[ExI] Symbol Grounding

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Tue Apr 25 08:37:34 UTC 2023

Umberto Eco, that was one of the most profound semioticist called the
grounding problem, "the referential fallacy". Language is just a
self-referential code.


On Tue, Apr 25, 2023 at 12:18 AM Giovanni Santostasi <gsantostasi at gmail.com>

> And here it is GPT like LLM that can interpret photos and even find the
> humor in a picture. Is this enough grounding?
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAjrpYjx0ps
> On Mon, Apr 24, 2023 at 8:45 PM Giovanni Santostasi <gsantostasi at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Brent,
>> Your jargon is impenetrable and also when you use jargon you need to
>> define what you mean. I may not always use the most precise language in the
>> context of these informal emails but I don't use some jargon that I made up
>> myself.
>> For example with  *"The strawberries in the illusion are made of grey
>> elements but our brain says they are red."* I simply mean what the
>> everyday language meaning of these words is. Now I understand that you have
>> a problem with "the brain says they are red". I can explain what this
>> means.
>> Somehow the brain has a "code" for red. That code is actuated in the
>> experience of redness. It is not just a code but it produces an action,
>> exactly like an actuator does. The result of the actuation is the sensation
>> of redness.
>> What the code consist of is almost surely (we have already a lot of
>> evidence to support this) a particular firing pattern in the brain.
>> Consider that this firing pattern is different for each individual up to a
>> point. It is both universal (in the sense that probably involves similar
>> brain regions, sequences, and so on) and also very individualized. These
>> are well-known things in neuroscience it is not that we don't know anything
>> about how these things work.
>> What I was trying to express with "brain says" is that some high-level
>> process in the brain, probably involving the prefrontal cortex alerts the
>> rest of the brain of the presence of the color red in the external
>> environment. And for the color red I really mean the range of wavelengths
>> that we associate with the experience of perceiving red, which you call
>> redness (I even like this term by the way, it is a good contribution to the
>> discussion).
>> But you can see that in the case of the illusion, there is a disconnect
>> between the real physical external information and the interpretation of
>> the brain. This is why an illusion. Something went wrong in the information
>> processing of the brain and it was tricked to assign redness to something
>> that is not red. Something was lost in translation. You claimed many times
>> that to label something RED needs a dictionary and the illusion shows that
>> the perception of red, what you call redness is also a sort of translation
>> and in the case of the strawberry illusion is the wrong translation.
>> Do you understand what I try to communicate?
>> If you have a different argument of what is going on let me understand it
>> but what you wrote in your previous email is not achieving this goal at
>> all. For example, let's take a look at this sentence:
>> *the result is knowledge of strawberries that has a form of that person's
>> redness quality,*I have no clue what you mean, can you try to do what I
>> just did? I told you that I think there is some failure in the usual code
>> that interprets colors (because maybe color association was learned under a
>> certain type of lighting and if you change lighting conditions the code
>> fails), I'm implying that color processing is a complicated and prone to
>> failure process, that is made of the connections between neurons and their
>> exchange of information, filtering, signal processing and so on and on.
>> This is not even an invention of mine, we know this is more or less how
>> the brain works. We maybe do not to the point where it is fully understood
>> in all the details (neuroscience is like that, it can be pretty vague in
>> comparison with physics for example) but we know the general principles. We
>> have enough experience with how we process data via signal processing,
>> coding, and neural network to realize that these types of illusions are to
>> be expected, it is actually a miracle they don't happen more often.
>> While what you do is only use a few jargon words.
>> Can you explain a plausible mechanism that is consistent with your view
>> that redness is caused by a specific physical milieu at the level of a
>> particular neurotransmitter or similar stuff and that can account for the
>> existence of the illusion?
>> If not then your interpretation of redness is useless and not connected
>> with reality.
>> Giovanni
>> On Mon, Apr 24, 2023 at 8:09 PM Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> There are diverse physical and subjective properties I need to refer to,
>>> which can't be unambiguously referred to without some new jargon.  So I
>>> don't know how  you want me to achieve that.  For example, when you say:
>>> "The strawberries in the illusion are made of grey elements but our brain
>>> says they are red."  Certainly "says they are red" is made up terminology.
