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CryoGenesis

A Kind Of Computer Capable Of Having Conciousness

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blutzeit    1650
[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1349874783' post='4988704']
I can't speak for recompile, but I took that statement to mean "[i]we won't come up with an algorithm that produces consciousness directly, we will have to create a complex simulation in which conciousness is an emergent property[/i]".
[/quote]

On the other hand, recompile was referring to Searle, which states, if I understand him correctly, that not even this is possible. That there is only one consciousness and it can't be emulated. Edited by Felix Ungman

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Hodgman    51234
[quote name='Felix Ungman' timestamp='1349876443' post='4988715']
On the other hand, recompile was referring to Searle, which states, if I understand him correctly, that not even this is possible.
[/quote]Oh, you're right.[quote name='recompile' timestamp='1349824173' post='4988527']That is, there is no reason to believe that it is the case the consciousness [can arise] [s]inexorably[/s] from a complex system.[/quote]Well if you believe in evolution, then the reason to believe this is because that's what happened. The question is what kind of complex systems can give rise to behaviour that can be described as conciousness.

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recompile    151
[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1349914946' post='4988909']Well if you believe in evolution, then the reason to believe this is because that's what happened. The question is what kind of complex systems can give rise to behaviour that can be described as conciousness.[/quote]

On the contrary, the fact of evolution puts the final nail in the coffin of epiphenomenalism (the idea that consciousness is caused by brain processes).

I'll try to keep this as simple as I can: We'll define consciousness simply as subjective experience.

First, note that you (i.e. your brain) can report on the content of phenomenal experience. (Give it a try.)

Assuming that epiphenomenalism is true, consciousness is causally inert. (This is not in dispute)

As consciousness is causally inert, it should be impossible for the brain to report on the content of phenomenal experience. (This one is tricky at first. Take some time with it.)

That was too easy. Is there a way out? Well, we should expect specific brain states to give rise to specific experiences. In order for the brain to report on the content of phenomenal experience, it needs only additional structures that can examine the state of the relevant neurons involved.

Surely, such structures can evolve. After all, evolution needs just two things to work: 1) Heritable variation with change and 2) A selection mechanism

Well, we have (1), no question. However, we can't get (2). (Can you see why? It's easier than you think.)

Like I said before. It's a hard problem ... and we have yet to even crack open an undergrad textbook here!

There is a large interdisciplinary research effort (which as spawned several new disciplines) yet for the volume of work produced, we're no closer to an answer. If you're a layperson, and you think you have the answer, you're virtually guaranteed to be wrong.

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Hodgman    51234
How about:
1) I evolved out of a big burning ball of hydrogen. That happened.
2) I can be measured as being concious, but the ball of hydrogen cannot.
The same stuff was reconfigured into a different complex system, which allowed conciousness to be observed.

If conciousness didn't arise out of this 'stuff', then you're attributing to something else that doesn't exist, like a spirit or soul -- i.e. magic, not science. This is likely the part where I've misunderstood you.

You don't need to drag theories of the mind into this, just ignore and treat it as a black box.
A thing that can be described as concious exists. That thing is a complex system that evolved from previous complex systems. Prior forms of the thing along it's evolutionary path cannot be described as conscious. At some point along that path, forms of the thing developed conscious behaviours. Either that is due to the new configuration, or it's due to magic.
[quote name='recompile' timestamp='1349922701' post='4988935']
If you're a layperson, and you think you have the answer, you're virtually guaranteed to be wrong.
[/quote]N.B. we're not trying to say anything about what consciousness is or how it arises, but simply disputing your assertion that it [b]can't arise from a complex system[/b] -- or maybe we've misinterpreted this statement, but that's how I'd paraphrase it at the moment.
I am a machine, and there's no reason to believe that I'm conscious through anything but my own machinery. If I build a machine just like me (through reproduction) I can expect that it will likely be able to exhibit consciousness too. Edited by Hodgman

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szecs    2990
I think I understand what Recompile says. I can't believe that my conciousness just arises from materials, because, um..... um.... It's impossible for me to describe. But my own conciousness is a mystery for me. I can't believe that conciousness is a continuum. It exists, or not. Yet, I was a baby once. When was my conciousness switched on? Or what is part of my concious existence and what are just memories? And the usual disturbing questions.


