[ExI] Symbol Grounding

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Tue Apr 25 01:37:29 UTC 2023

Quoting Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>:

> On Sun, Apr 23, 2023 at 4:43 PM Stuart LaForge via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> Quoting Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>:
>> > This is so frustrating.  I'm asking a simple, elementary school level
>> > question.
>> So you think that the Hard Problem of Consciousness reframed as a your
>> so-called "Colorness Problem" is an elementary school level question?
>> Then maybe you should quit bugging us about it and seek the advice of
>> elementary school children.
> I am working with those people that do get it.  Now, more than 40 of them,
> including leaders in the field like Steven Lehar
> <https://canonizer.com/topic/81-Mind-Experts/4-Steven-Lehar>, are
> supporting the camp that says so.  Even Dennett's Predictive Bayesian
> coding Theory
> <https://canonizer.com/topic/88-Theories-of-Consciousness/21-Dennett-s-PBC-Theory>
> is a supporting sub camp, demonstrating the progress we are making.
> Gordon, would you be willing to support RQT.

What in one sentence or less do you ALL agree on? Is it the  
substrate-dependance of consciousness? To the literal point that you  
believe the quality of redness itself has a substrate?

> <https://canonizer.com/topic/88-Theories-of-Consciousness/6-Representational-Qualia>?
> The elementary school kids are telling us, plug things into the brain, till
> you find what it is that has a redness quality.  So, we are collecting the
> signature, and once we get enough, experimentalists will finally get the
> message and then start doing this, and eventually be able to demonstrate to
> everyone what it is that has a  [image: red_border.png] property.  To my
> understanding, that is how science works.

Plug things into the brain? Into whose brain? Yours? If you signed a  
waiver or other contract to limit their liability and indemnity, then  
maybe one of the medical doctors we know on the list might be  
persuaded to plug or inject stuff into your brain, maybe on a boat in  
international waters, or something. You could pay them to start at  
glutamate and gradually work their way up through LSD to DMT. A  
serious research paper could be written from something like that.

> The reason I am bugging you functionalists is because I desperately want to
> understand how everyone thinks about consciousness, especially the leading
> popular consensus functionalism camps. Giovani seems to be saying that in
> this functionalists. To say there is no color in the world is just insane.

Why do you keep lumping me in with functionalists? I have arguments  
for substrate-dependance that you can scarcely imagine, yet you think  
you know so much about me as to dare pigeon-hole me as a  
functionalist. Who are you who know so much about biology and medicine  
that you are able to gainsay Mds, PhDs, and MD/PhDs? Your argument is  
weak compared to that of the functionalists on this list and you feign  
that it is people with IQs 2 or more standard deviations above the  
mean that don't understand YOU and your weak argument?

> You seem to be
> at least saying something better than that, but as far as I can see, your
> answers are just more interpretations of interpretations, no place is there
> any grounding. You did get close to a grounded answer when I asked how
> the word 'red' can be associated with [image: green_border.png].Your
> reply was  "at some point during the chatbot's training the English word
> red was associated with *the picture in question*."   But "*the picture in
> question*" could be referring to at least 4 different things.  It could be
> associated with the LEDs emitting the 500 nm light.  It could be the 500 nm
> light, which "the picture" is emitting, or it could be associated with your
> knowledge of   [image: green_border.png]. in which case it would have the
> same quality as your knowledge of that, or it could be associated with
> someone that was engineered to be your inverted knowledge (has a red /
> green signal inverter between its retina and optic nerve), in which case,
> it would be like your knowledge of [image: red_border.png].  So, if that is
> indeed your answer, which one of these 4 things are you referring to?  Is
> it something else?

If you are the one training the AI, then it is up to you which  
"picture" of red you train it on and that will be its quality of red  
thereafter. Sort of like human children and religion in that regard.  
Also, why do you assume I am a functionalist? Don't get me wrong, the  
functionalists on the list have a superior argument to yours.

> You guys accuse me of being non scientific.  But all I want to know is how
> would a functionalist demonstrate, or falsify functionalist claims about
> color qualities, precisely because I want to be scientific.  Do you believe
> you have explained how functionalism predictions about color qualities
> could be falsified or demonstrated, within functionalist doctrines?

Yes, absolutely. Here is a thought experiment that could, but probably  
shouldn't, be conducted in reality. It demonstrates clearly that  
functionalism is necessary regardless of if there is  
substrate-dependance for consciousness.

Quite simply, if glutamate and all the "stuff" in your brain was what  
carried the quality of redness, greeness, coldness, sourness, etc.  
then we should be able to surgically excise your cerebrum and  
cerebellum from your brainstem and put them into a blender. Your heart  
will never have stopped beating and you should have been able to  
breath on your own throughout. Then we could pour the resultant  
brain-smoothie back into your skull, suture you up, and wait for you  
to regain consciousness. You would still register a pulse, but you  
would no longer know redness, sweetness, dampness, or Brentness  
despite the fact that your skull contains all the same "stuff" it  
originally did. That means even IF substrate-dependance is true, it  
nonetheless requires the organized structures of functionalism to be  
at all useful.

> If
> so, I haven't seen it yet.  So please help, as all I see is you guys
> saying, over and over again, that you don't need to provide an unambiguous
> way to demonstrate what it is that has this quality: [image: red_border.png],
> or even worse functionalism is predicting that color doesn't exist.  As if
> saying things like that, over and over again, makes them true?

Think about my thought experiment. Think about how it proves that  
functionalism is true regardless of substrate-dependance which is AT  
BEST necessary-but-not-sufficient. And don't presume to know what I  

Stuart LaForge

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