[ExI] Zombie Detector (was Re:Do digital computers feel?)

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Sun Jan 1 23:44:53 UTC 2017

All of this is over my head because of lack of background.  In my basic
course of sensation and perception in psych grad school, I learned that
when the optic nerves get to the cortex, there is a sensory area in which
the basic qualities of the stimuli are experienced, presumably
consciously.  Then the sensory cortex nerves go to an adjacent area where
further processing is done (a perception area), and the stimuli identified
with words, perhaps, such as "That's the same shade of red as my canna
flowers - maybe a Chinese red, a bit orangy)." , thus invoking memories of
earlier experiences with that red.  From there it can go anywhere depending
on the person and his memories.

I think that I disagree with John (unsure of that, a bit), in that if we
are all looking at a red tomato, then I will assume that, lacking evidence
of red-green color blindness in any of us, everyone is having similar
sensory experiences, if not necessarily perceptual ones.  If we cannot make
assumptions like this, we might as well BE solipsists.

As I am a strict materialist, all of this is happening in a brain/mind as a
result of neural firings.

I am reading all of these posts but not following very well,  I am puzzled
- how can one change the sensation of red to one of green without changing
the wavelengths of the light or the neural hookups?  I would need to know a
whole lot more before I had any kind of theory of this.  (I have not read
that Wikipedia link yet, but will).

If you have to go to any trouble at all to get me up to date on this,
please don't!

