[ExI] Digital Consciousness

Ben Zaiboc bbenzai at yahoo.com
Thu May 2 14:41:27 UTC 2013

Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at canonizer.com> wrote:

>>> In this idealized theoretical world, it is glutamate that
>>> has a redness quality.  And this glutamate behaves
>>> the way it does, because of this redness quality.  ...

>>> That?s at least how I think about it.  Does this help
>>> you guys at all?

>>Yes, it helps enormously.

>(Ben, thanks for this.  I literally feel to my knees, and cried, when I
read this.)

Oh, dear, I think you rather missed the point.
What was important was what I wrote directly underneath that.  I'm trying to point out that saying something like "glutamate has a redness quality" /makes no sense at all/ (you don't actually think that a particular cog in a clock is the one that knows the time, do you?).

"Redness" is not a quality that a thing possesses, it's a conceptual category that our minds create after many experiences involving visual inputs.  You could say that it's something we invent.  Just like we invent other useful categories to group together the Oxford English Dictionary, Ringworld Engineers, The God Delusion, The Collected Works of Shakespeare, German for Dummies, Freakonomics, Mind Children, etc., or Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Ostrich, Venison, and so on.  We make up huge numbers of these categories throughout our lives, and the interesting question is not "does my 'bus' category feel the same as yours, when we both see a bus?", but: "How do we do it?".  Once we know that, we can build other systems that do it too, and they will then create their own categories, and thereby know what books are.  And what red is.

>>.Thankfully, it looks like lots of people are starting to get it.  Spike is
clearly getting it.

Spike wrote:
> Damn, I'm slow.  It took me at least a dozen years to figure out what this
concept is about.

Spike, don't feel bad.  Many people still don't get Phlogiston, or the Aether.

In my opinion, Qualia, as actual 'things that exist', come under the category of "not even wrong".  I'm not saying that the word doesn't mean anything, because obviously it means what each person using it wants it to mean, but that's part of the problem.  It can't be properly defined, so it means far too many things.  What it means to me is worlds away from what it appears to mean to Brent, for example.  When trying to figure out how minds work, they are simply Not Useful.

Ben Zaiboc

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