[ExI] Why stop at glutamate?
gsantostasi at gmail.com
Sun Apr 9 22:49:28 UTC 2023
Let me elaborate on a point. When I say the pattern matters it doesn't mean
that a particular pattern matters. This is very relevant to dismantle
Brent's position. I can use any pattern I want to represent red. In fact,
let me expand on my previous statement: what matters is the pattern AND the
association with a given visual stimuli (in the case of red) or a given
thought or memory or whatever. If I associate this pattern with seeing red
(probably a given number of times) then that is red in my brain. Given we
have similar makeup and there is a lot of software we inherit from our
progenitors the association process (basically we come with a lot of NN
weights that are pre-trained) is somehow pre-programmed up to a point. As
we experience red in early childhood, and throughout life, we create a
different perception of red that can be refined or sometimes degraded. It
is not a fixed forever thing in the brain but it is always changing and
modifying. This again destroys completely Brent's misconception about what
What about redness in a machine then?
If I can teach a machine to associate a certain given range of light
frequencies (what humans call red) with a given pattern of activations
(weights in a trained NN) then that experience of redness is as valid and
real as mine. No difference.
Well, with the caveat that the machine needs to have a way to "recognize"
it is seeing red (some kind of feedback loop that alerts the system of its
This is it. We solved the mystery of redness.
On Sun, Apr 9, 2023 at 3:32 PM Giovanni Santostasi <gsantostasi at gmail.com>
> So maybe we can read a bunch of papers and come back. Let's try to
> understand what is difference between direct perception and memory. This
> should clarify a lot of the stuff we are talking about. I'm not an expert
> in this field so I need to catch up.
> But, after a few seconds of research online, lol, an interesting paper. It
> seems they are claiming that perception is actually affected by language,
> early experiences in childhood and many other stuff that you will not think
> to affect something so direct as seeing a damn color. As I claimed before
> there is nothing "direct" in that experience, the entire idea of qualia is
> garbage. The red we experience is simply a complex message from the brain
> to the brain that a particular type of stimuli is happening. But this
> message is the output of a very complex chain of events that is affected by
> many things that happened in the brain like exposure to certain experiences
> and so on. This makes sense because our sensory experience can be refined
> for example.
> You can train to see colors better or distinguish between different
> shades. There are studies showing that people in different cultures
> perceive colors differently and have words to distinguish colors that in
> other cultures are considered the same.
> Again, it is not glutamate or anything physical that makes the color red
> but a given neural pattern (that of course is also a physical thing because
> it is associated with particular neurons but it doesn't matter if it is
> neurons or weights in a neural network equivalent).
> The logical conclusion is that if the patterns is what matters then
> weights in ANN or neuron connections in the brain are completely
> interchangeable. So software can be aware, Gordon and Brent. Yes, it can.
> On Sun, Apr 9, 2023 at 3:16 PM Giovanni Santostasi <gsantostasi at gmail.com>
>> What "redness" quality means? I still don't get it.
>> There is plenty of evidence, like entire libraries, that show that brain
>> stuff (I will use this term to mean stuff like perception, memory,
>> awareness and so on) is all in the patterns. That is what matters.
>> I can give you some of these examples.
>> 1) Working memory chips. I mentioned Dr. Beger work at UCLA. People have
>> studied models of memory and they reproduced an equivalent on chips,
>> without using any chemical like neurotransmitters, or any other physical
>> thing you will associate with the particular biological makeup of our
>> brains. All what they did was to recreate the functionality or structure
>> relations that their model said was relevant to reproduce memory.
>> This is not a theoretical work that can be debated. It worked. They
>> turned on and off the chip and the rat remembered the layout of a
>> labyrinth. They even transferred, a la Inception, the memory in another rat
>> If this doesn't destroy completely anybody illusion that the a brain made
>> of meat (and particular stuff like glutamate) I don't know what else it
>> could. These people will always believe that meat brains are necessary
>> because God made them so. No amound of science would convince them.
