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Tags A.I. , artificial intelligence , consciousness

View Poll Results: Is consciousness physical or metaphysical?
Consciousness is a kind of data processing and the brain is a machine that can be replicated in other substrates, such as general purpose computers. 81 86.17%
Consciousness requires a second substance outside the physical material world, currently undetectable by scientific instruments 3 3.19%
On Planet X, unconscious biological beings have perfected conscious machines 10 10.64%
Voters: 94. You may not vote on this poll

Closed Thread
Old 11th December 2012, 05:03 PM   #3481
deaman
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
Actually, we've got some pretty good ways to find out if a person is conscious. Doctors plan to apply it to patients in vegetative states to decide if they should be off life support, for example.

We could apply those methods to other animals. That could give us a fix on how much complexity is required for conscious brains, as opposed to unconscious zombie-like brains such as lower worms, etc.

What complexity of brain do you think with be worthwhile to look into whether it's conscious or not? Show me where you'd draw the line:

1 - Chimp
2 - Dog
3 - Mouse
4 - Reptile
5 - Amphibian
6 - Fish
7 - Worm

Would you be interested in if octopus, cuttlefish, dolphin or whale were conscious?
I erase the line completely. All lifeforms are allowed to live, unless they become an immediate threat, at which point I would make a decision to run, fight, or kill.

And that is reality for me.

When you have applied those methods you write about above, that will,
Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
give us a fix on how much complexity is required for conscious brains, as opposed to unconscious zombie-like brains such as lower worms, etc.
...please let us know the outcome and findings of your work.

On your list from one to seven, which would you choose?

Last edited by deaman; 11th December 2012 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 11th December 2012, 06:51 PM   #3482
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Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
I think that this is practically the definition of the internet, as it relates to forums.

No better area for the study of consciousness than there, or in this very thread, though.

Some thoughts. Been on my mind for a while, might as well spill them out here.

I've always found words, syntax and the organic creation of language we use to describe all of science rather magical and somehow uber scientific, more in the realm of consciousness contemplating consciousness than objective.

I would say there are two main theories about the world and how it works that have crystallized over time for me over many years of studying consciousness. And both depend on some fundamental axioms and assumptions about what the world is.

One is the scientific theory about the universe. Which claims that the it is a machine, tiny packets of matter that create fields that we can test and measure.

The other is the theory that the world is language. We can state that the world is composed of mass and atoms flying around at the speed of light, that is composed of electromagnetic fields of interlocking subatomic particles in constant flux, but no matter how we try to explain it each time what we end up with is words. Our models of the world are made of words and the world is composed of description.

When scientists and people were more epistemologically naive centuries ago it meant that they did not have a clear understanding of the inside and the outside, between what we imagine and what actually is. The more I think about consciousness reflecting on consciousness the more I come to the conclusion that what we imagine and what actually is are very much closer to the same thing than we typically realize.

I think the mind is somehow a co-creator in the process of reality, through the acts of language that connect, not just us, but every conscious entity in nature. Which in turn each have their own language on a similar yet consciously unique level to ours.

Neither view is necessarily right or wrong.

Although one is far easier to ridicule as baseless nonsense (ironically by using language to ridicule it)


It's just a matter how you look at it, that's all.
No.
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Old 11th December 2012, 08:18 PM   #3483
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"No" is a total cop-out.

You can do better,
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Old 12th December 2012, 09:12 PM   #3484
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Originally Posted by deaman View Post
I erase the line completely. All lifeforms are allowed to live, unless they become an immediate threat, at which point I would make a decision to run, fight, or kill.

And that is reality for me.

When you have applied those methods you write about above, that will,

...please let us know the outcome and findings of your work.

