[ExI] Digital Consciousness .

spike spike at rainier66.com
Thu May 2 15:52:06 UTC 2013

>... On Behalf Of Eugen Leitl
Subject: Re: [ExI] Digital Consciousness .

On Thu, May 02, 2013 at 06:57:54AM -0700, spike wrote:

>>... Kurzweil's latest book is a total mind blower.  My CPU has so many 
> qualia flying at it from all directions from reading that, I consider 
> it the best book I have read in years.  I am currently coding up an 
> idea he mentions in there about cellular automata.  spike

>...What's the beef with CAs in that context?  Eugen

OK granted it isn't deep or profound.  But I liked his explanation of how
there are patterns in seeming chaos that the human mind can easily
recognize, but cannot be derived any other way than to go thru stepwise
every stage in series.  Consider the passage about Wolfram's 255 rules game,
which is about 2/3 thru the book (I don't have a page number and the book is
in my car.)  There is no way to calculate line 70 of that pattern without
calculating every previous line, and once we do, order emerges from chaos.

This whole notion ties in with our qualia discussion, sorta.  I think of
Kurzweil/Wolframs CA as a chain reaction of sorts.  Consider a chain
reaction of qualia that takes place in the brain.  For instance a familiar
old song that plenty of people here know or have heard assuming you are old
enough.  I can give you just a few words, and it creates a chain reaction:

No New Year's Day...  to celebrate...
No chocolate covered candy hearts to give away...

That's all I need to create a cascade of pseudo-audio thoughts that reminds
one of a breezy tune from Stevie Wonder with a chorus of:

I just called... to say... etc.

For the younger set:


Did it work?  Is that tune now stuck in your head?  OK good, then that makes
my point.  When we know a song, we can't just pull out the 70th word or even
just take up anywhere in a song, even though we know the song well.  It is
stored somehow as a neuronal chain reaction.  Our thoughts are chain
reactions, that take place in some nearly inexplicable and (the
religionistas might say) miraculous neuronal chain reaction, one in which we
struggle to understand at the most basic level: a neuron has a bunch of
inputs and one branching output.  Under certain conditions a neuron fires,
that fires certain others and so on, until a thought happens, or a song.
Get enough random connections and somehow order emerges from chaos.
(Totally KEWALLL!  Ain't it fun to be human?  I am really enjoying myself in
here in this bony orb with all those neuronal chain reactions.)

That Wolfram 0-255 passage causes me to think this connectome project might
somehow result in something like emergent order from a bunch of completely
deterministic individually-understandable component reactions.

All that being said, I read back over what I just wrote and recognize that
it is chaotic and nearly incomprehensible, so let me summarize thus:
Kurzweil's brief mention of Wolfram's rather simple idea has caused a
cascade of subsequent ideas in my mind, just as my mentioning the first
couple lines of the tune above caused it to get stuck in your ear, and now
you are probably humming that right now and can't stop, ja?


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list