>> 2) You can train an AI to recognize activation patterns in the brain and
>> associate them with particular stimuli. This has been tried with words and
>> even images both in wake and dreaming state. Here an example that should
>> blow everybody minds:
>> Again, from this study we can see that it doesn't matter how the pattern
>> is generated, but that there is a pattern of activation. These patterns are
>> unique for each individual but statistically they are similar enough that
>> after training over many subjects you can give a statistical estimate that
>> the person is seeing or even thinking about something in particular. Again,
>> IT WORKS people !
>> 3) I have worked in the field of neuroscience and in particular in the
>> field of the neuroscience of sleep. I have direct experience of this vs
>> simply reading some paper (I analyzed the data in this case).
>> There are several experiments that show that if you do for a long time
>> during the day a particular type of activity, lets say listening to an
>> audio book or playing a video game with a lot of visual stimuli during the
>> night a given brain region will light up with a lot of slow waves
>> preferentially in a given region of the brain, in fact, the one you would
>> expect. If you listened for hours to an audiobook the auditory region of
>> the brain will have a lot of slow waves and if you played a video game the
>> visual part of the brain is the one that will light up.
>> Slow waves are associated with the process of memory consolidation which
>> is the moving of memory from the hippocampus to the cortex and the
>> formation of new long-term memories. Notice, that in this process there is
>> a MAPPING of these memories from the hippocampus to the cortex that is not
>> 1 to 1. The pattern in the cortex is related to the one in the hippocampus
>> but not exactly the same and in fact, while the memory is created
>> associations are made with previous experiences and things that were
>> learned in the past, so it is a unique and individual pattern that is
>> created when you consolidate the memory. This is actually where a lot of
>> creativity takes place, in making new associations between different
>> experiences. Another thing to notice is that when you retrieve memory the
>> memory is actually actively changed and modified that it is another
>> indication that it doesn't matter what the particular physical means to
>> create the memory are, the real information is in the pattern. That is
>> where the redness is, that is unique for each individual but it can be
>> still identified as redness because statistically is similar between
>> individuals. We know that at least for the memory of red the activation
>> pattern will also change as you retrieve that memory, I'm not sure if this
>> true for the direct perception of redness. This would be an interesting
>> thing to test and it will give us some insights on the differences between
>> remembering a color and seeing the color directly. But it is still
>> activation patterns in both cases.
>> On Sun, Apr 9, 2023 at 2:41 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> Of course, a single pixel which can change from redness to greenness
>>> can't be at the brain module level or higher, as we have thousands of voxel
>>> element qualities in our visual knowledge.
>>> The Quantum people
>>> predict redness and such is below the Atomic level. Not really sure how
>>> far below they are predicting it'd be, we could ask them. I just think you
>>> don't need to go down to that level, to reproduce a pixel of redness
>>> experience, in a way that you can change that one pixel to greenness. It
>>> could certainly be at the "Molecular Biology" level, or the "Protein
>>> Level". And I'd predict that the computational binding of whatever has
>>> a redness quality, to all the other voxels of qualities, is somewhere
>>> arround the "Intracellular Level". But yea, any and all possible
>>> levels are viable. Even new physics is a possibility, but I doubt that.
>>> To me, the more important thing is just that there is something, at some
>>> level. And our description of however it behaves, is a description of
>>> redness. Or it behaves the way it does, because of its redness quality
>>> which can can subjectively directly apprehend as a pixel of visual
>>> knowledge. I pretty much selected glutamate because it is easy to say
>>> things like: "If someone experiences redness, when there is no glutamate
>>> present, it falsified the glutamate=redness theory. So you move on to
>>> something else, at any other level, till you can objectively observe
>>> whatever is responsible for a pixel of redness experience. Then you will
>>> have the required dictionary to not only know if something is conscious,
>>> but know what it is like. The fact that making these kinds of predictions
>>> about what consciousness is like is the big deal. You must be able to
>>> demonstrate and falsify the predictions, in a way the bridges the
>>> "explanatory gap" and enables one to "eff the ineffable" and so on.