On your list from one to seven, which would you choose?
I'm not sure how you got to "all lifeforms are allowed to live, unless..." since we're talking about what consciousness is, how it works, and whether or not it's data processing. We're not talking at all about whether or not it's OK to kill a creature because it may or may not be conscious. That topic is for Religion and Philosophy. This thread is to focus on the science of consciousness, and whether or not it needs some magic bean only living brains have that would make it impossible for us to build a conscious machine.
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Old 15th December 2012, 04:38 PM   #3485
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Maybe a cop out but I have started thinking of consciousness simply as a state. When I'm awake that state is on and in dreamless sleep the state is off. A state is produced by something physical yet the state itself is not "made" of anything. The state of a television set being on for example doesn't itself have some substance.

And I think of reality as oneness in the sense that physical reality is an interconnected wholeness. There are no truly isolated systems except perhaps all of reality as a single system.

"In the natural sciences an isolated system is a physical system without any external exchange – neither matter nor energy can enter or exit, but can only move around inside. Truly isolated systems cannot exist in nature, other than possibly the universe itself, and they are thus hypothetical concepts only." -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isolated_system

So my spiritual idea of oneness is a material one.

The tricky question still remains however: what produces the state of consciousness? Because of oneness, it's the universe as a whole that produces consciousness, and at the same time consciousness is localized in at least human brains. Maybe when the complexity at some localized system is high enough (and can handle high enough abstraction levels) the state of consciousness is produced. That would mean that perhaps computers may become conscious. Or the Internet in some places, or in a distributed way.

Last edited by Anders Lindman; 15th December 2012 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 15th December 2012, 05:36 PM   #3486
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
the Internet [is conscious] in some places, or in a distributed way
In what way could you test this? How would one show the Internet, in some places, was conscious?
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Old 15th December 2012, 05:45 PM   #3487
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
In what way could you test this? How would one show the Internet, in some places, was conscious?
The presenter in this video had some interesting ideas about such things: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...postcount=3465

( Christof Koch on "The Neurobiology and Mathematics of Consciousness" at Singularity Summit 2011 -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i9kE3Ne7as )
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Old 15th December 2012, 09:06 PM   #3488
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
In what way could you test this? How would one show the Internet, in some places, was conscious?

Annonymous's actions (our actions) regarding freedom of information and censoring the internet might be a small case in point. The things they have done, and still do, would not have happened without the internet.

When an injustice in the world happens that angers enough people, say a corrupt regime somewhere tries to censor the internet from their people for their own means, the internet seems to follow a recurrent pattern. Restore access to the people that have been cut off, and call out the moral legitimacy of the authority that censored it.

A clear example is here, in the aftermath of Egypt cutting off the internet to their population.

You could say this is not 'the internet' doing anything conscious, it's a specific group of people using it for their own means. Just as you could say when a corporation does something the corporation is not doing anything conscious, it's just the people using its name. Yet the internet, or the corporation, still has measurable effects on the real conscious world we inhabit.

Expanding this idea, corporations are an emergent property of people used by them to make money, and the internet is an emergent property of people to help share information and knowledge, with no money incentive. Just like biology is based on complex chemistry. But biology is far more than complex chemistry. Social systems are based on animal dominance hierarchical organizations, but are far more than just animal life. These are emergent properties, which is the key concept here. Just like biology is an emergent property of chemistry, which is in turn an emergent property of physics.

Likewise, the internet is an evolutionary emergent property of human consciousness. It is made by human consciousness, yet is far more than human consciousness in it's totality.

It has it's own unique effect on peoples perspective, it's developing its own morals, rules, trends and its own behavioral profile. It's helping to remove the ego centric greed driven Machiavellian nature of many people towards a more aware and harmonious view of us all as equals, whilst helping highlight the dis-empowering systems of thought and over arching power structures that have been so destructive to human nature in the past.

Trying to define a brand new emergent phenomenon with no empirical or historical prescient, scientifically, is hard. This is just my opinion.

The internet is just as conscious as you or I, yet it's still in it's infancy. In an abstract way it's the summation of all human consciousness, and its evolving at an unprecedented rate in terms of traditional biological evolution.