I don't know why the "feel" of conciousness can't rise from a complex system, but I feel it somehow defeats causality. The fact that I'm experiencing it and thinking about it IS a brain process, so this "upper" concious feel DID affect material in my brain.
Maybe Recompile is talking about something like this? It's only a feel though, I don't really get the reasoning. Why do you, Recompile, (and I) think that the "feeling" of conciousness comes from the "upper" conciousness? And not simply another brain process (it's just not the same linguistic reasoning process but an emotional one, which adds a bit to the "out of place" feel )? Or maybe that points to a contradiction in causality?

----

The whole problem with this approach in the context of this thread: I can never directly experience other consciousnesses. So defining it is useless and impossible in that context. So as wondering if others have it too. The one and only conciousness I can ever "feel" is mine. All I can experience comes through some limited channels. That's why the Turing test (in principle, what I called Duck test) applies (in principle, you can only define concious behaviour (it's still arbitrary a bit)).

Another problem: Maybe it's through that conciousness can't simply rise from a complex system. But why do you think that a complex system can"t just get a "soul" fro somewhere? Why can't a piece of machine get a "soul" why are humans more special than machines?
(it's just philosophy of course.)


EDIT: I misread the second part of the post. So you say evolution can't describe the existence of conciousness? (I recall hearing this as an argument against both epiphenomenalism and evolutionism ) Why? Why do you think that animals/planets/stars don't have one? Because of their [b][i]behaviour[/i][/b]. Why do you think humans (more precisely other humans) have it? Because of their [b][i]behaviour[/i][/b].
Even you evolve: You started as a single cell (um..... not precise, but you get it). At one point in your own evolution, you "got" conciousness. Do you think you didn't evolve? When was your conciousness "turned on"? Can you remember? Are you sure those are not just implanted memories? Edited by szecs

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recompile    151
[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1349924828' post='4988942']This is likely the part where I've misunderstood you.[/quote]
Indeed. I'm not positing anything; I was just trying to show why evolution does not support epiphenomenalism.

[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1349924828' post='4988942']
You don't need to drag theories of the mind into this, just ignore and treat it as a black box.
A thing that can be described as concious exists. That thing is a complex system that evolved from previous complex systems. Prior forms of the thing along it's evolutionary path cannot be described as conscious. At some point along that path, forms of the thing developed conscious behaviours. Either that is due to the new configuration, or it's due to magic.[/quote]

I'd hoped to show why the question is not that simple.

That we evolved is beyond dispute. It's also obvious that we are conscious. Though that's not terribly interesting. Just from "that we evolved" we need only assume the dominant metaphysics to turn that in to "we evolved to be conscious". No further work required -- Short of positing new metaphysics, you're forced to that conclusion. (Boring, isn't it?)

[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1349924828' post='4988942']N.B. we're not trying to say anything about what consciousness is or how it arises, but simply disputing your assertion that it [b]can't arise from a complex system[/b][/quote]

You're in luck, as I never intended to make such an assertion. (I understand completely, however, why my "attack" on epiphenomenalism would give you that impression. You need a lot of background to avoid that kind of misunderstanding.) Now, I did assert that it cannot be by purely algorithmic means. That may be too strong a statement, but it's stood up to near constant attack for more than 30 years now.

I may have been unfair to your position by picking on epiphenomenalism -- er, and refusing to advance a position. If you want, I can pick on a different theory; but I won't advance a position :)

[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1349924828' post='4988942']I am a machine, and there's no reason to believe that I'm conscious through anything but my own machinery. If I build a machine just like me (through reproduction) I can expect that it will likely be able to exhibit consciousness too.[/quote]

That reminds me of an old joke: "AI researches have discovered a method to create a thinking machine. It requires only two technicians and a nine-month initial construction period. Unfortunately, initial maintenance and training is both expensive and time-consuming with few production units able to eventually perform meaningful cognitive work."

Anyhow, we're just playing here (this is beginners stuff, after all) I only wanted to make the point that there are no simple and easy answers like the earlier posts in the thread imply. Oh, also that computationalism is dead -- I almost forgot that one!

