[ExI] extropy-chat Digest, Vol 194, Issue 3

Re Rose rocket at earthlight.com
Sat Nov 9 11:48:35 UTC 2019

 Responding to----Message 3---John Clarke------- Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2019
09:27:03 -0500----

"When people demand an explanation fir consciousness it's not even clear
what exactly they are demanding. Would you be satisfied if I could prove
that X causes consciousness or would you say X causes consciousness but X
is not consciousness"

Apologies if my response is in an unusual format, I never know how to
respond to this list so I mostly lurk!

Regarding consciousness, people seem to mostly look to magical or spiritual
explanations for it, and its subjective nature lends to that
interpretation. I think the key to understanding  consciousness has been
discussed by Jeff Hawkins in his book, "On Intelligence", and it works for

Basically, each of us has a unique path through our slice of the world, and
our sensors do not allow us to take in all the information of the
environment. Due to physical limitations of data flow, time, and sensor
capacity, we each obtain only one unique slice of the reality around us.
This does not mean anything about reality itself, it means we necessarily
have a limited access to the data of the world around us.

Yet as an individual agent, it is our brain that must take this incomplete
data and act on it, building our model of the world. This is the key to
subjectivity. Since we each have different data-sets from which we formed
our model of reality, we each have unique experiences.

Since the brain *must* act on incomplete knowledge, at some point it must
make decisions based on probabilities. This is the only way to operate for
the lack of availability of a full description (i.e., a complete data-set)
of the world around us.

These decisions can not be autonomous (i.e., are not reflexive) but must be
made by a decision, and decisions are made via thought. The thought process
is internal and exclusive to the agent with the brain, based on its
exclusive model of the world, in turn based on its limited and unique
data-set. Since this type of thinking is neither instinctive nor reflexive,
it must be handled by a new process which emerged to handle such judgements
- we call that process consciousness.

Therefore, this necessity of an individual agent needing to judge
inconclusive situations based on a necessarily incomplete knowledge of the
world is how consciousness emerged.

My two cents, YMMV. I go back to lurking now - bye!

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