>>> We live in a colorful world. It'd be nice to know what it is, in that
>>> brain, whatever level it is, which has all those colorness qualities. I
>>> want to know more than just what color things in the world seem to be.
>>> Jason, have you, or anyone else, seen our Consciousness: Not a Hard
>>> Problem, Just a Color Problem
>>> <https://canonizer.com/videos/consciousness> videos? I'd be interested
>>> in your thoughts.
>>> On Sun, Apr 9, 2023 at 8:24 AM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>> Brent has proposed that something physical in the brain is responsible
>>>> for redness, and he has proposed the molecular/protein level as a
>>>> candidate, giving the example of the neurotransmitter glutamate. But there
>>>> are a great number of different levels operating concurrently in the brain,
>>>> and I wonder: why choose any particular level as more important than any
>>>> other to associate with redness? We see for example, at a quick glance:
>>>> Level Examples of things operating at this level
>>>> Whole Brain Human Brain, Dolphin Brain
>>>> Brain Hemispheres Left Brain Hemisphere, Right Brain Hemisphere
>>>> Brain regions Frontal lobe, Occipital lobe, Corpus callosum
>>>> Brain modules Broca's Area, Hippocampus, Visual Cortex
>>>> Higher Level Networks Subunits of visual cortex, Subunits of visual
>>>> Neocortical Columns Pattern Recognizers, Classifiers, Discriminators
>>>> Neural Connections Connections, Inhibitory and Excitatory Signals,
>>>> Neuronal Level Neurons, Dendrites, Axons
>>>> Cellular Level Stem Cells, Blood Cells, Nerve Cells
>>>> Intracellular Level Organelles, ATP, Mitochondria
>>>> Protein Level Genes, Ribosomes, Proteins
>>>> Molecular Biology Amino Acids, Peptides, Base Pairs
>>>> Molecular Level Molecules, Covalent Bonds, Ionic Bonds
>>>> Atomic Level Chemicals, Ions, Electron Orbitals
>>>> Nuclear Physics Atomic Nuclei, Chemical Elements, Isotopes
>>>> Baryon Level Quarks and Gluons, Protons, Neutrons
>>>> Subatomic Particles Quarks, Electrons, Photons
>>>> Quantum Fields force fields, matter fields, Higgs field
>>>> When every level above could be called a "physical" level, why should
>>>> we limit the investigation to the protein level of neurotransmitters?
>>>> If molecules/proteins, are in the end, just patterns of activity of
>>>> quantum fields, why can't the patterns of activity of higher-complexity
>>>> (still quantum fields) such as the processing done by the visual cortex,
>>>> count as a pattern of activity open to investigation?
>>>> If lower order patterns of activity (quarks, atoms, molecules,
>>>> proteins) etc. are possible candidates to explain "redness", why can't
>>>> these higher order patterns of activity be candidates for redness? (Or do
>>>> you consider them to be viable candidates?)
>>>> An extra question, consider this quote from the physicist John Wheeler:
>>>> "Now I am in the grip of a new vision, that Everything is Information.
>>>> The more I have pondered the mystery of the quantum and our strange ability
>>>> to comprehend this world in which we live, the more I see possible
>>>> fundamental roles for logic and information as the bedrock of physical
>>>> -- John Archibald Wheeler
>>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Archibald_Wheeler> in “*Geons*, *Black
>>>> Holes*, and *Quantum Foam*
>>>> If Wheeler's speculation is right, then there exists another level
>>>> below quantum fields, one of essentially pure information. What would that
>>>> imply about the patterns of activity necessary for redness? Would that not
>>>> imply that redness is, at some level (even if it is only associated with
>>>> glutamate) in the end, nothing but a particular pattern of information
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