[ExI] Best metric for gauging progress towards the singularity?

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at canonizer.com
Sun Sep 26 23:00:00 UTC 2010

Hi Omar,

On 9/26/2010 3:09 PM, Omar Rahman wrote:
> Brent,
>> Very interesting topic.  About the best way I have of thinking about
>> things is critical milestones such as:
>> 1.    Scientific discovery of how the ineffable phenomenal qualities of
>> consciousness relate to their neural correlates.   Ultimately this will
>> lead to conscious effing of the ineffable, unification and expansion of
>> our phenomenal conscious minds.  It will allow us to realize what we, or
>> our phenomenal 'spirits' are (as defined and predicted in the expert
>> consensus 'Representational Qualia Theory' camp here
>> http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/88/6 )  Of course, once we objectively
>> discover the phenomenal nature of reality and how our knowledge of
>> ourselves is represented by such, our conscious knowledge of ourselves
>> will finally be able to phenomenally escape from the mortal spirit veil
>> of perception prison walls that are our skull.  Of course, achieving
>> this, as predicted by this expert consensus camp, solves most all of our
>> problems from mortality to still being stuck with primitive animalistic,
>> slow static, unable to really communicate minds (the cause of war and
>> all other problems).
> Qualia seem to be useful as a sort of algorithm that run the 
> background processes of the brainOS.

I'm in the camp that believes thinking of qualia as an 'algorithm' is 
thinking about it completely and categorically in the wrong way.

Algorithms and information must be instantiated and run on something 
physical.  Information theory mandates that if you know something, there 
must be something that is that knowledge.  An algorithm can be 
represented by something that, by design, doesn't mater what it is 
represented with  (today's computers - it only matters that whatever is 
doing the representation be interpreted properly).  Or, it can be 
represented by something that does matter what it is represented with, 
and what it is like (conscious knowledge).  Either one can run 'algorithms'.

My brain may represent knowledge of 650 nm light with your blue.  With 
that I could be algorithmically just as smart as you.  But there is 
nothing 'algorithmic' in saying my brain represents red with your blue, 
and that what it is like for me is different than what it is like for you.

> Whether the consciousness is an app running on top of that framework 
> or is just a product of the all the qualia interpreting each other is 
> another question. (A very interesting one!) About effing the ineffable 
> I think it will be possible but require work to attain that experience 
> as the qualia of one individual will be hard to integrate into the 
> perceptual system of another. In fact qualia probably change over time 
> in an individual.
> What do you say to this scenario: The Wine Taster
> A person drinks wine with meals and socially. This person enjoys it, 
> and likes some wines but not others. One day they decide to go to some 
> wine tasting classes. There the instructor/sommelier introduces the 
> students to various wines and points out the flavors. Some of the 
> students have the taste buds to sense these flavors, and some don't. 
> Some of them have the interest in the experience to learn to savor the 
> differences, and some don't. In the end some develop qualia for wine 
> tasting. From this example it would seem that qualia generally exist 
> as potential and can be learned, and perhaps forgotten.
> The ability to develop qualia more directly, perhaps but doing 
> simultaneous brain scans of two (or more) people wile they think of 
> blue and then stimulating/anesthetizing the brains of the others so 
> that their 'blue' patterns resembled each other more closely. This 
> could be done in a many to many experiment to get a consensus 'blue' 
> or someone could be a 'blue' leader and the other would emulate the 
> leader.

Thinking of blue and experiencing blue are two very different things.  
Recalling blue, is much less solid / phenomenal than the real thing.  
Thinking of blue is voluntary, while experiencing blue, under normal 
circumstances is not.

Sure, some people may not yet have the proper set up in their brain, or 
they may still be missing the right stuff, to experience, be interested 
in, have the ability to remember... or whatever my blue.  But, if I can 
fix that, configure the right stuff, and reliably eff to you, the same 
experience, it could be something like:  "Wow, I know what your blue is 
now - I've never experienced that before".

I'm in the camp that believes blue will eternally be blue, and if and 
only if you have the right stuff, anyone will experience it - reliably 
the same - forever - whether you use it to represent 500 or 650 nm light 
or anything else.

>> 2.    When the last person dies.  (the mortality rate finally reaches 0)
> For a moment I thought you were talking about the total annihilation 
> of our species as a metric for progress.......then I realized you were 
> talking about physical immortality or some sort of immortality. I 
> think we will always be faced with scarcity of resources unless we 
> engineer ourselves to not need/want so much...and if we could engineer 
> our needs away we probably won't 'need' to exist. Once people upload 
> or some sort of AI emerges their requirements for resources will 
> probably expand right along with their understanding of the universe 
> and their ambitions. Add into that the potential for a population 
> explosion of digital entities and war and death seem likely to remain 
> with us.

The amount of resources we have access to continues to growing 
exponentially.  Even when we have the resources of billions of galaxies 
completely in our control, as you point out, that still won't be 
enough.  But I think such will be a little better than our current 

>> 3.    Every  human and memory is finally restored and 'resurected'.
>> Who knows how long each of these will take.  Many probably doubt the
>> possibility of ever achieving  number 3.  But I bet we are on the virge
>> of number one, which I believe will be the greatest world changing
>> scientific achievement of all time.  The biggest problem we are facing,
>> is communicating what the expert consensus already knows (as is being
>> proved by the consciousness survey project at canonizer.com 
>> <http://canonizer.com/>), to
>> everyone else and the real nuts and bolts researchers looking at the
>> neurons and funding the research of such.
>> Looking forward to finding out more about what you think of all such.
>> Brent Allsop
> I read your story "1229 Years After Titanic", which has a sentiment of 
> owing a debt to past generations which I share.

Thanks!  I'm trying to measure for how much consensus there is on 
this.   Especially amongst any who might disagree.  Would you (or 
anyone) be willing to participate in the survey on this here? 
http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/56 .

> Number 3 would only become possible if we discovered something new 
> about the nature of time, or if we could trace the history of an atom 
> and then trace the history of all the atoms in the Earth in all their 
> combinations. Maybe a post-singularity entity will do this, maybe this 
> is just plain impossible.

Exactly.  Nobody can ever assert that anything is absolutely 
impossible.  There is always hope, and faith that we can always work and 
at least forever successfully get closer to such.

Great Comments!

Brent Allsop

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