[ExI] Consciousness as 'brute fact' and meta-skepticism

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Sat Feb 8 21:28:56 UTC 2020

On Sat, Feb 8, 2020 at 3:05 PM William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Telling a person that intelligence is a score on an IQ test is very
> unsatisfactory, but that is what ODs do.  You could, perhaps, define
> consciousness by EEG tests,

Although very far from perfect you can at least intuitively see a
relationship of some sort between intelligence and the ability to do well
on an IQ test, but squiggly lines on a EEG plot and consciousness have no
intuitive relationship whatsoever and so would make for a very poor
definition, operationally or otherwise. Although it would certainly be far
easier to make a machine that would produce satisfactory squiggles than to
make a machine that consistently exhibits intelagent behavior, and so at
least as the word is defined we'd have a "conscious" computer much sooner.
The only trouble is by defining the word in that way you would have leached
out of it every last thing that made consciousness a desirable state to be
in. I really really want to remain conscious, that is to say I don't want
to die, I rather like doing well on IQ tests too, but I don't much care
what sort of squiggly lines a EEG machine says my brain produces. If the
machine said I wasn't conscious but my subjective qualia that only I have
access to said I was I know which one I'd believe.

 John K Clark
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