[ExI] Redness comes from Context? Was Re: Digital Consciousness

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at canonizer.com
Mon May 6 02:23:47 UTC 2013

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the clarifications.

You say we won't be able to tell, from our frame of reference, what the 
redness in some other frame, like a static book description, is like.  
So, could I imply from this, that we will be able to eff the ineffable, 
between brains?  In other words, just like I can know what redness in my 
right hemisphere is like, and how it is different than greenness in my 
left hemisphere, might we some day know as sure, how another person's 
elemental redness quale is or isn't like our own?


On 5/5/2013 4:05 PM, Mike Perry wrote:
> At 19:46 2013-05-04, Brent Allsop wrote:
>> [...]
>> Mike Perry (I CC:ed him to pull him into this conversation) indicated 
>> qualities have a "context".  In other words, he indicated that a set 
>> of bits fully describing the brain, while it was experiencing 
>> 'redness' was written down in a book, from our perspective, reading 
>> the static book, would not have a redness quality.  But, from the 
>> perspective of the world described, in the book, or from this 
>> different 'context', it would have a redness quality.
> "A set of bits fully describing the brain" in effect *is* the brain, 
> *from the "context" (I like to call it a "frame of reference") in 
> which it is embedded. This set of bits could describe state changes in 
> that brain over time. In effect this "brain" (just a static record to 
> us) can be thought of as being a conscious system *relative to its own 
> frame of reference*. Relative to that it might indeed be perceiving 
> red. But this frame of reference in effect is modeling the passage of 
> time as well as the perceptions in the brain over this time interval. 
> (And I assume this modeling can occur at the quantum level, a "black 
> box" level that should be fully capable of representing consciousness 
> whatever that may be. A simulation of consciousness at the quantum 
> level, if done in our space-time frame of reference, would necessarily 
> in my view embody true consciousness or at least no one could prove 
> otherwise. A "simulation" done by way of a static record that just 
> recorded all the state changes would not embody consciousness from our 
> perspective, that is to say, from our frame of reference or "context," 
> but would do so from the frame of reference defined by the record. The 
> record could in fact record state changes over a volume of spacetime 
> that included but was not limited to just the brain by itself, etc.)
>> [...]it seems to me that you [...] think that a redness quality is 
>> all about context.  If something, no matter what it is, is in the 
>> right context, it then has [a redness quality], or at least a redness 
>> quality will emerge from it.
> For me the "context" just means you have a representation of a brain 
> that is experiencing redness. I don't see that there is a problem with 
> that.
>> [...]
>> So, if I have all that right, let me walk through a certain 
>> perception scenario, and tell me if I'm still on the right track. 
>> Let's say we want to perceive 2 'red' objects.  A strawberry, and a 
>> pool ball, painted with lead based 'red' paint.  Now, for 
>> experimental purposes, we can't see the light reflected off these 
>> guys, directly.  We have t[w]o camera/TV systems that invert red and 
>> green signals.  The first one, can see the two object[s], and 
>> produces "green objects" on it's screen, converting the 650 NM light 
>> int 700 NM light.  Then a second system can 'see' this inverted image 
>> on that first screen, and re invert the red green signal, producing a 
>> properly colored image of a strawberry, and a pool ball, reflecting 
>> 650 or red light.  It is our eyes that see this second correctly 
>> colored screen.  Resulting in our brain producing something with a 
>> redness quality, as it's knowledge of the two 'red' items - the final 
>> result of the entire perception process.
>> So, it seems to me that, from the 'context', both the strawberry, and 
>> the pool ball are 'red'.
> I don't think this follows. The "context" you talk about doesn't seem 
> to contain a brain that perceives. If you include that (and the brain 
> that perceives exhibits certain state changes etc.) then it can be 
> said that red is perceived.
>>   Also the 650NM light reflecting off both of them also, from the 
>> context, is 'red'.
> Again, you've left out any brain that perceives. That is where "red" 
> is perceived, not somewhere else.
>>  And also, the inverted green or 700NM light, after the first 
>> inverter, because of the context, is also now 'red', and the same is 
>> true for every representation all the way to the final knowledge of 
>> such, produced in our brain.
>> So, finally, do you guys see the terrible mistake I think you guys 
>> are making by thinking qualia can 'arise' from anything, as long as 
>> it has the right 'context'?
> Again, you misunderstand my notion of "context" which again I call a 
> "frame of reference." Only brains perceive red so the frame of 
> reference must include a representation of a brain that perceives red 
> within it or it cannot be said that "perception of red" is embodied or 
> embedded within the system. However, overall, "perception of red" 
> *can* be embodied (in my view) in a pile of bits irrespective of how 
> one may "interpret" them, so long as there exists a way to reasonably 
> interpret them as a brain that perceives red. (Are all such "ways of 
> interpreting" completely arbitrary and thus meaningless? NO! Because 
> arbitrary interpretations would completely ignore the complexity 
> issue. Thus there are preferred ways of interpreting and it does make 
> sense to call some ways of interpreting reasonable and others not. A 
> movie if reasonably encoded would more reasonably be interpreted as a 
> movie than being no different than just a random string of 
> high-complexity gibberish, or being some other, totally diffferent 
> movie. A longer discussion of this point is called for but I will move 
> on in the interest of brevity.)
>> Other than the final result of the perception process, the only thing 
>> that really has any redness quality, is our knowledge.  And all of 
>> the other red and green light, only is 'red' because we think of them 
>> as having such a quality.  Obviously, the red light, the green light, 
>> nor does anything else have a redness quality to it.
> I would say, *not quite!*, if I understand you correctly. When you say 
> "our knowledge", it sounds like you are saying that the pile of bits 
> cannot have any intrinsic "redness" in it but that quality has to be 
> supplied somehow from the outside by again, "our knowledge." No, I 
> disagree. But your system has avoided including anything but yourself 
> that does the perceiving. Put in the right type of brain and, when it 
> sees the 650NM light (more like 510NM for green, 650NM for red) it 
> perceives red just as surely as you do with the other wavelength. If I 
> have a pile of bits describing the reactions of this brain to the 
> green light I can say that by reasonable interpretation red is being 
> perceived in that particular frame of reference. This has nothing to 
> do, initially, with any "state of knowledge" that I may have. I 
> approach this pile of bits with no preconceived notion of what it 
> "means." But, assuming it has the right stuff expressed in a 
> low-complexity way, I finally emerge with the conviction that it 
> describes a brain that is perceiving red, even though it may happen 
> that the actual wavelength of light that (it describes that) elicits 
> this response is something that if I were to see it would appear to me 
> as green.
> Mike

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