[ExI] Digital Consciousness .

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun Apr 28 12:58:05 UTC 2013

On 28/04/2013, at 1:55 PM, Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 11:08 PM, Stathis Papaioannou
> <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> As I have explained, it is not fading qualia as such that is the problem.
>> Qualia would fade and disappear with progressive brain damage. The problem
>> is fading qualia that you cannot notice and that bring about no change in
>> behaviour.
> ### Well, this unnoticeable loss of qualia never happened to me ("I"
> would have noticed, I am good at feeling my own qualia) but it could
> be a daily occurrence to billions of humans. However, since all of
> them seem to be able to interact well with me, whether they
> unnoticeably (to me and to them) lose their qualia or not, I would be
> inclined to see it as a minor problem, if any.
> You may notice the above is tongue-in-cheek but the point I am trying
> to get across is actually serious. Why would anybody care about
> something that by definition is completely unconnected to to anything
> in our lives? (which consist of subjective existence and "objective"
> behavior, objective in the sense of being the subject of other beings
> perceptions and thinking)
> ---------------------
>> The more serious problem, however, is what it would mean if your qualia can
>> fade and disappear without you noticing. Your visual cortex could be
>> replaced with an artificial one you would declare that you could see
>> normally, describe scenes normally, watch films and are laugh at the funny
>> parts and be scared at the scary parts. Essentially, this would mean qualia
>> do not exist, as they make neither a subjective or objective difference.
>> Would you be happy with that conclusion?
> ### Describing a scene always involves referring to different qualia
> ("red" riding hood, "cute" chick), so if you truthfully describe a
> movie fed through a mechanical device that replaced your visual
> processing centers, then you, a combination of the mechanical and the
> neuronal, are experiencing qualia.

I agree that it would be absurd to say that the qualia are fading if this makes no subjective or objective difference. This is why I think it is impossible to reproduce the behaviour of a brain component without also reproducing any associated consciousness.

>> Even weirder would be if your behaviour was unchanged but you did notice
>> your qualia had changed. You would desperately be trying to tell everyone
>> you were blind but your vocal cords would not obey you, and you would
>> observe helplessly as they said everything was fine and describe perfectly
>> things you could not see. Would you be happy with that conclusion?
> ### Now, this situation would require non-equivalent substitution of
> parts of your mind, and therefore would not be a valid consideration
> in this context.

It would mean that you were thinking with something other than your brain, which is not impossible, but does go contrary to all scientific evidence.

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