems, your eyes, ears, smell,touch, and propriroception, how long would your consciousness function, if you were literally a brain in a jar with all the nutrients and oxygen its cells needed?
I expect it would function for quite a while - people have spent hours in sensory deprivation flotation tanks without harm - although the lack of input often causes circuit noise and spontaneous activity in the CNS to be boosted into vivid hallucinations of all kinds. I couldn't even guess how long someone could endure total sensory deprivation and stay conscious and sane - I suspect it would depend a lot on the individual involved.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr on 28/12/2015 18:18:04
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A neuron-by-neuron reconstruction requires tracing the type and connectivity of every neuron & synapse in the piece of brain being studied. This is a monumental task - by contrast, it makes generating the computer model look easy.
It is possible that at the level of inter-neuronal connection the simulation became more and more accurate.

A key question is: what is the point of that simulation if the simulation itself is not a conscious state?
If the simulation itself is not a conscious state, isn't then the case that the simulation missed the main point and purpose of the real thing: to generate/supervene/trigger aware states?

If an accurate simulation of the brain function do not generate conscious states (like the natural one) isn't this a proof that conscious needs more that those patterns and changes in patterns?
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde on 28/12/2015 18:46:31
It is possible that at the level of inter-neuronal connection the simulation became more and more accurate.
I can't make sense of that - what do you mean?

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A key question is: what is the point of that simulation if the simulation itself is not a conscious state?
If the simulation itself is not a conscious state, isn't then the case that the simulation missed the main point and purpose of the real thing: to generate/supervene/trigger aware states?
The project is not aiming to simulate consciousness, it's aiming to emulate the brain for medical reasons - drug response & interaction, effects of physical and chemical damage, genetic conditions, etc. If they eventually achieve a fully active emulation of a whole brain, they may get evidence of some form of consciousness, but that's a decade or two in the future, and they'll probably be working mainly with brain subsystems.

Don't forget that the acquisition of the brain data for building the full model (scanning, tracing, etc.) will probably take several years, and may use a number of brains, so it will probably not be a single coherent snapshot of a single brain, so is unlikely to have a single coherent set of memories, sense of self, and, perhaps, consciousness - add to that the possibility that it may not be possible to emulate some memories if that data is stored at a molecular level (which I doubt, but has been suggested as a possibility). Also, the emulation will not have been through the development and experiences of a biological brain, which may be relevant, who knows...

By the time a full emulation is ready, there will be ethical considerations which may well prohibit the level and breadth of activation that could result in consciousness (e.g. in case it could suffer or die, etc). I would expect a lot of noisy debate about this, from ethical campaigners and medical researchers concerned with consciousness.

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If an accurate simulation of the brain function do not generate conscious states (like the natural one) isn't this a proof that conscious needs more that those patterns and changes in patterns?
What patterns? It would (obviously) be a proof that it isn't an accurate emulation.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: Ethos_ on 28/12/2015 19:19:38

If you could only imagine how much my codes run against my wishes/aims in the debugging stages....u
You don't even know how much 'rebellion' (well, kind of)


This statement; "well, kind of" identifies the very important difference between "rebellion" and "malfunction". When I use the term; "rebellion", it should be noted that this word carries with it the intent to go ones own way by resisting external supervision. This rebellion can be observed in even the youngest of children and is evidence of their developing personality. We should take special notice if such behavior is ever noticed within computer activity. If such behavior is ever observed, it may signal the entering into an age of "Artificial Intelligence".
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: cheryl j on 28/12/2015 19:28:33
I agree - it depends what functions of a conscious animal you want to duplicate. If you wanted to duplicate the consciousness of the animal, you'd have to duplicate a lot of other mental functions, because it appears that consciousness efficiently delegates as much of the 'grunt work' as it can to the fast, parallel, 'subroutine' processes that manage most of our lives. But if you wanted just those functional subroutines, you wouldn't need consciousness (unless you wanted them to intelligently coordinate their activities).

