[ExI] Definition of Consciousness (Was Re: My guesses about GPTs consciousness)

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at gmail.com
Mon Apr 17 17:27:54 UTC 2023

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for working on building and tracking consensus around a definition
of consciousness.  This is so important.  That's exactly what we're working
on doing over on the consensus building and tracking system Canonizer.com.
While there are competing camps, there is an emerging consensus camp:
Qualia Theory
It defines consciousness or sentience as:

        *Computationally bound subjective qualities like redness, grenness,

This definition distinguishes between abstract systems (use a word like
'red' to represent information, isn't like anything and requires a
dictionary) which can be functionally equivalent.
and  Phenomenal systems, which represent information directly on subjective
qualities like redness.  Sentience is like something.

Your definition seems a bit recursive, consciousness is sentience?
If you define sentience as "awareness of internal and external existence",
then you would consider a system with abstract knowledge of internal and
external things, which isn't like anything to be conscious or sentient?

On Mon, Apr 17, 2023 at 4:51 AM efc--- via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Mon, 17 Apr 2023, Rafal Smigrodzki via extropy-chat wrote:
> > On Sun, Apr 16, 2023 at 7:05 AM <efc at swisscows.email> wrote:
> >       Hello Rafal,
> >
> >       What is your definition of consciousness? It would be much easier
> to
> >       understand, if I also knew yoru definition of consciousness.
> >
> >
> > ### Oh, noes, this question is too difficult, I cry uncle.
> >
> > But, it's this thing that I am and that has other things in it that come
> and go.
> >
> > It breathes fire into the equations.
> >
> > It's the realest of real things.
> >
> > It's the light that illuminates the void,
> >
> > You know it when you have it. Lots of interesting research can be done
> and reasonable discussions can proceed without a definition,
> > so let's not spoil the poetry.
> Don't spoil the fun! ;) No, the reason I ask is that many here talk
> about consciousness but if we do not talk about the same thing, it is
> easy to talk past each other. Even if our definition overlap to a
> significant extent, small errors can compound.
> Taht's why I find it difficult to follow sometimes, because I of course
> evaluate arguments in terms of my definition.
> Now, let me apply my weapon to myself! ;)
> How do I define consciousness?
> For the sake of this discussion, let me propose "Consciousness, at its
> simplest, is sentience and awareness of internal and external
> existence." (wikipedia) and then open up to the list to refine it. ;) I
> doubt we'll reach anything close to resembling consensus, but I hope
> that we'll leave with a better definition than before.
> Best regards,
> Daniel
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