bill w

On Sun, Jan 1, 2017 at 2:41 PM, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi William,
> Yay, I must be at least a little better at communicating, after so long,
> as you guys (and more of you) are starting to ask great questions.
> But, again, I must first ask you a question about what you mean by "the
> perception part".  As there are still multiple competing theories out about
> what all perception includes, for which there hasn't yet been sufficient
> evidence to falsify those theories for their supporters.  I'll give you an
> answer using my favorite "materialist" theory (happens to be the simplest
> one that I know of), and how it will be verified or falsified via
> demonstrable science using these effing of the ineffable techniques, and if
> your theory is similar, my job will be done.  If your theory is different,
> I'll describe the much more complex way which the theory will be verified /
> falsified by demonstrable science using this same correct qualitative
> interpretation method.
> We might as well start at the beginning of the perception process, for
> completeness (and this will be required to see and prove what is the neural
> correlate of redness in our brain).  The perception of a strawberry starts
> with the target of perception or the surface of the strawberry having a set
> of physical qualities, (it's ability to reflect something like 650 NM
> light) that we think of or interpret as being "red".  There is the causally
> downstream set of physical qualities which are very different from the set
> of physical qualities the surface of the strawberry has.  This is the 650
> NM light.  Then, there is a translation mechanism (the retina) which
> translate the physical qualities of the light into a different set of
> physical qualities (the red and green signal traveling down your optic
> nerve).  Again, these are all very different physical qualities, we think
> of, or interpret all of them as if they were "red".  The correctly
> functioning retina, is what correctly translates one different set of
> physical qualities to the other, in a way that allows us to abstract away
> from the particular different physical representations, and think of both
> of them in a functionally optimized way: "We think of or interpret all them
> all as if they were all red".  Note: if you add something in this causal
> perception Chanel, such as a fMRI camera and video sensing system such as
> might be used to target and perceived the quality of knowledge inside our
> brain, that also represents what we think of as "red" or at this point the
> "redness" (which will be inverted for the duplicated person).  All these
> diverse representations also will all have very different sets of physical
> qualities we only think of as if they were all the same "red".  Every one
> of these sets of physical representations we all think of as being "red"
> (or abstracted different physical representations we all think of as ones
> and zeros in the computer portion of the channel) require a correct
> qualitative translation mechanism that translates from one physical set of
> qualities, to the next different one, in a way that allows us to think of
> all of them in a simplified way - as if they were all "red".
> So far, in our duplicated person, we haven't changed anything yet.  And
> this much of the causal "Perception Chanel" is identical.  There is further
> neural processing, such as that required to recognize the edges of the
> strawberry in the 2 two D representations of the strawberry coming down our
> optical nerve.  And there is the part that converts these 2D images into 3D
> voxel elements again representing the 3D strawberry with a completely
> different set of physical qualities which are nothing like any of the up
> channel physical qualities.  Again, up until this point things remain
> physically identical in our duplicated person.  Now, after all this neural
> processing, there is yet another final translation mechanism  in the
> perception Chanel which translates to yet another completely different set
> of physical qualities.  (Again, none of these physical qualities, including
> the qualities of the surface of the strawberry are anything like each
> other.)  Where before the duplication, the translation mechanism would
> translate to voxel knowledge of the surface of the strawberry having a
> redness set of physical qualities we can experience, while in the duplicate
> the final translation mechanism translates to physical knowledge that has a
> set of physical qualities we experience as having a greenness quality.
> So, how this particular theory will be proven correct, or falsified for
> everyone in competing theory camps, is via the weak stronger and strongest
> form of effing the ineffable I've been describing and also described in
> this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHuqZKxtOf4 and via this
> method finding whatever the particular neural correlates are of each of our
> redness and greenness... conscious experiences.  This is the "materialist"
> theory that falsifiably predicts that without the right material, no
> redness.  Other theories include "functionalist" theories, and various
> other "emergent" theories (what seems to be the current leading expert
> consensus set of theories because of the fallacious neural substitution
> argument), "quantum" theories, "relational" theories, "Higher order"
> theories, neither world "spiritual" or various dualistic religious theories
> such as Cartesian dualism (these are the naive most popular theories), even
> elimanativests theories with no qualia at all, and lots more that are all