Ramachandran thought that some circuits in the brain were conscious ones and others weren't and we should study them to find out what the difference is. But more recently Stanislas Dehaene found that isn't true, that some circuits can operate either way, effectively changing behavior above or below reportable awareness, suggesting that more is different, or there is an emergent aspect.
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I expect it would function for quite a while - people have spent hours in sensory deprivation flotation tanks without harm - although the lack of input often causes noise and spontaneous activity in the CNS to be boosted into vivid hallucinations of all kinds. I couldn't even guess how long someone could endure total sensory deprivation and stay conscious and sane - I suspect it would depend a lot on the individual involved.

With sensory deprivation, there are still internal sensory experiences and feed back - pain or comfort, temperature, hunger, etc. But even if we allow for those, I often wonder what consciousness is like to a full term fetus or newborn before it has had the opportunity to code experience in a kind of sensory language. Qualia is tightly linked to consciousness by both neuroscientists and philosophers. Every form of qualia seems to be sensory based, as far as I know. Mathematical relationships might be the most "qualia-less" conscious process I can come up with, but not entirely (and not surprisingly, very difficult for most humans.)
 
Maybe you could artificially induce the experience of "redness" in a blind from birth person. I could be wrong about all of this and have probably contradicted myself several times in this post. What interests me is the assumption some times made that any system, once it reaches a certain level of complexity or intelligence, will cause consciousness to "poof" into existence.

Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: puppypower on 28/12/2015 20:47:46
Humans are the only critter on earth that discusses consciousness. My dog lives in the moment and he has no opinion on this matter. He won't even begin the discussion. What we call  consciousness, common to many forms of life, like my dog, is biased by being questioned and interpreted by humans.

As a scenario, say I was to enter a room where consciousness was being discussed by a group of humans. Being the experimental prankster I am, I throw a beehive of angry bees into the room. As soon as everyone becomes aware of the bees, the discussion of consciousness would end. Now everyone will need to live in the moment to deal with the bees. In the moment, one is conscious of the bees, just like my dog, but nobody, is consciously discussing the nature of consciousness. What has changed?

Say you could train yourself to be able to think about the nature of consciousness, while also needing to live in the moment to fight off the bees. You continue the discussion, as you fight off the bees and feel the stings. In this case, you would become both the observer and the experiment, with your natural reaction living in the moment, making you dive through the open window, onto the lawn. You are amazed that you would do that from the POV of the observer.

In the first scenario one is conscious of one or the other, but not both at the same time. While in the second scenario one is able to observe yourself in the moment, in the context of discussing consciousness. This is unique POV since it allows you to gain internal data that one cannot see from the outside observing in the third person. This adds more variables to the equation.

There are two centers of consciousness, with the contemplation coming from the newer ego center (language dependent) while the in the moment aspect is closer to animal conscious and the inner self (faster sensory language). Doing one or the other is similar to only being able to see one side of a coin at a time. Even though a coin has two sides, the other side is hidden from view. We can flip the coin to see each side, but we can only see one side at a time. One may jump through the window but only later can one appreciate what just happened.

In the scenario of being both the observer and the experiment, this allows you see both sides of the coin, at the same time, so one can compare these side by side. This can be done with a mirror. This discussion would more interesting if there were more people who know how to use the mirror to see both sides, side-by-side; individual and collective.

Let me give one example. Say we had one person, from each of all the cultural languages of the world; roughly 6500 languages. What I will do is place a cat on a table in the center for all to see. Everyone will see the same cat based on a natural visual language of color and texture. But since each person speaks a different language, each may have a different sound for what they see. The visual language is common to all while the verbal is unique to each.

Visual language is part of the collective inner self, while learned cultural language is connected to the ego. I cannot convey what I see, in my native tongue, to anyone else speaking the other languages. This is analogous to why consciousness is never pinned down. It is being explained in a way that is not collective but unique to each; ego. But if we had a picture line-up of cats, all should be able to point to the picture of the subject cat using the universal visual language, without any words spoken, yet all will have a meeting of the minds.

Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr on 28/12/2015 22:51:41
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...  add to that the possibility that it may not be possible to emulate some memories if that data is stored at a molecular level (which I doubt, but has been suggested as a possibility).
Yes, pretty much this is what I was saying, certain aspects of the functions of the brain may not be possible to simulate with  a Turning Machine. (the TM will get stuck into an infinite loop with an undecidable problem (for its computing model) )

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By the time a full emulation is ready, there will be ethical considerations which may well prohibit the level and breadth of activation that could result in consciousness (e.g. in case it could suffer or die, etc). I would expect a lot of noisy debate about this, from ethical campaigners and medical researchers concerned with consciousness.
Noisy? If that simulation is conscious and develop o sense of its own self (like us),then what right do we have to turn it off?  (or on?)
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde on 28/12/2015 23:33:01
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...  add to that the possibility that it may not be possible to emulate some memories if that data is stored at a molecular level (which I doubt, but has been suggested as a possibility).
Yes, pretty much this is what I was saying, certain aspects of the functions of the brain may not be possible to simulate with  a Turning Machine. (the TM will get stuck into an infinite loop with an undecidable problem (for its computing model) )
No, that's not what I'm saying - I disagree with that for the reasons previously explained (and yet to be countered - how about it?). I'm saying that there may be relevant features at a molecular level that a cellular-level scan cannot discriminate; i.e. stuff too small to get data on for inclusion in the emulation. I doubt it, but it's possible.

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By the time a full emulation is ready, there will be ethical considerations which may well prohibit the level and breadth of activation that could result in consciousness (e.g. in case it could suffer or die, etc). I would expect a lot of noisy debate about this, from ethical campaigners and medical researchers concerned with consciousness.
Noisy? If that simulation is conscious and develop o sense of its own self (like us),then what right do we have to turn it off?  (or on?)
Again, you misread what I said - I'm saying that if it is considered possible that, if fully activated, the emulation might have some form of consciousness, there would be ethical arguments that it should not be fully activated, so that it can't become conscious. But naturally, once Pandora's box is opened, it will happen eventually.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde on 29/12/2015 00:37:58
With sensory deprivation, there are still internal sensory experiences and feed back - pain or comfort, temperature, hunger, etc. But even if we allow for those, I often wonder what consciousness is like to a full term fetus or newborn before it has had the opportunity to code experience in a kind of sensory language.
Yes, I think it's questionable whether a newborn is conscious in a recognisable way; many of the features we associate with  consciousness, such as sense of identity and self, seem to take a while to develop. I'd guess there is a basic awareness and the potential for more sophisticated consciousness that begins to develop from birth. This Scientific American article (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/when-does-consciousness-arise/) discusses it without committing...

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Qualia is tightly linked to consciousness by both neuroscientists and philosophers. Every form of qualia seems to be sensory based, as far as I know. Mathematical relationships might be the most "qualia-less" conscious process I can come up with, but not entirely (and not surprisingly, very difficult for most humans.)
I don't know; I'm inclined to think too much is made of the 'mystery' of qualia. They're the subjective representation of perceptions - which have to be represented internally somehow to be useful. An objective view simply cannot encompass the subjective view, how it is to actually be the active brain under consideration.
 
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Maybe you could artificially induce the experience of "redness" in a blind from birth person.
Possibly, if the visual cortex  was functional; As I understand it, the visual cortex can be partially recruited to provide a visual interpretation of other senses when there's no visual stimulation... it would be an interesting experiment. This article (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2636157/) may provide a clue.