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Hodgman    51234
I only mentioned evolution as the chef that happened to create us (the conscious complex system) because it seemed that you were saying that a sufficiently complex system (arranged in a very specific way) cannot give rise to consciousness, when such a thing has obviously happened. You were stating that consciousness does not arise out of the complexity of a large number of smaller simpler parts.
Epiphenomenalism or any kind of evolutionary selection weren't connected.
[quote name='recompile' timestamp='1349935747' post='4988977']Now, I did assert that it cannot be by purely algorithmic means.[/quote]What if, stepping away from biology/neurology, we 'solve' the laws of physics and are able to algorithmically simulate reality, then surely it would follow that any chemical/biological/neurological process could be simulated by such an algorithm?

N.B. when we stopped testing nuclear bombs in atolls, we started testing them in computer simulations of the laws of physics. Edited by Hodgman

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mdwh    1108
[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1349939588' post='4988996']
What if, stepping away from biology/neurology, we 'solve' the laws of physics and are able to algorithmically simulate reality, then surely it would follow that any chemical/biological/neurological process could be simulated by such an algorithm?

N.B. when we stopped testing nuclear bombs in atolls, we started testing them in computer simulations of the laws of physics.
[/quote]
A simulation is not necessarily the same as the actual thing - a simulated nuclear explosion is not, after all.

That's not to say I agree with recompile that it _can't_ be algorithmic; rather it seems to be an open question.

Admittedly consciousness is a special case in that a realistic simulation would seem indistinguishable from the real thing. This is related to the question of whether Philosophical Zombies can exist (see Wikipedia).

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recompile    151
[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1349939588' post='4988996']... a sufficiently complex system (arranged in a very specific way) cannot give rise to consciousness, when such a thing has obviously happened.[/quote]

It's not obvious at all. From: We are a complex system; We are conscious; It does not follow that consciousness must necessarily be an emergent property of certain kinds of complex systems. (That's just basic logic.)

[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1349939588' post='4988996']What if, stepping away from biology/neurology, we 'solve' the laws of physics and are able to algorithmically simulate reality, then surely it would follow that any chemical/biological/neurological process could be simulated by such an algorithm?[/quote]

Let's pick the low-hanging fruit. As mdwh rightly pointed out, you can't mistake the simulation of the thing for the thing itself. A simulated rainstorm won't get you wet, and Japan has nothing to fear from a simulated nuclear bomb. The standard counter: A simulated thought is still a thought.

I assume that you mean we should simulate a person, and that person would be conscious? Let's assume it's true, we have such a thing, and look at some of the immediate consequences. This assumes computationalism is true and, as a consequence, multiple realizability -- though it gets stretched to the limits! You need to assert than any system that is computationally isomorphic [i]at any level of description[/i] with relevant parts of the brain [i]at any level of description[/i] would share the same experience. (You should see an ontology problem here) Straight from John Searle "For any program there is some sufficiently complex object such that there is some description of the object under which it is implementing the program. Thus for example the wall behind my back is right now implementing the Wordstar program, because there is some pattern of molecule movements which is isomorphic with the formal structure of Wordstar. But if the wall is implementing Wordstar then if it is a big enough wall it is implementing any program, including any program implemented in the brain." It not longer becomes silly to say something like "at some point in history, Mt. Everest independently invented calculus"

Further, being deterministic, we lose downward causation, forcing us to conclude that consciousness is epiphenomenal (the standard arguments against epiphenomenalism now apply, though we're in a tougher starting position. To counter, for example, Popper, you'd need to change your set of metaphysical assumptions or advance a new physics.)

There are other problems, of course, before we even get to those consequences. The most obvious is that we cannot simulate the universe on a computer as a computer is a deterministic system and the universe is not. (Asserting the the brain is deterministic is a good approach, though that brings you right back to the problems above, and a few zillion others.)

What's the point of all this? The problem is incredibly difficult and there are no simple or easy answers. We just picked some of the easy stuff, the low-hanging fruit, and we've already got more than anyone on an internet forum want's to deal with.

