[ExI] Symbol Grounding

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Sat Apr 29 09:25:12 UTC 2023

Giovanni, it looks as if you think that Brent wrote this. He didn't, I did.

But fair enough, if I'm not making my point very well, I'll expand on it 
later. Got to go now, Oil be Bach.


On 29/04/2023 10:19, Giovanni Santostasi wrote:
> *A brick doesn't produce a housing estate, a xylem cell doesn't produce a
> tree, am I getting my point across yet?
> *No, you don't really.
> It seems I have to explain things on both directions yours and mine. 
> Can you write full sentences that go through the details of what you 
> are trying to convey without using "poetic" language? Even your 
> inverter examples, your pictures of the strawberries are not precise, 
> they don't go to the core of mechanisms. I'm not sure how to explain 
> this to you.
> Let me try with the sentences above.
> I need first of all "translate" or guess what you mean with produce. 
> Do you mean a bunch of bricks in the field do not spontaneously come 
> together and form a house (also why use housing estate when a house 
> would be enough, simplify to make things easier). For sure the bricks 
> make up the house as components, do we agree on that?
> If you are saying the bricks do not come together to form a house I 
> agree but we know how to put together bricks to form a house and one 
> could explain the process step by step. That would be a scientific 
> explanation of how to "produce" a house. As I explained many times it 
> is not just the component but the process, the interactions, the 
> mechanisms. This is why we insist on function. The process of building 
> the house is the explanation. The materials are not important, I could 
> use other materials besides bricks.
> When we say the firing of the neurons are where consciousness is we 
> mean of course that this firing transfers information from neuron to 
> neuron, the neuron process, add, subtract, and interprets the 
> information. These processes together are the "production" of the 
> house. Do we know the details of this "production"? No, but we know 
> that it is what matters. I never saw a house come together but I know 
> the real house was built by a process and its components are not what 
> matters. To me your position seems the opposite of this, you emphasize 
> the components, not the processes, it is the functionalists that do.
> In addition, consciousness is actually more similar to the tree 
> process than the house process. In fact, the house needs an external 
> agent to come together but the tree doesn't. It achieves the goal by 
> cell multiplication and following the blueprint of the DNA. The reason 
> why I don't think consciousness (and even more qualia) are not this 
> big deal is that we already know of a very self-referential, emergent 
> process and we call it LIFE.
> LIFE and consciousness are probably very similar in terms of being 
> more than the sum of the parts, emergent, self-referential, apparently 
> mysterious, and mostly made of code and transfer of information. Yes, 
> the particular type of life we have on earth depends on specific 
> materials and even elements like carbon, water, and amino-acids but 
> while it is important to understand the role of these components to 
> understand terrestrial life, it is not what the essence of life is. It 
> is what life does that is important and it is all about information 
> encoding, processing, and transferring. The materials can be 
> substituted by others and in fact, we are already successful in making 
> artificial life that doesn't require these materials and we can also 
> simulate life processes pretty closely and completely digitally.
> So in all your example, the function, the interaction between the 
> parts, the connection, the information is the essential ingredient. It 
> is us that is insisting on this but not it seems from your last email 
> is you that says it is what is important.
> If not go ahead and explain.
> I would like to see an explanation regarding these mundane examples 
> because I think we can understand better than talking about something 
> as complex as consciousness.
> Please go ahead and tell me the answers from your point of view of the 
> riddles about the house, tree, and Eiffel Tower. I told you what is my 
> answer.
> Giovanni
> On Sat, Apr 29, 2023 at 1:37 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat 
> <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>     On 29/04/2023 07:49, Brent Allsop wrote:
>     > All spike trails or trains, or whatever, begin and end with
>     > neurotransmitters being dumped into a synapse, right? Seems to me
>     > that someone who predicts someone's [experience of red] is more
>     likely
>     > to be spike trains, than [...] a chemical in a synapse, like
>     Giovani,
>     > has no ability to understand or model [experiences].  How the heck
>     > could a train of spikes produce a redness experience?
>     How the heck could a pixel on a screen produce a picture of a
>     field of
>     flowers?
>     How the heck could a digital number produce a word processor document?
>     How the heck could a single note on an oboe produce a symphony?
>     If i wanted to show that pixels can't give rise to pictures, numbers
>     can't give rise to novels, or single notes can't give rise to
>     symphonies, these are the kind of questions I'd ask, in order to
>     direct
>     the reader's attention to the wrong thing.
>     This also applies to molecules of neurotransmitter in a synapse
>     producing an experience.
>     A brick doesn't produce a housing estate, a xylem cell doesn't
>     produce a
>     tree, am I getting my point across yet?
>     You have a warehouse full of steel girders and you want to build the
>     eiffel tower. What's the missing essential ingredient? (no, it's not
>     rivets).
>     Ben
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