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What interests me is the assumption some times made that any system, once it reaches a certain level of complexity or intelligence, will cause consciousness to "poof" into existence.
I'm extremely sceptical about this; all the research I've seen suggests that consciousness - as we know it - requires a number of specific neural structures and connectivity; for example, brain damage in specific areas affects consciousness in consistent ways, and it seems that a deep brain structure (the claustrum) modulates conscious activity to the point that it can act as an 'on/off switch' (see New Scientist (https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22329762-700-consciousness-on-off-switch-discovered-deep-in-brain)). This implies that it's not just a matter of complexity alone, but of specific neural circuitry. The fact that the claustrum is effectively subcortical brain structure, suggests that it has been around a long time in evolutionary terms (it has been found in some other animals). I'd like to know more about it...
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: cheryl j on 29/12/2015 18:36:23


By that expression I meant that imagination allows one to resolve the ubiquity of consciousness using metaphysical freedom. A computer based on algorithmics have no imagination, no emotions, and no consciousness.

The pseudo-profound BS in my humble opinion is that artificial intelligence could ever create from dead molecules a conscious being.
As near as I can tell, you haven't really explained what is missing from "dead molecles" that somehow causes them to behave differently in living things or conscious animals. What is this missing stuff "made of" and if it's not made of anything, how does it interact or effect matter? How does something like "imagination" push molecules or atoms around inside the brain, causing us to make one kind of choice or another and then act on it?

Abstract concepts like, say, the "ego" (or even the "self")  might arguably be used as a kind of shorthand way of referring to certain processes without getting bogged down by a lot of irrelevant detail. At the same time, it's that same avoidance of mechanistic detail that allows a lot of vague BS in the door.

I understand that reductionism isn't the solution to every problem, and you can't deduce the traffic patterns of Los Angelos by examining engine parts, hoses, and spark plugs. But when a theory or model glaringly lacks any reductionist detail, or consistent traits and processes that are verifiable by others, it almost always slides into untestable mysticism.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: tkadm30 on 29/12/2015 20:39:41
As near as I can tell, you haven't really explained what is missing from "dead molecles" that somehow causes them to behave differently in living things or conscious animals. What is this missing stuff "made of" and if it's not made of anything, how does it interact or effect matter? How does something like "imagination" push molecules or atoms around inside the brain, causing us to make one kind of choice or another and then act on it?

Inanimate matter (dead molecules) like a computer may be artificially assembled to communicate with the external environment, however its intelligence is limited to a software mode of consciousness. Imagination and free will are metaphysical aspects of consciousness, which may be a intrinsic feature of living organisms.

Life comes from life. Consciousness is unconditioned and primitive for all living organisms. A machine has no metaphysical freedom to choose between good and bad based on it's own will. Artificial intelligence is therefore limited by a external teleology were its purpose is programmed by the designer.

Otherwise, if you assume that consciousness may be made from dead molecules, what is limiting humans to replace free will and imagination with a computer-assisted software ? Can artificial intelligence promote a more "human-like" consciousness ? 

Regards,

tkadm30
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde on 30/12/2015 00:53:08
Inanimate matter (dead molecules) like a computer may be artificially assembled to communicate with the external environment, however its intelligence is limited to a software mode of consciousness. Imagination and free will are metaphysical aspects of consciousness, which may be a intrinsic feature of living organisms.
You still aren't answering the question. You are made from molecules - food molecules your mother ate and food molecules you ate. They're inanimate combinations of atoms, just like the atoms that make up molecules in computers, molecules that you call 'dead'. Are you suggesting there are 'living' molecules? If so, which ones? If not, when do the 'dead' molecules you eat become living?

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... if you assume that consciousness may be made from dead molecules, what is limiting humans to replace free will and imagination with a computer-assisted software ?
You can give computers imagination of sorts - that's been done; as for free will, you'll have to provide a coherent definition of free will before I can say if computers could have it. But why (or how) would it 'replace' human free will and imagination?

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Can artificial intelligence promote a more "human-like" consciousness ?
It might be possible to come close - to have an artificial human-like consciousness, or even better it in some (as yet undefined) way, but more 'human-like' than what - other animals?

Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: tkadm30 on 30/12/2015 11:40:21
You still aren't answering the question. You are made from molecules - food molecules your mother ate and food molecules you ate. They're inanimate combinations of atoms, just like the atoms that make up molecules in computers, molecules that you call 'dead'. Are you suggesting there are 'living' molecules? If so, which ones? If not, when do the 'dead' molecules you eat become living?

Life is essentially a cognitive act. A DNA molecule by itself is a chemically inert or dead molecule. Conscious organisms are 'living molecules'.

http://natureinstitute.org/txt/st/org/exc_dead_dna1.htm

http://www.eoht.info/page/living+molecule

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You can give computers imagination of sorts - that's been done; as for free will, you'll have to provide a coherent definition of free will before I can say if computers could have it. But why (or how) would it 'replace' human free will and imagination?

I don't pretend its possible to replace consciousness by artificial intelligence. That's precisely why I believe artificial intelligence has no intrinsic purpose or function to accomplish; Artificial intelligence purpose is defined by its designer and not from biogenesis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biogenesis
   
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde on 30/12/2015 13:17:12
Life is essentially a cognitive act.
That's not a use of 'cognitive' that I recognise. Define what you mean by 'cognitive' in this context. Life is generally defined in terms of an assembly of (biochemical) processes that together satisfy certain broad functional criteria (homeostasis, growth, reproduction, death, etc).

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A DNA molecule by itself is a chemically inert or dead molecule.
It's probably better not use the term 'dead' for 'chemically inert', it's likely to cause confusion. If you mean chemically inert, say chemically inert. Molecules that are not chemically inert, i.e. chemically (re)active molecules, are not 'living' molecules.

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Conscious organisms are 'living molecules'.
Ah, no. Conscious organisms are (currently) living collections of molecules. See the difference? 'Living' applies to the properties of the collection, the result of the interactions between molecules, not the individual molecules; just as 'wet' applies to the interactions of a collection of water molecules, not to individual water molecules.

You might find a basic course in biology and biochemistry helpful.

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I don't pretend its possible to replace consciousness by artificial intelligence.
I don't think anyone suggested that. You asked, "what is limiting humans to replace free will and imagination with a computer-assisted software?"; I assumed it was a question.

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That's precisely why I believe artificial intelligence has no intrinsic purpose or function to accomplish; Artificial intelligence purpose is defined by its designer and not from biogenesis.
That's reasonable enough, although it suggests biological organisms have some intrinsic purpose or function to accomplish, which is a debatable philosophical issue.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: tkadm30 on 06/01/2016 11:46:59
That's not a use of 'cognitive' that I recognise. Define what you mean by 'cognitive' in this context. Life is generally defined in terms of an assembly of (biochemical) processes that together satisfy certain broad functional criteria (homeostasis, growth, reproduction, death, etc).

Life is intrinsic conscious activity; (Consciousness and life are unifying the mind/body states)

Cognitive processes like consciousness exists beyond the brain; (The brain is not the source of consciousness)

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=65204.0
 

Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: puppypower on 06/01/2016 13:22:44
At a molecular level, consciousness is connected to the principles of energy and entropy. Neurons, like most cells, pump and exchange sodium and potassium cations. The segregation of these two cations will occur with the sodium ions accumulating on the outside, while the potassium ions will accumulate on the inside. This creates a dual concentration gradient. Left to their own devices, these two cations would like to blend to increase entropy; 2nd law. However, the cell/neuron is using energy to purposely separate the cations, lowering the cationic entropy at the membrane.

The potassium cation's impact on water is chaotropic; create disorder in water. The result is some of the potassium can diffuse through the membrane's water, to the outside, trying to increase system entropy. The sodium cations are kosmotropic and create order in water which makes the water cage up, making it harder for the sodium ions to migrate in via the cell membrane water.

