[ExI] Symbol Grounding

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at gmail.com
Wed Apr 26 13:04:21 UTC 2023

Hi Henry,
Welcome to the conversation, it is good to have other people weigh in on
this, as required to better understand how everyone currently thinks about
what we are.
It took me some time to digest what you are saying.  I think I understand,
so I want to say it back to you to see if I understand it.

First, let me see if I can summarize the primary disagreement in this
entire conversation.  It now appears there are some things both camps can
now agree on, we  just have differing values about what is important.  I
think Giovani captured this brilliantly with:

“This is again a demonstration of the validity of the functionalist
understanding of brain function. All I [functionalists] care about is the
association, not how it feels to have the redness experience but how
generalized it is.”

So, Henry, you indicated the Perceiving a Strawberry
video was thought provoking.  Perhaps it got you to realize there are
qualities or properties of subjective knowledge,  you are just indicating
that external consistency in our ability to communicate about the nature of
reality out there is more important than any property or type of code any
intelligence may be using to represent that knowledge, in their brain.

In other words, it seems to me that all the functionalists value is that we
can all say: "The Strawberry is Red"  (as portrayed in this image) while
some of us value the nature of the knowledge inside the brain, which
enables us to all say: "The strawberry is red."

[image: The_Strawberry_is_Red_064.jpg]

Henry, Giovani, and everyone.  Does that capture the differences between
the substrate independent, and substrate dependent camps?
We all agree on the facts portrayed in this image, we are just valuing
different parts of it, and some of us want to ignore other parts of it.

On Tue, Apr 25, 2023 at 9:45 PM Henry Rivera via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> I really liked that video about the red strawberries. It's
> thought-provoking. I'm curious to get Brent's response. Maybe color is the
> wrong simple example to use for communicating about qualia. It worked well
> enough until we realized color perception is a subjective contextual
> process that did not evolve to favor reflecting (consensus) reality.
> Perceived color constancy is more important, that is, has been more
> adaptive for us. How about them apples... or strawberries.
> To quote my late friend and rapper Sean Byrne: "Nothing exists except for
> your perception, the pain of the past only serves as a lesson."
> -Henry
> On Mon, Apr 24, 2023 at 7:00 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> Hi Jason,
>> On Mon, Apr 24, 2023 at 3:09 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> as in say the strawberry is red, but it would answer the question: "What
>>>> is redness like for you." differently.
>>> I don't see why they would answer this question differently if
>>> everything got inverted, including all emotional associations. If you
>>> changed only the word, but left the emotional associations as they were,
>>> then you could perhaps get different descriptions.
>> I'm skipping a bunch of stuff that I think is less important, and
>> focusing on what I think is most important, but if I skip over something
>> important, don't let me brush over it.
>> Giovani, evidently you think even a person engineered to have red / green
>> qualia inversion, you would consider them to be indistinguishable, and that
>> the quality difference of the subjective knowledge wouldn't matter?
>> It sounds like Jason at least thinks the two would be qualitatively
>> different, and this difference is important, if you are asking what his
>> redness is like for each of them.  Jason just has a problem with how we
>> would know, or how he would report that.  For the moment, can we just say
>> we are God, for a bit.  And we can know if the redness is now greenness,
>> even though the person wouldn't know, since all of his memories and
>> references have been remapped.
>> The prediction is the future, we will be able to read people's minds, and
>> objectively observe whether it is Jason's redness, or Jason's greenness,
>> via neural ponytails, or whatever.
>> The critically important part is we need to focus on only the important
>> thing, the quality of the redness.  Not what the person thinks that quality
>> is called, whether he is lying or whatever.  Let's only focus on the
>> quality of the redness experiences.  Would God say that quality has changed
>> or not, regardless of what the person says.
>> So, again, if you engineered someone to be a qualia invert.  God could
>> honestly tell those two people that one's redness was like the other's
>> grenness.
>> And even though they would function differently, when asked what is
>> redness like for you, they would know, since God told them, that their
>> redness was like the other's greenness, so despite them being otherwise
>> identical, they were qualitatively different.
>> So, would you agree that the quality of their consciousness is dependent
>> on what their redness is like, and if one redness quality is like the
>> other's greenness, that would be important and objectively observable?
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