While it's easy to say things like "it must be that X because the metaphysics demands that conclusion" it doesn't get you from "that" to "how" or even guarantee that the question and the conclusion are consistent with your foundational assumptions. (An unrelated example to clarify that point: Science can say nothing about the existence of god because that topic is outside the scope of science. Any conclusions drawn from the metaphysics [e.g. god does not exist] are not scientific statements. To make it a scientific statement, you'd need a new metaphysics to increase the scope of science so that the question can be answered by scientific means.)

Hope that helps.

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cowsarenotevil    3005
[quote name='recompile' timestamp='1349988987' post='4989261']
Straight from John Searle "For any program there is some sufficiently complex object such that there is some description of the object under which it is implementing the program. Thus for example the wall behind my back is right now implementing the Wordstar program, because there is some pattern of molecule movements which is isomorphic with the formal structure of Wordstar. But if the wall is implementing Wordstar then if it is a big enough wall it is implementing any program, including any program implemented in the brain." It not longer becomes silly to say something like "at some point in history, Mt. Everest independently invented calculus"
[/quote]

I don't see why this is a problem, really. Particularly if the alternative allows for "philosophical zombies," which it seems to. You build a robot that simulates the structure of the brain to some arbitrary level of precision and somehow it [i]doesn't[/i] become conscious. Since you've rejected epiphenomenalism, you seemingly have to accept the somewhat questionable view that, no matter how closely we simulate the functional brain, be it through arbitarily detailed physical simulations, it [i]will not behave the same way[/i]. If it did, consciousness would be epiphenomenal. I've never seen a compelling reason to accept that qualia zombies are actually possible, but the idea that it's possible to simulate a person in a way that functionally matches the brain and still acts differently seems especially weird. In this case one imagines that, by studying the real brain and the "simulated" one, there would be a particular moment in time in which their behavior diverged, but what would account for this?

Also, "Mt. Everest is conscious if you can find an isomorphism that shows it performs the same computations that a human brain does" is really not that weird if you take the view that "consciousness" is nothing special to begin with. The fact that we can talk about our "subjective experience" is, of course, only interesting if we assume in advance that our "subjective experience" is something special. Just as plausible to me is that there's nothing special about our subjective experience at all aside from the fact that, as humans, we enjoy talking about it and pretending that it's special.

It seems to me that you've delievered the standard argument against epiphenomenal qualia, but you haven't really put forward anything in favor of the existence of qualia at all. "Well, gee, it sure [i]seems [/i]like qualia is a thing" is of coourse circular at best. Naturally, I can't definitively argue [i]against [/i]qualia, in the same way I can't argue against a God that is perfect at hiding from non-believers or against the fact that the number '2' has a special property "blargh," but that doesn't automatically make it more interesting than those two things either.

On the whole, though, my response to most arguments against functionalism is that, yeah, consciousness as we imagine it [i]is not special at all[/i]. And so the fact that Mt. Everest is also not special, at least with respect to consciousness, doesn't change this.

[quote]There are other problems, of course, before we even get to those consequences. The most obvious is that we cannot simulate the universe on a computer as a computer is a deterministic system and the universe is not. (Asserting the the brain is deterministic is a good approach, though that brings you right back to the problems above, and a few zillion others.)[/quote]

The universe is "non-deterministic" in only a very loose sense. Anything that's typically treated as non-deterministic can just as easily be expressed as something with hidden variables; results denying hidden variables make assumptions about the form that those hidden variables take, but these restrictions don't apply to simulations. Aside from the fact that we don't know the values of those hidden variables, there is nothing that precludes us from simulating them.

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recompile    151
[quote name='cowsarenotevil' timestamp='1350002679' post='4989325']It seems to me that you've delievered the standard argument against epiphenomenal qualia[/quote]
Maybe. I offered, in a single sentence a few posts back, something similar to (a modification of) one of the more common arguments against epiphenomenalism. I'm not sure that I'd say that I "delivered the standard argument against ..." (I think that "expression of" makes a stronger case than "knowledge of")

[quote name='cowsarenotevil' timestamp='1350002679' post='4989325'] you haven't really put forward anything in favor of the existence of qualia at all.[/quote]

Again, I'm not advocating any position. Even against computationalism, the only position I admit to holding, I've not offered an argument. On epiphenomenalism, I've not giving an opinion, just briefly noted some problems with it and alluded to others.