>>> What do you mean by "say"  And when you say "red', that is completely
>>> ambiguous.  Which 'red' property are you referring to, hopefully not the
>>> light?  Is it not far more precise to simply say: "The image of the
>>> strawberries is emitting a pattern of grey light, and the result is
>>> knowledge of strawberries that has a form of that person's redness quality,
>>> at least if that person is not suffering from achromatopsia, or even red
>>> green colorblindness.
>>> And no, everything you say still seems to me to confirm that the
>>> perception system is just rendering knowledge which has any quality it
>>> wants.  I have no idea what physics in our brain is responsible for my
>>> knowledge of the strawberries, but I know, absolutely, that my knowledge of
>>> them has a redness quality, even if it is a bit of an odd redness.  Maybe,
>>> I should substitute the word "render" with "say", when talking to you?
>>> On Mon, Apr 24, 2023 at 5:40 PM Giovanni Santostasi <
>>> gsantostasi at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Brent,
>>>> I explained in detail why all these optical illusions support the
>>>> functionalist position. The color sensation is not a 1 to 1 causal chain
>>>> otherwise the brain would not be tricked by these illusions. The
>>>> strawberries in the illusion are made of grey elements but our brain says
>>>> they are red. If there was a simple chemical substance responsible for the
>>>> sensation of red when we our visual system receives light in a given
>>>> frequency range these illusions should not be possible. They are possible
>>>> because the perception of color is a complex and intricate phenomenon that
>>>> requires the orchestrations of many brain regions in a self-referential
>>>> loop. This is also explained in the video. The brain takes in a lot of
>>>> information, including the frequency of light reflected by the objects, the
>>>> surrounding light, the presence of other colors nearby, the shape of the
>>>> object, the nature of the object (the fact they are strawberries), it uses
>>>> the memory of similar light conditions (this why people that are owls see
>>>> the dress as blue and black why larks see gold and white). All this
>>>> indicates that the processes, the interactions, the loops, the high-level
>>>> interpretation (similar to uttering RED) is what counts. Don't you get it?
>>>> It really blows my mind you don't.
>>>> *The brain is just choosing to reindeer whatever quality it wants into
>>>> consciousness, despite the  noisy and distorted light entering the eyes*
>>>> How does the brain does this choice and what that has to do with
>>>> substratum-dependent redness? I agree that the brain decides what to render
>>>> that is what these illusions try to show but it is the opposite of what you
>>>> claim, the brain creates the noise. The signal is clear, there is a region
>>>> of grey light coming into our visual system that happens to have the shape
>>>> of strawberries, the light conditions are unusual so the brain doesn't know
>>>> how to handle what it sees and it comes up with a "story", it is the
>>>> equivalent of confabulation. If you were an animal whose life depended
>>>> on eating these strawberries you will have wasted precious resources to get
>>>> them given they are fake strawberries.
>>>> It doesn't show how robust the visual system is but on the contrary, it
>>>> shows that as amazing as the visual system is it is very fallible as every
>>>> complex system is. It shows you that indeed redness is a color for what the
>>>> brain thinks is a particular phenomenon but this detection is quite
>>>> imperfect.
>>>> Does this clarify how the illusion proves once and for all that your
>>>> naive understanding of redness is profoundly flawed?
>>>> If not please give a well-reasoned argument of how a
>>>> substratum-dependent understanding of redness can cause these illusions.
>>>> But please stop using your own invented jargon.
>>>> Giovanni
>>>> On Mon, Apr 24, 2023 at 4:18 PM Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Yes, I watched it, and I don't understand how you think this proves
>>>>> functionalism.  This is exactly the kind of stuff which "qualia are
>>>>> physical qualities" is predicting.
>>>>> Take this optical illusion, for example:
>>>>> [image: teaser-adelson-01.jpg]
>>>>> Even though the light emitting from square A is the same as square B,
>>>>> the perception system realizes one is in a shadow, so it adjusts the color
>>>>> it renders into consciousness, to better reflect reality, despite one being
>>>>> in the shade.  It's all the same stuff with the video.  The brain is just
>>>>> choosing to reindeer whatever quality it wants into consciousness, despite
>>>>> the  noisy and distorted light entering the eyes.