> much more complex and problematic than this simple theory.  One of these
> theories is about to be proven true, while all the rest falsified, by
> simply correctly interpreting the physical qualities representing what we
> are detecting or "effing the ineffable".
> Is your theory of what the conscious "perception part" is anything like
> this materialist one?  Which theory do you all bet is going to soon turn
> out to be "The One"?
> Brent Allsop
> On 1/1/2017 10:04 AM, William Flynn Wallace wrote:
> For the most part, I don't belong in this discussion but I'd like to know
> the meaning of
> "You completely swap the new persons redness knowledge with their
> greenness knowledge."
> Are you talking about rewiring the optical sensory system or the
> perception part?
> bill w
> On Sun, Jan 1, 2017 at 10:49 AM, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Hi Jason,
>> Good question.  Let me first ask you a question, then based on your
>> answer, I will be able to better answer your questions.
>> Let's say you duplicate a person, possibly with a Star Trek like
>> transporter.  Except you make one minor change.  You completely swap the
>> new persons redness knowledge with their greenness knowledge.  I would say
>> you have still successfully transported them, that you have achieved
>> multiple-realizability and functionally they will be identical.  But, the
>> new person represents knowledge of strawberries with a greenness quality.
>> Do these before and after people have "identical mental states"?
>> Brent
>> On 12/31/2016 4:44 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
>> Brent,
>> Thank you, the video cleared it up for me then. So do you have no
>> objection to multiple-realizability (the idea that different physical
>> materials could in theory be used to construct minds that have identical
>> mental states)?
>> Jason
>> On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 4:53 PM, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi Jason,
>>> I'm just talking in simplified qualitative terms to make communication
>>> easier to model what is and isn't important.  that is the only reason I
>>> used the term grue to represent all the 99 million or whatever new colors
>>> that any particular tetrachromat can experience (surely they are not all
>>> the same).
>>> Also, when i say that glutamate has the redness quality and glycene has
>>> the grenness quality, this too, is just simplified.  I am describing what
>>> it would be like in a hypothetical world that only has 3 colors - red
>>> (glutamate), green(glycene), and white(aspartate).  (see:
>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHuqZKxtOf4&t=30s)  I simply describe
>>> in that video that if there was such a world, how could the people in that
>>> world correctly see that in their simplified world that glutamate was the
>>> neural correlate of red (and not think it was white since glutamate
>>> reflects white light).
>>> Then once a person can understand how this general correct qualitative
>>> interpretation theory works in the simplified world, they can use the same
>>> proper qualitative interpretation of abstracted data, in the real world -
>>> to finally not be qualia blind and finally discover what really has all the
>>> redness qualities any one of us can experience.
>>> Brent
>>> On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 3:29 PM, Jason Resch <jasonresch at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 4:15 PM, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> I, like most people, am a mere tetra chromate – I experience the world
>>>>> with 3 primary colors.  But some people are tetrachromats, and do it
>>>>> with 4 primary colors.  Let’s call this 4th color “grue”.  Obviously,
>>>>> all us tri chromats can hear the person say things like: “No that is Grue,
>>>>> not one of the primary colors, as you claim” and we can observe what is
>>>>> causing the 4th primary color, including it’s neural correlate in
>>>>> their brains.  In other words, like Frank Jackson’s brilliant color
>>>>> scientist raised in a black and what room, us trichromats can learn
>>>>> everything about grue, and see that it is not in our heads, but we can see
>>>>> when the neurarl correlate of grue is in the head of a tetrachromat.
>>>>> In other words, all of us normal trichromatic people are grue zombies.
>>>>> We can know and communicate everything about them.  In fact, we might
>>>>> even be able to be trained to call the right things grue, just like the
>>>>> tetrachromat does, and lie about it, and convince everyone else that we
>>>>> might be a tetrachromat.  (until you observe my brain)  So, until we
>>>>> enhance our primary visual cortext and give it what has the grue color, we
>>>>> will never know how the tetrachromat qualitatively interprets the word
>>>>> “grue”.
>>>>> Now, some people think of a “p-zombie” as something that is atomically
>>>>> identical to us, but just doesn’t have the qualitative experience of
>>>>> consciousness – which of course is very absurd, and very different than the
>>>>> grue type of zombie, I am, who simply isn’t yet capable of producing the
>>>>> grue neural correlate in my brain.  But I can represent grue with
>>>>> anything else that is in my brain, and talk about it as if it was grue, in
>>>>> a grue zombie way.
>>>> But no new neurotransmitters are required to experience grue.
>>>> Moreover, tretrachromats don't just see 1 new type of color, they can
>>>> see 99 million new colors that us trichromats cannot see. This is because
>>>> we can sense about 100 independent relative brightnesses for red green and
>>>> blue colors, which allows 100x100x100 possible resulting colors (1 million