I'm just trying to point out that the problem is incredibly difficult and there are no simple or easy answers. It's silly to make any sort of claim as to the nature of consciousness, let alone what you need to artificially create it! Absurd things like "it must be" type answers are not just uninteresting (they're implicit in the metaphysics, after all, and thus offer us nothing new), they're ultimately useless (they can't get us past "that" to "how").

Again, the problem is extraordinarily complicated. It's absurd to make any claims like "it must be that" or "requires only that".

Just for fun:
[quote name='cowsarenotevil' timestamp='1350002679' post='4989325']Anything that's typically treated as non-deterministic can just as easily be expressed as something with hidden variables;[/quote] It turns out that this isn't true. See Bell.

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Hodgman    51234
[quote name='recompile' timestamp='1349988987' post='4989261']
[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1349939588' post='4988996']... a sufficiently complex system (arranged in a very specific way) cannot give rise to consciousness, when such a thing has obviously happened.[/quote]It's not obvious at all. From: We are a complex system; We are conscious; It does not follow that consciousness must necessarily be an emergent property of certain kinds of complex systems. (That's just basic logic.)[/quote]The obvious part is that I am a complex system that is conscious.

If the phenomenon of consciousness is not caused by something within my body, then what is it caused by? It seems that if it's not caused by stuff within my body, then the only other option is that it's caused by magic like souls and whatnot. Seeing the latter aren't science, doesn't that only leave us with the option that something in the body is creating consciousness? And seeing that the body is a complex system, that gives us an example of a conscious complex system?

We know it's not caused by one specific part of the body -- cutting out specific bits of the brain hasn't narrowed down the "consciousness lobe" -- but it's known that if you remove enough parts of the body then eventually the phenomenon does disappear. So it follows that some combination of body parts are required for consciousness to be able to be observed by an experimenter.

So, if you're saying that consciousness isn't created by the body, where do you believe it comes from?

[quote]Let's pick the low-hanging fruit. As mdwh rightly pointed out, you can't mistake the simulation of the thing for the thing itself. A simulated rainstorm won't get you wet, and Japan has nothing to fear from a simulated nuclear bomb. The standard counter: A simulated thought is still a thought.[/quote]A simulated rainstorm will wet things inside the rainstorm. I don't know why you'd need to point out that it won't we me. It's obvious that me and the rainstorm are in two different realities.

I personally subscribe to [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model-dependent_realism"]model-dependent reality[/url]: that there is no one true objective reality, there's only what you can measure and model. My mind creates a model of the world from the inputs it receives, and it's that model that I perceive as "the true reality". It's possible that my brainstem is connected to a computer and I'm in "the matrix" along with simulated rainstorms. In that hypothetical world, a simulated rainstorm would make me feel wet. But there's no way for me to measure such a hypothesis so it's neither true or false, it's irrelevant. Likewise my whole chemical structure could be some simulation and there'd be no way for me to measure that, so it's irrelevant. It's nonsense to talk about whether I'm truly a part of [i]the one objective reality[/i] or not.

[quote]I assume that you mean we should simulate a person, and that person would be conscious?[/quote]If we created a simulation of reality, and somehow measured the make-up of a person and cloned them in the simulation, and we could somehow interact with the simulation, e.g. via a proxy person that could be controlled from outside the simulation, then, we would be able to interact with the simulated person and ask them questions. From that questioning, we'd be able to judge if they are conscious just as well as you can judge a "real" person's level of consciousness through questioning. You'd also be able to perform any measurements that you could in the "real world", such as EEGs etc.
So regardless of whether the sim is "really" experiencing consciousness (which is nonsensical to ask), you would be able to measure their level of consciousness just as well as you can any other human/animal.
Right?
[quote]It not longer becomes silly to say something like "at some point in history, Mt. Everest independently invented calculus"[/quote]Indeed, that's not a silly thing to say. Especially once you take branching history into account, there's also a point somewhere where you played chess against Mt. Everest while riding a pink pony.