>>>>> On Mon, Apr 24, 2023 at 3:20 PM Giovanni Santostasi <
>>>>> gsantostasi at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>> Brent,
>>>>>> Did you watch the video about color constancy I linked previously?
>>>>>> They did something much more clever than what you propose and they showed
>>>>>> that people can interpret grey as red under certain conditions. Doesn't
>>>>>> this answer everything you need to know about this topic of redness and
>>>>>> greenness?
>>>>>> Giovanni
>>>>>> On Mon, Apr 24, 2023 at 7:26 AM Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> Hi Giovanni,
>>>>>>> Yes, for sure, that is all I am asking for.   The more rigorous,
>>>>>>> clear, and non black box, the better.  THANK YOU.
>>>>>>> [image: The_Strawberry_is_Red_064.jpg]
>>>>>>> It's a simple inversion of the red signa wirel in a color video
>>>>>>> stream being plugged into the green socket, and vice versa, as illustrated
>>>>>>> in the A version, above.
>>>>>>> Or it is an app, running on a phone that changes redness to
>>>>>>> greenness, and vice versa, as illustrated with B, in the image.
>>>>>>> A and B are functionally the same, (their dictionary for what they
>>>>>>> should represent 'red' knowledge with is inverted) and they both result in
>>>>>>> the strawberry seeming to be green, instead of red.
>>>>>>> So, in the A example, red light, reflected off of the strawberry is
>>>>>>> landing on the retina.  The question is, what is the seeming greenness?
>>>>>>> On Mon, Apr 24, 2023 at 12:04 AM Giovanni Santostasi <
>>>>>>> gsantostasi at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>>>> Brent,
>>>>>>>> Ok, let's play your game. Explain in detail how your magical
>>>>>>>> converter works. You cannot say it is a black box and you don't care how it
>>>>>>>> works. There is a precise reason I demand a precise description because I
>>>>>>>> actually want to make an important point on the basis of your response. If
>>>>>>>> you have no idea of course you can say you have no idea.
>>>>>>>> Let's start from there.
>>>>>>>> Please go ahead.
>>>>>>>> Giovanni
>>>>>>>> On Sun, Apr 23, 2023 at 11:19 AM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
>>>>>>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> On Sun, Apr 23, 2023 at 2:38 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
>>>>>>>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> As for Brent's strawberry fetish etc., I've given up trying to
>>>>>>>>>> make
>>>>>>>>>> sense of his impenetrable jargon. Plenty of people have explained
>>>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>>>> him, at painful length, "doing what you've always done will get
>>>>>>>>>> you what
>>>>>>>>>> you've always got", but he just won't listen.
>>>>>>>>>> But, yes, his diagram is the same as mine, just with a couple of
>>>>>>>>>> details
>>>>>>>>>> pulled out, and focusing only on vision. The eyes and 'perception
>>>>>>>>>> process' are one of my arrows from the left, the 3D strawberry
>>>>>>>>>> model
>>>>>>>>>> should be one of the bubbles. What 'composed of subjective
>>>>>>>>>> qualities'
>>>>>>>>>> actually means is anybody's guess really. I strongly suspect it
>>>>>>>>>> doesn't
>>>>>>>>>> mean anything at all.
>>>>>>>>> I am simply asking the question, where IF you put a red / green
>>>>>>>>> signal inverter between the retina and the optic nerve there will be red
>>>>>>>>> light from the strawberry landing on the retina, yet the strawberry will
>>>>>>>>> seem green.
>>>>>>>>> I'm just asking, what is that grenness seeming?
>>>>>>>>> On Sun, Apr 23, 2023 at 3:52 AM Giovanni Santostasi via
>>>>>>>>> extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> The directness and vividness of the experience are just an
>>>>>>>>>> illusion.
>>>>>>>>> Exactly, and what is this vivid greeness illusion of a red
>>>>>>>>> strawberry?
>>>>>>>>> That is all I'm asking.
>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>> extropy-chat mailing list
>>>>>>>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
>>>>>>>>> http://lists.extropy.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/extropy-chat
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