[ExI] Fwd: New article: EM Field Theory of Consciousness

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Mon Jun 20 16:34:52 UTC 2022

On Sun, Jun 19, 2022 at 11:37 AM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> To me, when you say: "And yet, people who are not you claim to have
> experienced such total communication." it seems to be demonstrating that
> you don't yet understand what people are talking about when they use the
> term "ineffable".

No, I do.

Persons A and B claim to have experienced total communication of some
concept - for example, the redness of an object they can both directly

Person C claims there is some property that A and B can not have totally
communicated, because there is some feature that can not be communicated.
This feature has the property "ineffable", meaning that it can not be
translated into language or otherwise depicted outside of the original
consciousness, and that any other consciousness can at most only have a
representation of it.

What exactly this feature is, can be hard to describe - precisely
because the feature is ineffable, meaning it can not be depicted in

Without having direct access to both A's and B's consciousness (which
nobody has at this time, at least in any case where A and B are both people
and not very limited AIs), it is impossible to prove or disprove C's claim.

For example, take a new colorness quality you have never experienced
> before.  Perhaps one of the many more colors a Mantis Shrimp
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantis_shrimp> can experience.  Let's call
> it Grue.  We  can objectively observe and abstractly describe everything
> about whatever it is, in the shrimp's brain, which has that colorness
> quality.  But until you take whatever that is, and computationally bind it
> into your consciousness, so you can directly apprehend what it is like, so
> you can finally say: "oh THAT is what grue is like'', you can't know what
> grueness is like.
> You seem to be claiming you can know what grue is like, without
> experiencing it yourself?

Having had rather similar experiences myself - yes, I am claiming that I
could.  (Not necessarily that I do right now, just that it's possible.)

Said knowledge is not always perfect...but sometimes it is.  It's what
inspires the basis of much science fiction, for example (especially the
harder sci-fi).  Have you never read a story that predicted the future, and
got it so spot on that some confuse it for prophecy or some other
supernatural vision of the unknowable future?

> And you think others would agree that you can?

I know there exist others who would so agree.

Said people are highly unlikely to engage in Canonizer, largely because
they don't have any reason to care about Canonizer.  But that doesn't mean
they don't exist.

> You can't communicate or define what any colorness quality is like, using
> only text.

It is impossible to prove that I have done so, if I am communicating to
some other person.

Thing is, this doesn't apply just to colorness.  Also consider the
challenge of defining whether someone is sentient - whether they have
thoughts and emotions like we do, or if they are just something programmed
or trained to emulate such.

Can you prove that I am not some devil's advocate machine, instantiated a
few years ago and given the identity of a formerly living human being?  I
say that I am not, but what does that matter?  Spike may claim to have met
me in person within the past few years, but how would you know he was not
deceived - and that he was not bribed into lying?

Shifting away from hypotheticals to historical examples, how do you prove
that [insert ethnic minority] is a person?  People used this logic to
justify slavery.  "Obviously, a negro is subhuman and only fit for
servitude.  They may be taught but they have no actual thoughts of their
own, just refined animal responses."

I will admit, knowing this historical content flavors my distaste for "but
they're not ACTUALLY thinking/knowing/feeling it" style arguments.
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