[ExI] Digital Consciousness .

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Tue Apr 30 03:16:08 UTC 2013

On Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 9:36 AM, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 8:53 AM, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> It's synonymous with "experience". Do you disbelieve in that as well?
> I don't disbelieve.  I mostly just avoid discussing it.
> I had a dialog go through my head this morning that reminded me of
> something Hofstadter would write:
> "Do you like cake?" asked the baker.
> "I'm not sure, what is cake?" asked the tortoise.
> "Surely in all your years you've eaten cake"
> "Perhaps I have, what is it made of?"
> "Carrot cake is made with carrots, chocolate cake is made with chocolate"
> "So cake is named after the ingredients?"
> "Not always.  Sponge cake is not made of sponges, nor is red velvet
> cake made of red velvet"
> "I am still confused, what is cake?"
> That made me realize the concept of qualia isn't actually a thing that
> can be touched.  It can be understood from many examples, like the
> "redness of red" or whatever other explanation is offered.  However,
> the agreement of understanding is usually problematic because language
> does a poor job of succinctly expressing internal states in an
> objective way.  So instead we go 20 rounds of proposition,
> confirmation, re-proposition, re-confirmation.
> "Do you like cheeseburgers?"
> "Oh yes, they're very tasty"
> "Do you enjoy them with ketchup?"
> "Very much, we have a great deal in common"
> "Yeah, I like my cheeseburgers with salt"
> "Well that's weird, I don't put salt on mine"
> "Don't you like when they're deep fried in fresh oil?"
> "What?  No, you don't deep fry cheeseburgers"
> "Oh... that's how they make them at my local diner"
> "Seriously?  it's weird to deep fry beef"
> "Beef?  That's disgusting!  Cheeseburgers are made of potato"
> "French Fies are made out of potato... and are served with Cheeseburgers"
> "Oh, I use a different word for that sandwich that comes with my Cheeseburgers"
> If the above conversation ended after the 4th line, there would be no
> indication that the two speakers were not discussing the same concept.
>  It takes much more "this is not that" to achieve consensus on the
> meaning of terms.
> This is also a difficult problem to solve teaching machines to
> interact with us.  From where does the meaning of terms come?
> So I've used many words already and still haven't conveyed much about
> qualia.  I propose I've done no better or worse than average.  :)

If I say "I've gone blind" you know what I mean, everyone knows what I
mean. And if I've gone blind because I've had a stroke, and ask the
doctor if I'll be able to see normally with an artificial visual
cortex, he'll know what I mean by "see normally". He won't engage in a
philosophical discussion about the nature of visual qualia.

Stathis Papaioannou

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