[ExI] [Exl] Digital Consciousness

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sun May 5 06:54:27 UTC 2013

On Sat, May 4, 2013 at 8:53 PM, Gordon <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:

>> But, what if in a few years some researchers produce implants capable
>> of correcting cortical blindness, caused by damage to the occipital
>> cortex?
> Digital implants can certainly stimulate the experience of qualia in the
> NCC, but so too can electrical shocks or any other external stimulus. I do
> not believe such implants can themselves have or embody conscious experience
> of qualia.

### Let me repeat the question again: Where would you place the neural
substrate of color qualia in the human whose cortical blindness were
to be corrected by a digital signal processing implant reprising the
information processing that normally occurs in the subcortical and
cortical vision centers? Just to make things interesting, the implant
substitues for calcarine cortex, as well as parts of the fusiform,
lingual, temporal and some parietal gyri.

Please be explicit; merely saying that an implant does not embody
qualia is not enough here.

You might consider reading the following:


Note following quote:

"Numerous psychophysical and physiological evidence indicates that
neural representations are not restricted to circumscribed brain
regions but involve almost the entire cortex. A clear border between
sensory and perceptual processing is thus difficult to find and may
depend on experimental and stimulus details."

This means that the substrate of qualia involves all of the cortex
(including about 20% of V1 neurons in Logothetis' monkey experiments).
Therefore an implant that substitutes for any part of the cortex while
maintaing unchanged behavioral and neurophysiological properties of
the remaining cortex must by necessity substitute functionally for a
part of the qualia substrate. In other words, it embodies whatever
computations are needed and sufficient for the existence of qualia.

So, in case you were tempted to repeat that a digital implant as
described does not embody qualia but the remaining cortex does, you
would have to explain how the richness of qualia reported by the
patient with implant is not diminished despite the absence of most of
the sensory processing circuitry that normally is indispensable for
qualia. How can a conscious human being claim to see normally, pass
all the vision tests that other humans do, indicating the same amount
of qualia, and yet have much less of the wetware you claim to be
indispensable for qualia?

Riddle me this: If the qualia reported by the patient are not embodied
in the implant (as you say) and they are not embodied in the patient's
brain (because parts of it are gone), where are they?


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