The internet is providing a means by which we can start to create the world we dream of. The innovation, technology and change it will cause to how we define ourselves as a species in the coming decades will likely be unprecedented, and highly unpredictable.

The new law is novelty. Novel new innovations. These new inventions, new technologies, are not going to hit a dead end. Novel human developmental processes, due to the emergence of the internet, are increasing exponentially. And for the better.

Good short talk on this here:

The World We Dream of Peter Diamandis
YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


We have evolved to think linearly. Yet the internet is evolving exponentially. The rate of change scares some, it seems out of control. Not to me.

It seems to some that we are destroying the Earth, polluting the atmosphere, wrecking the oceans, dehumanizing ourselves, robbing our children of a decent future, etc.

There’s a lot of talk about cultural death and disenfranchisement, and it’s usually in the context of some happy naked tribes people in the rainforest, or in Africa selling their woodwork to tourists, and isn’t it too bad that their culture is being blown up and traded in for mall culture and shopping by remote; but in fact, all culture is being destroyed. All culture is being sold down the river by the sort of materialist billionaires who want to turn the entire planet into an international airport arrival concourse. That’s not the victory of somebody’s culture over somebody else’s culture; nobody ever had a culture like that. That’s just the victory of greed and crapola over good taste and good sense.

The democratized internet is helping resist this Orwellian possibility.

If I were dependent on the notion that human institutions are necessary to pull us out of the ditch, I would be very despairing. Nobody’s in charge, nor should they be – not the IMF, the Pope, the communist party, the Jews, no, nobody has their finger on what’s going on. So why am I optimistic about the future if it's just a runaway train out of control? Because I think the out-of-controlness is the most hopeful thing about it.

After all, whose control is it out of? No-one ever controlled it in the first place. In my opinion, the conscious internet is helping restore some much needed balance to a very unbalanced world.

Time for another beer.

What did I just say?

Last edited by Zeuzzz; 15th December 2012 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 15th December 2012, 09:27 PM   #3489
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
( Christof Koch on "The Neurobiology and Mathematics of Consciousness" at Singularity Summit 2011 -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i9kE3Ne7as )

Thanks for the link. Any talk by Koch is worth a watch, and this has instantly piqued my interest in relation to his opening remarks about the disparity between the physics of things and the conscious experience of them.

One my favs of his is this one.

3. Christof Koch - Brain, Mind, and Consciousness - Skeptics Society 2005
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The inattentional blindness test at 23:00 worked on me first time, and blew my mind.
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Old 15th December 2012, 09:43 PM   #3490
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Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
Annonymous's actions (our actions) regarding freedom of information and censoring the internet might be a small case in point. The things they have done, and still do, would not have happened without the internet.

When an injustice in the world happens that angers enough people, say a corrupt regime somewhere tries to censor the internet from their people for their own means, the internet seems to follow a recurrent pattern. Restore access to the people that have been cut off, and call out the moral legitimacy of the authority that censored it.

A clear example is here, in the aftermath of Egypt cutting off the internet to their population.

You could say this is not 'the internet' doing anything conscious, it's a specific group of people using it for their own means. Just as you could say when a corporation does something the corporation is not doing anything conscious, it's just the people using its name. Yet the internet, or the corporation, still has measurable effects on the real conscious world we inhabit.

Expanding this idea, corporations are an emergent property of people used by them to make money, and the internet is an emergent property of people to help share information and knowledge, with no money incentive. Just like biology is based on complex chemistry. But biology is far more than complex chemistry. Social systems are based on animal dominance hierarchical organizations, but are far more than just animal life. These are emergent properties, which is the key concept here. Just like biology is an emergent property of chemistry, which is in turn an emergent property of physics.

Likewise, the internet is an evolutionary emergent property of human consciousness. It is made by human consciousness, yet is far more than human consciousness in it's totality.

It has it's own unique effect on peoples perspective, it's developing its own morals, rules, trends and its own behavioral profile. It's helping to remove the ego centric greed driven Machiavellian nature of many people towards a more aware and harmonious view of us all as equals, whilst helping highlight the dis-empowering systems of thought and over arching power structures that have been so destructive to human nature in the past.

