[ExI] Digital Consciousness .

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Tue Apr 30 14:26:46 UTC 2013

On Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 11:16 PM, Stathis Papaioannou
<stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.

Right - that's good too.  We wouldn't ever accomplish anything if we
had to confirm qualia before starting work.  :)

I think it's an interesting observation that we manage to get through
our day understanding so little of the world around us.  I know most
of the readers on this list reject that concept, so apply it instead
to "average proles."    If an employee encounters a paper jam in one
of our printers, despite the fact that on-screen diagnostics shows
pictures of what levers to turn/pull and literally describes the
jam-clearing process the hapless office cog will inevitably create a
helpdesk ticket for "someone in IT to fix the printer"  They don't
_need_ to understand the magical principles that drive the world
today.  A similar situation exists with our cars:  as far as I really
_need_ to know, it is the turning of the ignition key that makes the
car work.  You could "fade" all the qualia following the turn of the
key to battery, starter motor, spark plugs, fuel delivery, etc. and I
don't care.  I know that's not the same as not being able to care...
but I assume many people don't want to be burdened with this

I was trying to find another analogy for the quintessential something
that could be lost after uploading to a slightly-less-than-perfect but
still pretty-damned-good simulation.  Imagine a fixed point of
view/hearing/etc, ex: Stephen Hawking, at a rock concert.  He can't
turn his head or control the environment at all (this minimizes the
simulation complexity for us)  So post-uploaded experience of the
concert faithfully renders acoustics to beyond audible distinction.
The fixed POV also allows us to easily simulate the visual experience
with indiscernible detail.  We even manage to capture the olfactory
environment and present simulated body odors and the occasional whiff
of marijuana in the air.  Have we sufficiently simulated the
experience of a rock concert?  for some, perhaps.  But what of
anticipation's electric-charge in the crowd as the band walks on
stage?  What of that moment when the crowd of strangers becomes a
unified audience lost in the Flow of their/its favorite tune?  I do
think we might miss that authentic sensation with a simulated crowd.
However, that sensation might still be captured with a high enough
resolution of somatic information.  If/when we are able to
control/simulate proprioception then maybe even this ephemeral state
of awareness can be "just data."

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list