[quote]Further, being deterministic
... a computer is a deterministic system and the universe is not.[/quote]Just because it can be simulated, it doesn't mean that it's deterministic as in [i]one set of inputs == one set of outputs[/i]. One interaction can lead to an infinite number of branches in the simulation's timeline, which all then need to be simulated. A computer with infinite memory and infinite computation time can still simulate the universe. N.B. we already do this on extremely, extremely small scales. Edited by Hodgman

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recompile    151
[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1350010226' post='4989352']
If the phenomenon of consciousness is not caused by something within my body, then what is it caused by? It seems that if it's not caused by stuff within my body, then the only other option is that it's caused by magic like souls and whatnot.
[/quote]

Now, I know you know better. If it's not caused by something within the body, then it must be caused by something external to it. (That's too easy.)

[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1350010226' post='4989352']So, if you're saying that consciousness isn't created by the body, where do you believe it comes from?[/quote]

Again, I'm not saying anything of the sort. The only thing I've said is that the problem is not simple, there are no answers as of yet (easy or otherwise). Oh, and that computationalism is dead.

[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1350010226' post='4989352']Just because it can be simulated, it doesn't mean that it's deterministic[/quote]

That's not what I said at all. Also, reading the rest of the quote, I looks like you've misunderstood the term 'determinism'.

Anyhow, we're just wasting time talking past each other. Let me repeat this bit from earlier:

While it's easy to say things like "it must be that X because the metaphysics demands that conclusion" it doesn't get you from "that" to "how" [i]or even guarantee that the question and the conclusion are consistent with your foundational assumptions.[/i] (An unrelated example to clarify that point: Science can say nothing about the existence of god because that topic is outside the scope of science. Any conclusions drawn from the metaphysics [e.g. god does not exist] are not scientific statements. To make it a scientific statement, you'd need a new metaphysics to increase the scope of science so that the question can be answered by scientific means.)

Take some time with it.

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szecs    2990
I know I'm ignored, but I want to conclude some stuff for myself.
Recompile, you have these (questionable) initial assumptions:[list]
[*]You can experience and measure other consciousnesses directly (which is impossible which was already pointed out, only [i][b]behaviour[/b][/i] can be examined)
[*]Consciousness is a boolean thing (I pointed out that even this is questionable. How about early childhood memories? Dreams? Drugs?)
[*]Other complex (animals/planets/whatever) systems don't have it (as already pointed out, this is questionable, due to the first point)
[*]Epiphenomenalism and the subjective experience of consciousness somehow contradicts causality
[/list]
Please correct me if I'm wrong or shoot me down if I'm just a retard troll Edited by szecs

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recompile    151
[quote name='szecs' timestamp='1350016021' post='4989360']
I guess my posts are stupid or hard to understand.
We keep asking and telling the same things. Why do you, Recompile, ignore these?
[/quote]

Disinterest? Lack of time? In your case, I had no interest in tearing down behavioralism -- you can read all about the rise and fall of behavioralism (at least from Skinner forward) in any good undergraduate textbook.

See, the point I wanted to make was that the problem is difficult and that there are no simple answers (er, and say that computationalism is dead). This isn't exactly the right place to exchange meaningful dialog -- this is a site for hobbyists who make computer games, not for philosophers. While I can expect that the users here are well-versed in linear algebra, I have no reason to expect them to be familiar with the work of Kihlstrom, Baruss, or Jacoby. It's just the wrong forum. In hindsight, I should have just stayed quite.

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Hodgman    51234
[quote name='recompile' timestamp='1350016465' post='4989362']
Again, I'm not saying anything of the sort [i][that consciousness isn't created by the body][/i]
[/quote]To paraphrase:
mdwh: consciousness arises out of the complexity of a large number of smaller simpler parts.
recompile: that belief lacks grounding. there is no reason to believe that it is the case the consciousness arises from a complex system.
It seems as if you're trying to refute that consciousness doesn't arise from the complex interactions of smaller parts?
[quote name='recompile' timestamp='1350016465' post='4989362']
If it's not caused by something within the body, then it must be caused by something external to it. (That's too easy.)
[/quote]And now it seems you're directly refuting that consciousness is created by the body, and maybe it's just magic?