Trying to define a brand new emergent phenomenon with no empirical or historical prescient, scientifically, is hard. This is just my opinion.

The internet is just as conscious as you or I, yet it's still in it's infancy. In an abstract way it's the summation of all human consciousness, and its evolving at an unprecedented rate in terms of traditional biological evolution.

The internet is providing a means by which we can start to create the world we dream of. The innovation, technology and change it will cause to how we define ourselves as a species in the coming decades will likely be unprecedented, and highly unpredictable.

The new law is novelty. Novel new innovations. These new inventions, new technologies, are not going to hit a dead end. Novel human developmental processes, due to the emergence of the internet, are increasing exponentially. And for the better.

Good short talk on this here:

The World We Dream of Peter Diamandis
YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


We have evolved to think linearly. Yet the internet is evolving exponentially. The rate of change scares some, it seems out of control. Not to me.

It seems to some that we are destroying the Earth, polluting the atmosphere, wrecking the oceans, dehumanizing ourselves, robbing our children of a decent future, etc.

There’s a lot of talk about cultural death and disenfranchisement, and it’s usually in the context of some happy naked tribes people in the rainforest, or in Africa selling their woodwork to tourists, and isn’t it too bad that their culture is being blown up and traded in for mall culture and shopping by remote; but in fact, all culture is being destroyed. All culture is being sold down the river by the sort of materialist billionaires who want to turn the entire planet into an international airport arrival concourse. That’s not the victory of somebody’s culture over somebody else’s culture; nobody ever had a culture like that. That’s just the victory of greed and crapola over good taste and good sense.

The democratized internet is helping resist this Orwellian possibility.

If I were dependent on the notion that human institutions are necessary to pull us out of the ditch, I would be very despairing. Nobody’s in charge, nor should they be – not the IMF, the Pope, the communist party, the Jews, no, nobody has their finger on what’s going on. So why am I optimistic about the future if it's just a runaway train out of control? Because I think the out-of-controlness is the most hopeful thing about it.

After all, whose control is it out of? No-one ever controlled it in the first place. In my opinion, the conscious internet is helping restore some much needed balance to a very unbalanced world.

Time for another beer.

What did I just say?
You said a mouthful, my friend.

I should have your optimism.
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Old 15th December 2012, 09:50 PM   #3491
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Hopefully it's contagious then
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Old 15th December 2012, 11:39 PM   #3492
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Some claim that there is only one consciousness in the universe. With consciousness as a state (see earlier post), then there can be many separate consciousnesses!

And it makes sense to have several consciousnesses because when I'm awake another person can be in dreamless sleep and vice versa. So each person can have his or her individual consciousness and separately have it on or off.

It's true that there are no actual isolated system. An isolated system is only an approximation. This means that the universe/multiverse is a oneness on the physical level! But a system can be isolated by having another system isolating it from the rest of the universe. An example is a Faraday's cage that isolates the space inside it from electromagnetic waves on the outside.
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Old 16th December 2012, 03:11 AM   #3493
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Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
3. Christof Koch - Brain, Mind, and Consciousness - Skeptics Society 2005
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The inattentional blindness test at 23:00 worked on me first time

Purely out of curiosity, how good was anyone here at counting the number of throws accurately the first time they watched this? Fail or success? It's at 23:00 into the clip, this link will start it at the correct time.
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Old 17th December 2012, 06:28 AM   #3494
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
The presenter in this video had some interesting ideas about such things: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...postcount=3465

( Christof Koch on "The Neurobiology and Mathematics of Consciousness" at Singularity Summit 2011 -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i9kE3Ne7as )
That's a terrific video lecture. I'd seen it before. The consciousness test, the image of a man planking in empty air, is worth analysis.

I'd argue that it's really testing the following:

1) Image recognition of sky and air.
2) Image recognition of person.
3) Understanding of walking, gravity, and flying.

