[ExI] Symbol Grounding

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Sun Apr 23 03:25:02 UTC 2023

*my subjective experience is a 3D model*Your subjective experience happens
because of a material substratum, and it is real, I agree with that. There
are chemical reactions, electrical pulses, ions moved from one place to
another, and electro-mechanical events like ion pumps closing and opening.

 But that is NOT your subjective experience. It is what supports it. It is
like going inside a computer and pointing to all the electrical activity,
all the zeros and ones going on and off, and saying this is the video game
I'm playing. Yes, it is but it is a trivial statement and doesn't help us
understand what the video is about.

 It doesn't give us any insight on the narrative of the video game, the
rule of how to play it, the final objective. The material substratum is not
where we are going to find consciousness.

It is in a sense irrelevant. Physiology has many alternative paths, if one
doesn't work it finds another way. Also, every functionalist will tell you
that I can substitute any of these physical processes with a digital
equivalent and I should be able to obtain the same result. There are a lot
of logical arguments and real experiments that show this is the case, it is
not just a nice theory.

 I never heard of anybody that makes these crazy claims that meat brains
are necessary for consciousness explain exactly what is special about meat
brains to sustain consciousness that a digital equivalent cannot do.

In fact, digital equivalents could do it better because they go to the
essence of what is important to the phenomenon. I gave you the example of

To me, somebody that insists that meat brains are essential for
consciousness is like somebody that insists that feathers or flapping wings
are essential for flight. They are not, these things are some of the
solutions of natural selection related to the problem of flight but they
are not ideal or optimal. Airplanes have no feathers or flapping wings and
they are more efficient in flight than the best flying animals (there are
some niche flying applications like hovering, flying backward and so on
where we can learn from nature but you know what I mean).

There is much resistance in this group toward insisting on some particular
material setup in the brain that is responsible for conscious experience
because not just our intuition but our knowledge of neuroscience, physics,
and computation is at odds with this particular notion. It is not that we
don't believe stuff happens in the brain that underlies consciousness but
this stuff is not essential in understanding what consciousness is. The
secret of consciousness is not in the glutamate (or whatever) like the
secret of flight is not in the feathers of birds.

On Sat, Apr 22, 2023 at 7:34 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Hi Giovanni,
> Will gave some great advice.  Everything I say is just my opinion.  And I
> should especially be humble around all the people on this list, who are all
> so intelligent, in most cases far more intelligent than I.  And I am
> clearly in the minority.  So, what I say here, is just my opinion.  I
> appreciate everyone's patience with me.
> Giovanni, there are a bunch of ways of interpreting what you are saying
> here, and I don't know which interpretation to use.
> It seems to me, when I look at a strawberry, my subjective experience is a
> 3D model, composed of subjective qualities.  Are you saying that doesn't
> exist?
> Are you saying that Steven Lehar's bubble
> <https://canonizer.com/videos/consciousness?chapter=the+world+in+your+head&format=360>
> world
> <https://canonizer.com/videos/consciousness?chapter=the+world+in+your+head&format=360>,
> doesn't exist?  And are you saying that when there is a single pixel, on
> the surface of the strawberry, switching between redness and greenness,
> there is not something in the brain, which is your knowledge of that
> change, and all the other pixels that make up the 3D awareness, which, yes,
> is a model that represents every pixel of the strawberry, out there?
> On Sat, Apr 22, 2023 at 4:36 PM Giovanni Santostasi <gsantostasi at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Hi Brent,
>> There is something very wrong with your drawing. The arrow from Complex
>> Perception Process (CPP) to the 3D model doesn't exist. I think that is the
>> key to all our clashes (not just mine but almost everybody else on the
>> list), also you don't need the language centers or just make it a bubble in
>> the conceptual models' cloud. Language is just another conceptual model
>> among the others. What you call a 3D model composed of subjective qualities
>> is identical to that cloud of "conceptual models". I know it sounds weird
>> to you but what you see with your eyes is in a sense a model, it is not
>> made with words but images and colors and so on but that is the vocabulary
>> of the visual system. It is another form of language. It is a model because
>> it is re-created using some algorithm that interprets and manipulates the
>> information received, it filters what is not needed and makes
>> interpolations to make sense of the data.
>> Giovanni
>> On Fri, Apr 21, 2023 at 2:01 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> Your model is based on a Naive Realism model.
>>> Here is a representational model which will actually be possible without
>>> magic:
>>> [image: image.png]
>>> On Fri, Apr 21, 2023 at 5:19 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>> Here is a diagram (because I'm generally a visual person, and can
>>>> usually understand things if I can draw them):
>>>> A very general, high-level and crude diagram that tries to illustrate
>>>> the concept of 'symbol grounding' as I understand it, from these
>>>> discussions we've been having. Plus an arrow representing output of speech
>>>> or text, or anything really, that the system is capable of outputting
>>>> (obviously there's a hell of a lot going on in every single element in the
>>>> diagram, that I'm ignoring for simplicity's sake).
>>>> As far as I understand, the 'symbol grounding' occurs between the
>>>> conceptual models (built up from sensory inputs and memories) and the
>>>> language centres (containing linguistic 'tokens', or symbols), as we've
>>>> previously agreed.
>>>> There are two arrows here because the models can be based on or include
>>>> data from the language centres as well as from the environment. The symbols
>>>> (tokens) in the language centres represent, and are 'grounded in', the
>>>> conceptual models (these are the object and action models I've discussed
>>>> earlier, and likely other types of models, too, and would include a
>>>> 'self-model' if the system has one, linked to the token "I").
>>>> The sensory inputs are of various modalities like vision, sounds, text,
>>>> and so-on (whatever the system's sensors are capable of perceiving and
>>>> encoding), and of course will be processed in a variety of ways to extract
>>>> 'features' and combine them in various ways, etc.
>>>> I didn't include something to represent Memory, to keep things as
>>>> simple as possible.
>>>> So, could we say that this diagram illustrates, in a very general way,
>>>> what's going on in a human? in a LLM AI? Both? Neither?
>>>> Would you say it's broadly correct, or missing something, or incorrect
>>>> in another way?
>>>> Ben
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