The net affect of the net potassium migration outside, adds extra positive charge on the outside of the membrane and less positive on the inside of the membrane, thereby creating a membrane potential; plus out and minus in, which defines an energy potential which balances the entropy potential. The net result is an energy and entropy potential forms in the membrane, that is opposite to inanimate matter. The energy is higher and the entropy is lower, compared to being left alone.

Firing of neurons is a natural solution that helps lower the dual potential, so energy and entropy are more in line with inanimate matter. Firing will lower entropy by allowing the cations an opening in the membrane for blending, while also lowering the membrane potential. In other words, if the neuron kept building this dual potential, contrary to the stability of inanimate matter, it is just a matter of time until natural means will appear to reverse and shift the membrane more in line with the needs of universal laws of thermodynamics. All our sensory systems fire neurons and are therefore natural triggers from the universe (environment) to help reverse the dual potential.

The axon is the way a single neuron can release extra sodium ions to help restore the dual potential. While the dendrite is the way a single neuron can be induced in the direction of lower energy and higher entropy; how they fire. The building of memory is reflected in the neuron and the universe (environment) pushing and pulling. This push and pull builds axon and dendrites, with the firing helping the natural laws of energy and entropy. But, the neurons works hard to reverse this and reset the potentials.

As we build up branching, the dissipation of the dual potential is not longer based on a single neuron, but rather the energy and entropy potential is dissipated among a wide range of neurons. This is reflected in neural hierarchy from cerebral to core to brain stem, for example. The other result is our memory will change over time due the needs of universal energy and entropy, in the light of distributed dissipation and the neuron continuing to reset the potential. This flux of change is interpreted as consciousness. Unlike a computer that has to follow programming, the brain is designed to increase entropy for spontaneous changes; new interpretation.

In terms of the dual centers of consciousness, the inner self and ego, the ego by having will power and choice, is a vehicle for the universal side of the dual potential, in that it is designed; choice, to increase entropy in the brain. The ego appeared due to the human brain building the dual potential; neurons, and needing a stronger outlet.

Where modern biology goes wrong is they always underestimate the importance of water as the copartner in life and consciousness. The dual potential of neurons is based on the water side, yet they try to equate this to the organic side, which is more reactionary to the potential in the water.

What the water side also brings is information can be transferred via the hydrogen bonding matrix. This is the fastest information transfer in the cell, being 10 times faster that ionic signals. Water is like the concierge that reaches the goal first, setting the stage for when the ions appear with the capacitance for change. The water allows new paths to form based on a more global aqueous POV, which also includes the needs of the organic and organic interfaces with water. This translates ions to organic structuring.
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: RD on 06/01/2016 14:36:20
Artificial intelligence is therefore limited by a external teleology were its purpose is programmed by the designer.

Incorrect, see ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_computation
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: dlorde on 06/01/2016 15:52:29
This flux of change is interpreted as consciousness.
Interpreted by what?

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Unlike a computer that has to follow programming, the brain is designed to increase entropy for spontaneous changes; new interpretation.
As has already been mentioned, computers can be programmed to emulate neural networks, so that, at the network level, they can behave and learn much as biological neural networks do  - i.e. without programming.

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What the water side also brings is information can be transferred via the hydrogen bonding matrix. This is the fastest information transfer in the cell, being 10 times faster that ionic signals. Water is like the concierge that reaches the goal first, setting the stage for when the ions appear with the capacitance for change. The water allows new paths to form based on a more global aqueous POV, which also includes the needs of the organic and organic interfaces with water. This translates ions to organic structuring.
Is there evidence that this has a significant influence on brain functioning? Do you have any references for it (this being a science site and all)?
Title: Re: Is consciousness a metaphysical experience of reality?
Post by: flr on 06/01/2016 18:42:44
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As has already been mentioned, computers can be programmed to emulate neural networks, so that, at the network level, they can behave and learn much as biological neural networks do  - i.e. without programming.

But to claim that those NN are conscious is like claiming a printed photo of a person is conscious as well because of the accuracy of the printed picture.