All these require experience, not necessarily consciousness. What computers are lacking when they seem stupid is a lifetime in the real world. If a computer had lived with us in the world, became familiar with the entities in the image, it would see the irrationality without necessarily having to be conscious.

Watson, the Jeopardy champion computer, was a three year old. How many three year olds would be champion Jeopardy players? Watson's mistakes reveal the fact that it hasn't lived in our adult world long enough to know, for example, that Toronto was not an American city. It's not missing the magic bean of consciousness. It just hasn't lived in our world long enough to "seem" conscious.
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Old 17th December 2012, 06:32 AM   #3495
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
Some claim that there is only one consciousness in the universe. With consciousness as a state (see earlier post), then there can be many separate consciousnesses!

And it makes sense to have several consciousnesses because when I'm awake another person can be in dreamless sleep and vice versa. So each person can have his or her individual consciousness and separately have it on or off.

It's true that there are no actual isolated system. An isolated system is only an approximation. This means that the universe/multiverse is a oneness on the physical level! But a system can be isolated by having another system isolating it from the rest of the universe. An example is a Faraday's cage that isolates the space inside it from electromagnetic waves on the outside.
No one has shown that consciousness is anywhere but inside living brains. All available evidence indicates it's a result of the data processing power of neurons and neural networks.

If you have any evidence that contradicts this, share it with us. Anything else is impotent daydreaming.
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Old 17th December 2012, 06:46 AM   #3496
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
No one has shown that consciousness is anywhere but inside living brains. All available evidence indicates it's a result of the data processing power of neurons and neural networks.

If you have any evidence that contradicts this, share it with us. Anything else is impotent daydreaming.
Some people consider the possibility to expand the human mind beyond the brain through technology more than daydreaming.

THE SIX EPOCHS OF EVOLUTION by @JasonSilva -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNkW353QkxU
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Old 17th December 2012, 06:54 AM   #3497
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Some people do not take youtube videos as evidence for anything...
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Old 17th December 2012, 07:47 AM   #3498
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Originally Posted by Dcdrac View Post
Some people do not take youtube videos as evidence for anything...
And some mainstream scientists, such as Amit Goswami (and Peter Russell if I remember correctly), claim that consciousness is what gives rise to physical reality instead of the other way around.

I believe physical reality is what causes the state of consciousness. And it's clear that physical reality is a oneness! (See previous posts about isolated systems.) So while many spiritual people talk about consciousness as oneness, I have started talking about physical reality as oneness, ha ha, and consciousness as merely separate states of being aware.
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Old 17th December 2012, 07:58 AM   #3499
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"Kurzweil: Your brain will connect directly to the cloud within 30 years

Takeaway: By the 2030s or 2040s, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil envisions micro-computers embedded non-invasively in the brain that will act as an interface to a “cloud” of storage and processing power.

Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil remains coolly confident in his prediction that by the 2030s, blood-cell sized computers will integrate with the human brain and dramatically expand its cognitive capacity well beyond the neocortex’s paltry 300 million or so pattern recognizers." -- Full article: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/gee...30-years/10518

And that's just the beginning! Only a decade after that the technology will be 1,000 times more powerful. The difference between biology and technology will blur more and more until in a very short period of time historically speaking (due to exponential progress) they will basically become indistinguishable except that even tiny cells will be super intelligent. So our individual consciousness will come to flow out into the universe sort of.
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Old 17th December 2012, 08:19 AM   #3500
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Solved it.

Consciousness does not exist and scientifically defining it is futile, it's just a universal perspective, a logical kaleidoscope through which species lucky enough to become aware of it's existence and logical strength (through self introspection and reflection on the nature of nature) can use to do science.

Thread solved.
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Old 17th December 2012, 08:30 AM   #3501
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I think everyone will define consciousness differently. Externalizing it into objectively quantifiable things things just seems to epically fail every time.

