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

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at gmail.com
Tue Apr 18 01:30:35 UTC 2023

Hi Daniel,

On Mon, Apr 17, 2023 at 3:40 PM efc--- via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Hello Brent,
> Thank you for the link, I've never seen this site before. I like the tree
> structure, but sadly it seemed a bit empty at some of the nodes.
> As for consensus tracking I'm a bit skeptical about it, since I'm not
> comfortable solving philosophical problems through consensus. In my
> experience, many positions manage to entrench themselves in a kind of
> stalemate after decades or milennia, and at the end of the day, your
> values tend to dictate which strengths and weaknesses in which arguments
> you are drawn to and judge to be the most important. Being raised in an
> extreme consensus culture, there are few things I dislike more than
> consensus. ;)

Yea, everyone seems to initially think that about canonizer.
But canonizer is the solution to all the problems you are pointing out, and
many more issues, especially polarization, and bubbles...
First off, it is just getting started, and like all wiki systems, they are
never finished, and are always improving, as people fix things.
It is the solution to establishment resisting needed revolutions.
It allows the guy with a revolutionary idea to finally stand out from the
crowd of crazy new theories, even though he can't get published
He get's one person to join his camp, then those 2 get 4, then 8....
Then people can notice this happen, and soon, everyone is jumping camps to
a better camp.
Canonizer doesn't determine truth, it just tracks what people (at least the
participants) believe is truth.
In the bleating and tweeting world, what gets retweeted the most, is what
is most snarky and polarizing.
At canonizer, you measure the good arguments by how many people they
convert.  Those rise to the top.
That which you measure, improves.
And there are a bunch of other solutions to many other problems.

> Now when it comes to your definition:
> "Computationally bound subjective qualities like redness, grenness,
> warmth."
> I'm afraid I do not understand what it means, nor how it is related to a
> definition of consciousness. Could you please unpack each term in
> "Computationally bound subjective qualities"? I do not understand what
> this means.

It's basically the idea that redness is a quality of your subjective
knowledge of the strawberry, a quality of something in our brain, not a
property of the strawberry.
And that consciousness experience is composed of those subjective qualities.
We're creating some videos that go over some of what this means.
"Consciousness: Not a 'hard problem' just a color problem.
And this article has just been published: "Physicists don't Understand Color

> When it comes to the definition I found at the top of wikipedia in the
> article on consciousness, let me point out that it is not mine, nor am I
> sure is it my personal definition, but just a suggested starting point.

Yes, we live in a "post truth" world, due to all the polarization.   No
matter where you go on the internet, or even in peer reviewed journals,
someone will claim that is "fake news."

The  field of consciousness has been in this polarized post truth world for
We created canonizer to help address this problem.  And boy, is the
polarized world in need of some revolutions.
It seems the best definitions currently out there are quite bad, IF they
are even accepted by anyone.

> But I do not think it is recursive, notice the ",". So let me try and
> explain it to the best of my understanding and interpretation:
> "Consciousness, at its simplest, is sentience and awareness of internal
> and external existence."
> Let's look at the components:
> Sentience: Having a faculty, or faculties, of sensation and perception.
> Awareness: Knowledge and understanding that something is happening or
> exists
> So to me it seems, that for us to be able to talk about consciousness in
> any form of organism, it would have to have the ability of sensing things
> or perceiving things. In additiona to this, it must also be able to store
> some kind of knowledge and have some kind of understanding that things
> happen around it and that other things exist.
> It must be able to keep internal state and awareness of its surroundings.
> That's what I understand based on the very simple starting point on that
> wikipedia page.
> Last but not least, looking through canonizer, I do think
> consciousness is approachable by science, but I also think that I am
> not buying the Representational Qualia approach.
> I'm not saying I agree, but I've read some Daniel Dennett and I think
> perhaps that he might be a good starting point to me, when figuring out
> which theory I subscribe to.

Notice that Dennett's current "Predictive Bayesian Coding Theory
is in a supporting sub camp position to RQT
And I've been trying my darndest to get camps for competing theories
started, but people seem reluctant, for some reason.
What is there now is just a concise and quantitative representation of what
the 70+ participants currently believe.
It is changing and progressing as people jump to better camps.  Our
animation system which shows this historical progress over time is about to
go live.
Today, everyone focuses on the disagreements, so everyone thinks everyone
is polarized into one side or the other.
But when you bring that into Canonizer, you focus on what everyone agrees
on, in the super camp.
And push the always less important disagreeable stuff down into supporting
sub camps.
This keeps the focus on the much more important stuff people agree on.
Knowing what the experts agree on, being a casualty of the polarizing war.

> Hmm, maybe I just added more confusion here than I sought to clear up. ;)
> Best regards,
> Daniel
> On Mon, 17 Apr 2023, Brent Allsop via extropy-chat wrote:
> > 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: Representational Qualia Theory. It
> defines consciousness or sentience as:
> >
> >         Computationally bound subjective qualities like redness,
> grenness, warmth.
> >
> > 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
> >       _______________________________________________
> >       extropy-chat mailing list
> >       extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> >       http://lists.extropy.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/extropy-chat
> >
> >
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