[ExI] Digital Consciousness .

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Mon Apr 29 01:43:04 UTC 2013

On Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 9:09 AM, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at canonizer.com>wrote:

> Hi Kelly,
> Yes, me fully understanding you, and having the ability to talk from
> within your world view is critical to me being able to communicate to you,
> so I appreciate your patience with my attempts to better understand your
> working hypothesis.

Ok, I'll keep going then... :-)

But still, the map is only like the territory, to the degree that you are
> interpreting it as such.

Second Life is new territory. It is not a map of this world, it is a new
and different world that only has some similarities to this world. A
simulated brain might not have exactly the same internal experience in some
fashion, but if it has identical outputs for identical inputs to a real
brain, then is there really any difference that anyone outside of that
brain should care about?

> Also, it only hurts because there are still a few missing pieces in the
> puzzle or theory that enables you to fully understand things.  Once you
> develop the appropriate models, everything suddenly makes sense, and
> everything becomes easy (except trying to explain such to others that also
> don't quite have a complete model.)

LOL. Sure, I can see that it is frustrating.

> <<
> Again, I get the quale that you are talking in circles.
> >>
> There are no circles at all in my model.

Ok, circles is a bit harsh. What I get from your description seems self
consistent. It just doesn't track to my model.

> It's all about what, where, and how is an elemental redness quale, and
> what are the necessary and sufficient neural correlates, of such.  What are
> the necessary and sufficient conditions we must observe in someone's brain,
> to reliably know and predict she is or isn't experiencing my redness
> quale.  Nothing circular in any of that.

Do you think you can tell if someone/something is or is not experiencing a
quale from outside? If so how?

> When I hear you try to describe your working models, all I see is a big
> missing puzzle piece here.  To me, you are the one talking in circles.  You
> say an elemental redness quale can 'arise' from a set of ones and zeros,
> and to me that just sounds like "a miracle happens here" that can't be
> explained, argument.

Can you explain how consciousness and qualia arise from collections of
neurons? That is the closest thing to magic that I am aware of on this
planet. If we get to the point of removing the magic and replacing that
with science, then and only then will we know enough to determine what's
happening inside of another sort of head.

> Tell me, without being circular, how and why a redness quale can 'arize'
> from a set of ones and zeros.  And how is a particular set of ones and
> zeros, from which a redness quale arises different from a set from which a
> greenness quale arises.  And most importantly, how are you going to come up
> with a set of ones and zeros to come up with a new elemental quale you have
> never experienced before?  Your theory doesn't account for any of that at
> all, that I can see.

 Ok. Let me kind of back up and explain my view of it from the bottom up.

The key element is emergence. When you put together a large number of
similar simple parts following the same set of rules, sometimes you get
emergent behavior. This is true of termite mounds, army ant colonies,
neurons, economies, cities, biological evolution and many other things
observable in the natural and also in the artificial worlds we create
(Wikipedia being a nice example of the latter).

Emergence is not magic, as we see it happen all the time. However, it is
mysterious because we don't have rules that tell us how to set up rules
that create emergent behaviors of a type we desire. There is no base theory
for emergence. We just notice it when it is there. In that sense, it is
similar to mathematical chaos, which other than requiring non-linear
systems, is not highly predictable, and is also difficult to differentiate
from randomness, which is different.

So there are realms where chaos reigns, realms where randomness reigns,
realms with too much order to be interesting, and the border between these
realms seems to be where emergence reigns, and all of the stuff we all find
very interesting really happens.

Just because there is no predictive science behind emergence doesn't mean
that it doesn't happen, just that we can't predict when it will occur. I
can't predict when qualia will arise from emulated brains, or from brains
that are based on a wholly different architecture. I can tell you that such
emergence is likely to occur at some point, and that the results of it will
likely surprise us all.

As a computer scientist, I understand that programs often surprise their
writers. Especially in the areas of AI. It is not an exact science, but
should we really expect it to be? If this strikes you as magical thinking,
then so be it. But I see most of the beauty in the world arising from
emergence. I see no reason this should not continue to be the case in the
future. Perhaps people don't have enough capacity to understand how we
ourselves actually work. There are likely things the human mind is simply
unprepared to cogitate upon. Or, maybe we just have to learn more.

In any case, I look forward to a future where we know more about the
mysteries that lie at the heart of nature.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20130428/66b094e7/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list