^ And that article is cool, but no surprise. We're practically half human technological/robot symbiots already, just sometimes hard to notice. Novelty has squared yearly ever since the advent of the internet, and will continue to do so

I guess in a similar way to moor's law, but not for hardware but for the consciousness that creates it in the first place.

We'll probably barely notice it when what that article is about comes true.

In fact we'll probably be annoyed at the terms and conditions, we'll have to go to the effort to think the word 'accept' to inform our neurally operated contact lens mounted operating system to upgrade.

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Old 17th December 2012, 08:33 AM   #3502
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Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
Solved it.

Consciousness does not exist and scientifically defining it is futile, it's just a universal perspective, a logical kaleidoscope through which species lucky enough to become aware of it's existence and logical strength (through self introspection and reflection on the nature of nature) can use to do science.

Thread solved.
Consciousness obviously exists (at least I am self-aware now ) but it's not some thing I think and instead it's a state. In dreamless sleep my consciousness is off and when I wake up it is on. It's basically the same idea as to have a television set in on or off state. It would be illogical so say: "There is no on state for the TV." Or: "There is no difference between the TV being on or off." There is obviously a difference. It's just that the state is itself not made of its own substance or something like that and instead is a result of the physical system bringing the state about.
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Old 17th December 2012, 09:00 AM   #3503
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
And some mainstream scientists, such as Amit Goswami (and Peter Russell if I remember correctly), claim that consciousness is what gives rise to physical reality instead of the other way around.

I believe physical reality is what causes the state of consciousness. And it's clear that physical reality is a oneness! (See previous posts about isolated systems.) So while many spiritual people talk about consciousness as oneness, I have started talking about physical reality as oneness, ha ha, and consciousness as merely separate states of being aware.
It doesn't matter what you believe. What matters is where the evidence leads. There's plenty of evidence consciousness is caused by the data processing of neural networks in living brains, as set up by millions of years of mutation and natural selection. There's no evidence of any other source of, or reason for, existing consciousness. Since there's also good mathematical theory that data processing computers can simulate nerve cells and neural networks, it follows that consciousness can some day be manifested in machines we create.

Contrary evidence is welcome.
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Old 17th December 2012, 09:09 AM   #3504
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
It doesn't matter what you believe. What matters is where the evidence leads. There's plenty of evidence consciousness is caused by the data processing of neural networks in living brains, as set up by millions of years of mutation and natural selection. There's no evidence of any other source of, or reason for, existing consciousness. Since there's also good mathematical theory that data processing computers can simulate nerve cells and neural networks, it follows that consciousness can some day be manifested in machines we create.

Contrary evidence is welcome.
The brain (the nervous system) isn't an isolated system. It may be true that the brain is isolated enough so that approximately it can be said that the brain causes the state of consciousness to be on or off.

I keep ranting about physical universe being a oneness, because it's an important observation. Even if we can find a system that is truly isolated, then it is isolated from the rest of the universe by having ANOTHER system as an isolator. That's an interesting realization I had recently.
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Old 17th December 2012, 09:17 AM   #3505
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
The brain (the nervous system) isn't an isolated system. It may be true that the brain is isolated enough so that approximately it can be said that the brain causes the state of consciousness to be on or off.

I keep ranting about physical universe being a oneness, because it's an important observation. Even if we can find a system that is truly isolated, then it is isolated from the rest of the universe by having ANOTHER system as an isolator. That's an interesting realization I had recently.
In what way, important to this conversation, is the brain not an isolated system? We're conscious when we dream or are in sensory deprivation, and for all intents and purposes, quite isolated.
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Old 17th December 2012, 09:25 AM   #3506
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
In what way, important to this conversation, is the brain not an isolated system? We're conscious when we dream or are in sensory deprivation, and for all intents and purposes, quite isolated.
If the entire cardiovascular system, including all the blood, were to be removed instantly, then I suspect consciousness would be turned off immediately, but ok the body as a whole is pretty much an isolated system.