>>>> colors). Tetrachromats get to see 100x100x100x100 or 100 million colors.
>>>> How can so many new colors come about if the neurocorolates are somehow
>>>> dependent on specific chemicals in the brain? Tetrachromats don't have 100
>>>> times as many chemicals in their brain as trichromats have, yet they get to
>>>> perceive 100 times as many qualia.
>>>> Jason
>>>>> On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 12:30 PM, Jason Resch <jasonresch at gmail.com>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> Reminds me a bit of "An Unfortunate Dualist":
>>>>>> http://themindi.blogspot.com/2007/02/chapter-23-unfortunate-
>>>>>> dualist.html
>>>>>> As to your puzzle, if Fred is unable to detect any effects from
>>>>>> conscious people (including their reflections), then he should not  be able
>>>>>> to see his own reflection, but then he also shouldn't be able to hear his
>>>>>> own thoughts either. Which might be your definition of a zombie, making him
>>>>>> visible, etc. "Russell's reflection". However, Fred's own voice might still
>>>>>> be heard if Fred's consciousness is an epiphenomenon, but I think
>>>>>> practically speaking I think epiphenomenalism can be ruled out, together
>>>>>> with the notion of p-zombies.
>>>>>> See Daniel Dennett's "The Unimagined Preposterousness of Zombies":
>>>>>> https://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/dennett/papers/unzombie.htm
>>>>>> Dennett argues that "when philosophers claim that zombies are
>>>>>> conceivable, they invariably underestimate the task of conception (or
>>>>>> imagination), and end up imagining something that violates their own
>>>>>> definition".[3]
>>>>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie#cite_note-Dennett1991-3>
>>>>>> [4]
>>>>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie#cite_note-Dennett1995-4> He
>>>>>> coined the term "zimboes" – p-zombies that have second-order beliefs
>>>>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second-order_logic> – to argue that
>>>>>> the idea of a p-zombie is incoherent;[12]
>>>>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie#cite_note-12> "Zimboes
>>>>>> thinkZ they are conscious, thinkZ they have qualia, thinkZ they
>>>>>> suffer pains – they are just 'wrong' (according to this lamentable
>>>>>> tradition), in ways that neither they nor we could ever discover!".
>>>>>> [4]
>>>>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie#cite_note-Dennett1995-4>
>>>>>> I'm not sure, however, whether your thought experiment sheds any new
>>>>>> light on the concepts of consciousness or zombies. It seems like it may be
>>>>>> only a reformulation of the "Barber Paradox", where the self reflexivity is
>>>>>> a "power to detect only non-consciousness things", aimed at one's own
>>>>>> consciousness.
>>>>>> Jason
>>>>>> On Fri, Dec 30, 2016 at 11:13 AM, Stuart LaForge <avant at sollegro.com>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> Jason Resch wrote:
>>>>>>> <Therefore, if the brain is a machine, and is finite, then an
>>>>>>> appropriately programmed computer can perfectly emulate any of its
>>>>>>> behaviors. Philosophers generally fall into one os three camps, on
>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>> question of consciousness and the computational theory of mind:
>>>>>>> Non-computable physicists [. . .]Weak AI proponents [. . .]
>>>>>>> Computationalists.
>>>>>>> Which camp do you consider yourself in?>
>>>>>>> -------------------------------------------
>>>>>>> As a general rule, I prefer not to go camping with philosophers as I
>>>>>>> prefer the rigor of science and mathematics. But if I must camp in
>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>> neck of the woods, I would set up my own camp. I would call it the
>>>>>>> Godelian camp after Kurt Godel. Since I am a scientist and not a
>>>>>>> philosopher, I will explain my views with a thought experiment
>>>>>>> instead of
>>>>>>> an argument.
>>>>>>> Imagine if you will a solipsist. Let's call him Fred. Fred is
>>>>>>> solopsist
>>>>>>> because he has every reason to believe he lives alone in a world of
>>>>>>> P-zombies.
>>>>>>> For the uninitiated, P-zombies are philosophical zombies. Horrid
>>>>>>> beings
>>>>>>> that talk, move, and act like normal folks but lack any real
>>>>>>> consciousness
>>>>>>> or self-awareness. They just go through the motions of being
>>>>>>> conscious but
>>>>>>> are not really so.
>>>>>>> So ever since Fred could remember, wherever he looked, all he could
>>>>>>> see
>>>>>>> were those pesky P-zombies. They were everywhere. He could talk to
>>>>>>> them,
>>>>>>> he could interact with them, and he even married one. And because
>>>>>>> they all
>>>>>>> act perfectly conscious, they would fool most anyone but certainly
>>>>>>> not
>>>>>>> Fred.
>>>>>>> This was because Fred had, whether you would regard it as a gift or
>>>>>>> curse,
>>>>>>> an unusual ability. He could always see and otherwise sense
>>>>>>> P-zombies but
>>>>>>> never normal folk. Normal folk were always invisible to him and he
>>>>>>> never
>>>>>>> could sense a single one. So he, being a perfect P-zombie detector,
>>>>>>> came
>>>>>>> to believe that he was the only normal person on a planet populated
>>>>>>> by
>>>>>>> P-zombies.
>>>>>>> Then one day by chance he happened to glance in a mirror . . .
>>>>>>> Does he see himself?
>>>>>>> I want to hear what the list has to say about this before I give my
>>>>>>> answer
>>>>>>> and my interpretation of what this means for strong AI and the
>>>>>>> computational theory of mind.
>>>>>>> Stuart LaForge
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