[quote name='recompile' timestamp='1350016465' post='4989362']That's not what I said at all. Also, reading the rest of the quote, I looks like you've misunderstood the term 'determinism'.[/quote]You said we "[i]cannot simulate the universe on a computer as a computer is a deterministic system and the universe is not[/i]". I was clarifying that non-deterministic rule sets [b]can [/b]still be simulated on a computer.
I understand determinism and that the universe may be non-deterministic. The thing is that at a high level, the universe does appear deterministic. Given a high level description of an object, it will behave in the same way, [i]mostly[/i]. At a lower level, the universe appears probabilistic. You [i]can[/i] still simulate such a universe on a deterministic computer, assuming you take all of the possibilities into account. If given a description of an object, there are 10 possible outcomes, then you can branch the state of your simulation and determine what will happen next for each of those outcomes. This will lead to 10 more events, each of which cause 10 more splits, so now you've got 100 copies of your simulation. In reality the number of splits is infinite, not 10, but the same theory applies.
In practice, it is actually possible to take all infinity probabilities into account calculate the [i]n[/i] most likely outcomes to get results to what the desired accuracy is. We use these techniques to simulate reality already. So, today, we can simulate an extremely small part of the non-deterministic universe to some degree of error, e.g. telling you what the result will be 99.999% of the time. In theory, with infinite time and memory, you could determine all possible branches, making it possible to express a non-deterministic world by deterministic means.[quote name='recompile' timestamp='1350016465' post='4989362']
Take some time with it.
[/quote]Please stop being so sophomoric and maybe answer some questions people have had about your statements, instead of going off on vague tangents about things they didn't ask about. Edited by Hodgman

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recompile    151
Sigh... okay, but then I'm off to bed!

[quote name='szecs' timestamp='1350017581' post='4989364']
Recompile, you have these (questionable) initial assumptions:
[/quote]

Really? Let's have a look...

[quote name='szecs' timestamp='1350017581' post='4989364']You can experience and measure other consciousnesses directly (which is impossible which was already pointed out, only [i][b]behaviour[/b][/i] can be examined)[/quote]
Nonsense. I've made no such assumption or implied anything of the sort.

Heh, if I had such a method, I'd be too famous to post here!

[quote name='szecs' timestamp='1350017581' post='4989364']Consciousness is a boolean thing (I pointed out that even this is questionable. How about early childhood memories? Dreams? Drugs?)[/quote]
I don't know what this is supposed to mean?

[quote name='szecs' timestamp='1350017581' post='4989364']Other complex (animals/planets/whatever) systems don't have it (as already pointed out, this is questionable, due to the first point)[/quote]

Consciousness you mean? No, I've not made such an assumption. I've gone well out of my way to avoid asserting *anything* about consciousness (save that it's a hard topic to discuss, there are no easy answers, and computationalism is dead.)

[quote name='szecs' timestamp='1350017581' post='4989364']Epiphenomenalism and the subjective experience of consciousness somehow contradicts causality[/quote]

This may help: If consciousness is epiphenomenal, [i]by definition[/i] we lose downward causation. [i]In the simplest possible terms[/i], that means is that your thoughts can't affect your brain.

That's not an assumption (qustionable, initial, or otherwise). It's just what the term means.

Hope that helps.

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recompile    151
[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1350018478' post='4989366']
mdwh: consciousness arises out of the complexity of a large number of smaller simpler parts.
recompile: that belief lacks grounding. there is no reason to believe that it is the case the consciousness arises from a complex system.
It seems as if you're trying to refute that consciousness doesn't arise from the complex interactions of smaller parts?
[/quote]

No, I said that that belief lacks grounding. It should be perfectly obvious that it lacks grounding, but most people don't take the time to notice. It seemed important to point out. That's not a refutation (That it lacks grounding doesn't mean that it's false, just that ... it lacks grounding!)

That bit I pasted at the end to my last reply to you is relevant here.