But even that may change! Nay, WILL change, because we will merge with technology and basically become one with the entire universe.
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Old 17th December 2012, 09:42 AM   #3507
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
Consciousness obviously exists (at least I am self-aware now ) but it's not some thing I think and instead it's a state.
I think it would be more useful, and perhaps accurate, to think of consciousness as an emergent property. There is no single "state", such as "on" or "off", but rather a continuous set of circumstances by which we can gradually become more, or less, aware of our surroundings and able to act as independent agents within them.

And, there might be different types of consciousness awareness. Lucid dreaming, non-lucid dreaming, and fully awaken could be 3 of such different forms. Certain types of seizures and/or drug effects might yield a few more.


ETA: The evidence for this is primitive, at the moment. But, this is the sort of thing one would expect, if consciousness is a natural occurance, and the result of natural processes (including, but not necessarily limited to, evolution by natural selection).
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Old 17th December 2012, 09:57 AM   #3508
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
I think it would be more useful, and perhaps accurate, to think of consciousness as an emergent property. There is no single "state", such as "on" or "off", but rather a continuous set of circumstances by which we can gradually become more, or less, aware of our surroundings and able to act as independent agents within them.

And, there might be different types of consciousness awareness. Lucid dreaming, non-lucid dreaming, and fully awaken could be 3 of such different forms. Certain types of seizures and/or drug effects might yield a few more.


ETA: The evidence for this is primitive, at the moment. But, this is the sort of thing one would expect, if consciousness is a natural occurance, and the result of natural processes (including, but not necessarily limited to, evolution by natural selection).
I should perhaps have described the distinction between consciousness and the content experienced in consciousness. What I meant was consciousness as a state of being self-aware. In dreamless sleep my consciousness is off. When I'm asleep but dreaming then my consciousness is on! The content in consciousness can differ, yet consciousness itself can be thought of as an on/off state. For example my consciousness is aware of my thoughts. The thoughts are the content, actually objects, and my consciousness is the state, the subject, that is aware of the thoughts.
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Old 17th December 2012, 10:45 AM   #3509
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
I should perhaps have described the distinction between consciousness and the content experienced in consciousness. What I meant was consciousness as a state of being self-aware. In dreamless sleep my consciousness is off. When I'm asleep but dreaming then my consciousness is on! The content in consciousness can differ, yet consciousness itself can be thought of as an on/off state. For example my consciousness is aware of my thoughts. The thoughts are the content, actually objects, and my consciousness is the state, the subject, that is aware of the thoughts.
What if you dream, but don't remember (as happens to most of us every night)?

What if I rearrange my desk, and later can't remember where I put a particular document? Was I unconscious while I did the rearranging (but remember doing it) or only unconscious when I filed that document? Or was I conscious the whole time, but can no longer access the memory?
How about the common experience of driving a familiar route to a destination while engaged in thought, and arriving with no recollection of the experience of driving there? Was an unconscious automaton driving the vehicle, or was it "me"?

If my short term memory fails completely, so I form no more memories of current events, do I become permanently unconscious? Or like a dog, "conscious but not self aware"?
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Old 17th December 2012, 11:54 AM   #3510
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
I should perhaps have described the distinction between consciousness and the content experienced in consciousness. What I meant was consciousness as a state of being self-aware. In dreamless sleep my consciousness is off. When I'm asleep but dreaming then my consciousness is on! The content in consciousness can differ, yet consciousness itself can be thought of as an on/off state. For example my consciousness is aware of my thoughts. The thoughts are the content, actually objects, and my consciousness is the state, the subject, that is aware of the thoughts.
The "state" of consciousness is probably more like a dimmer switch than an on/off switch. It's not just the content that differs, but the level, as well.
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Old 17th December 2012, 12:53 PM   #3511
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
If the entire cardiovascular system, including all the blood, were to be removed instantly, then I suspect consciousness would be turned off immediately, but ok the body as a whole is pretty much an isolated system.