[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1350018478' post='4989366']
[quote name='recompile' timestamp='1350016465' post='4989362']
If it's not caused by something within the body, then it must be caused by something external to it. (That's too easy.)
[/quote]And now it seems you're directly refuting that consciousness is created by the body, and maybe it's just magic?[/quote]
Where on earth do you get that? I was pointing out what I had hoped you'd notice is an obvious problem with your dichotomy. It's a silly mistake that I'm surprised you missed. I had hoped that a humorous correction would take the sting out.

[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1350018478' post='4989366']
[quote name='recompile' timestamp='1350016465' post='4989362']
Take some time with it.
[/quote]Please stop being so sophomoric and maybe answer some questions people have had about your statements, instead of going off on vague tangents about things they didn't ask about.
[/quote]

Again, this is beginners stuff. I've not said anything outrageous or even advocated a particular viewpoint. I've certainly said nothing that couldn't be clarified or further explained with a quick trip to the bookshelf.

Now, see, we're not even on topic any longer. I'm going to bed.

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blutzeit    1650
I think I can see where this is heading. The philosophers will continue to debate consciousness to the omega point and beyond, while hobbyist and other professionals will advance AI and human mind augmentation to the point where all this is either very obvious or very irrelevant.

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cowsarenotevil    3005
[quote name='recompile' timestamp='1350009936' post='4989350']
Again, I'm not advocating any position. Even against computationalism, the only position I admit to holding, I've not offered an argument. On epiphenomenalism, I've not giving an opinion, just briefly noted some problems with it and alluded to others.

I'm just trying to point out that the problem is incredibly difficult and there are no simple or easy answers. It's silly to make any sort of claim as to the nature of consciousness, let alone what you need to artificially create it! Absurd things like "it must be" type answers are not just uninteresting (they're implicit in the metaphysics, after all, and thus offer us nothing new), they're ultimately useless (they can't get us past "that" to "how").

Again, the problem is extraordinarily complicated. It's absurd to make any claims like "it must be that" or "requires only that". [/quote]

Right. And since you haven't offered an argument against computationalism, your bold claim that "one thing we can be reasonably certain about, however, is that we can't create anything resembling consciousness by purely algorithmic means" was justifiably attacked. You have some background in philosophy, it seems, but not nearly enough basis to justify your generally smug attitude.

[quote]
Just for fun:
[quote name='cowsarenotevil' timestamp='1350002679' post='4989325']Anything that's typically treated as non-deterministic can just as easily be expressed as something with hidden variables;[/quote] It turns out that this isn't true. See Bell.
[/quote]

No. This is an extremely common misconception, but it's still just that. From Wikipedia on Bell's theorem: "one is forced to reject either locality or realism (or both)." This is very different from saying "the universe is provably non-deterministic." As I said, the conclusion that the universe is not goverened by hidden variables rests on assumptions that the hidden variables have locality. It says nothing about hidden variables in a general sense; the universe can still be modeled with hidden variables as long as they don't manifest themselves in certain physical ways.

In fact, this is fairly easy to see: based on empirical data points alone, any model that proposes nondeterminism can be replaced with one that requires no such thing and yields the same data points. All you have to do is replace the source of nondeterminism with invisible-god and his invisible-book-of-random-numbers. As long as invisible-god and his book are not accessible to those collecting the data points, the two are indistinguishable based on those data points. Edited by cowsarenotevil

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taby    1265
You do raise a very good point, though surely a random number generator is inherently non-deterministic and so this would effectively be a non-replacement. Were you then referring to superdeterminism?

Bonus points for not confusing data with information. ;) Edited by taby

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3DModelerMan    1173
If consciousness appears to arise from a simulation at some point then we would have to count it as being truly conscious. How is our perception of our own consciousness any different? To you I appear conscious and to me, you appear conscious it isn't really a perfectly defined state. That said, the original post brought up how we would program hardware that was designed like a brain... I would guess something like Direct X11 compute shaders.

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Spinoza    103
Just my 2 cents.
Consciousness isn't an emergent characteristic of complexity it’s an emergent characteristic of self-preservation. Although I would say that intelligence is an emergent characteristic of self-preservation as well and precedes consciousness.

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