But even that may change! Nay, WILL change, because we will merge with technology and basically become one with the entire universe.
The power supply is not an interesting part of consciousness. You also lose phone service if you remove your cell battery, but that tells us nothing about how your cell phone works. There's no evidence conscious thought has any such connection with the universe, e.g. spiritual, new age, or quantum entanglement claims.
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Old 17th December 2012, 04:10 PM   #3512
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OK, I am just joking, but...

Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
It's not missing the magic bean of consciousness. It just hasn't lived in our world long enough to "seem" conscious.
...do you know anybody, to whom this quote, may apply?
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Old 17th December 2012, 04:11 PM   #3513
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There's not much evidence of any aspect of consciousness. New age, old age, spiritual, mechanical.
It's philosophy.
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Old 17th December 2012, 04:26 PM   #3514
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Well, that's a new one.....

Originally Posted by quarky View Post
There's not much evidence of any aspect of consciousness. New age, old age, spiritual, mechanical.
It's philosophy.
...so, you don't think there is "any" consciousness, at all?
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Old 17th December 2012, 05:30 PM   #3515
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Originally Posted by MuDPhuD View Post
What if you dream, but don't remember (as happens to most of us every night)?
Memories are content being observed by consciousness. A memory of being conscious is not itself the state of consciousness. Take the television set analogy again. What if you had the TV on yesterday but don't remember it? Then the fact that your TV actually was on doesn't change if you lose memory of the event.
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Old 17th December 2012, 05:35 PM   #3516
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
The "state" of consciousness is probably more like a dimmer switch than an on/off switch. It's not just the content that differs, but the level, as well.
It's true that for example the dream state is different than the ordinary waking state. Yet it's still either on or off. As an analogy, an electron represents consciousness being on. If there is no electron at all around the atom nucleus, then the state of consciousness is off. And when an electron is present, it can take on different energy levels, similar to different levels of consciousness.
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Old 17th December 2012, 05:42 PM   #3517
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
The power supply is not an interesting part of consciousness. You also lose phone service if you remove your cell battery, but that tells us nothing about how your cell phone works. There's no evidence conscious thought has any such connection with the universe, e.g. spiritual, new age, or quantum entanglement claims.
But power isn't sufficient to produce say the state of a cell phone being on. Complicated technology is needed in addition to the power. Similarly, in the brain, there needs to be complicated patterns of interaction going on for there to be consciousness. In the video I posted earlier, the presenter talked about experiments where they sent a signal into the brain and measured its reflections and reverberations. And when the person was awake the signal reverberated a lot around the neurons in the brain and when the person was in dreamless sleep the signal quickly died off, something like that.
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Old 17th December 2012, 06:01 PM   #3518
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I suspect the universe is a SINGLE quantum state determined by a universal wavefunction:

"Since the universal validity of the state function description is asserted, one can regard the state functions themselves as the fundamental entities, and one can even consider the state function of the entire universe. In this sense this theory can be called the theory of the "universal wave function," since all of physics is presumed to follow from this function alone." -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_wavefunction

So the brain is 'merely' a wave packet. Everything is waves (determined by the Schrödinger equation). Particles are wave packets, and complicated objects are composite wave packets.

The brain is not connected to other things in the universe as some separate object. The brain is a wave packet within all the waves making up the universe.

What the brain does is to make separations possible! Nonlocality and interconnectedness across the entire universe is easy since it's a given. The tricky part is how to cause separations within the wholeness of reality.

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Old 17th December 2012, 06:57 PM   #3519
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Originally Posted by deaman View Post
...so, you don't think there is "any" consciousness, at all?
Just mine.
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Old 17th December 2012, 07:28 PM   #3520
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Originally Posted by deaman View Post
...do you know anybody, to whom this quote, may apply?
I think I know where you are going there. Some people with no experience in certain areas of life might fail a consciousness test that merely tests that area, like the pic of the man planking in midair. It's not testing if your are conscious. It's testing what you are conscious of.
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