ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology
 

Notices


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
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 18th April 2012, 12:59 PM   #121
Farsight
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,640
Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
You have described a replica brain, fine I agree it may be conscious. A simulation is not a replica of a brain, it is a projected image on a screen, which can be interpreted by a viewer. The projection may be of a replica brain, but that brain would be in another box or a different part of the box from the simulation projector, not on the screen.
OK, but simulation is a bit ambiguous. A flight simulator isn't the same as flying for real, but if I "simulate" your neurons using NAND gates on silicon chips, it's more than just some image on a screen.

There's something I vaguely recall about replacing one single brain cell with a single microchip. Your conscious mind still functions, and you are still you. Only then I replace another, and another, and another. You're still you, you're still conscious. But then I keep going, all the way. And all the way you're still you, and you're still conscious. Even though you end up being made of silicon.

It was maybe just some science fiction story, but it stuck with me, and I ended up thinking what's the difference?
Farsight is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 01:14 PM   #122
Leumas
Master Poster
 
Leumas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,861
Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
In a strict sense, someone who holds that consciousness is not based on computation.

In a weaker sense, someone who holds that consciousness is not based entirely on computation.

I consider the latter a "weaker" sense because fundamentally it isn't possible for consciousness to be only partially based on computation, meaning people that think so just don't quite fully understand what computation entails. I don't know that there are many people with this position so it doesn't matter much, but I wanted to be clear.

Perhaps you can enlighten us.... maybe by describing the algorithms and calculations that went on in the brain of Douglas Adams when he produced this work.

Please give detailed pseudo code and mathematical equations.
__________________
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn't" - Jules Renard
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson
"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" - Mark Twain
Leumas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 01:17 PM   #123
lupus_in_fabula
Graduate Poster
 
lupus_in_fabula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,231
Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
Maybe Rocketdodger has a better definition
Personally, I would not consider that however to be a meaningful way of describing consciousness or as an argument for the existence for “the output of consciousness”, especially given the sugar/photosynthesis analogy (which started my curiosity).

Just to give my opinion here first (since it seems to be kind of difficult to get a straight answer here): I don't think there's such a thing as "output of consciousness"; or at least it’s not a meaningful approach when trying to understand consciousness.

Quote:
What Pinocchio is able to produce this "output"?
What toddler (or any other animal species) is able to comprehend or produce what Kipling did? Yet I think most toddlers are conscious.

Thus, again, I don't think it's useful to go about explaining consciousness in such a way.
__________________
...Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you...
lupus_in_fabula is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 01:45 PM   #124
Leumas
Master Poster
 
Leumas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,861
Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Personally, I would not consider that however to be a meaningful way of describing consciousness or as an argument for the existence for “the output of consciousness”, especially given the sugar/photosynthesis analogy (which started my curiosity).

Just to give my opinion here first (since it seems to be kind of difficult to get a straight answer here): I don't think there's such a thing as "output of consciousness"; or at least it’s not a meaningful approach when trying to understand consciousness.

What toddler (or any other animal species) is able to comprehend or produce what Kipling did? Yet I think most toddlers are conscious.

Thus, again, I don't think it's useful to go about explaining consciousness in such a way.

Children under 18 months old failed the The Mirror Test. Even fully grown people cannot produce (or even comprehend) that stuff either.


Consequently I agree with you .... there is A LOT more to it than any definitions we currently have. This all goes to illustrate how little we in fact know and how difficult and more complex it is of a topic than some simple minds think it to be.

Accordingly I hope you can appreciate how frustratingly laughable it is when some simpletons come along and decide that it is a matter of COMPUTATION and that's it and anyone who disagrees must be a believer in metaphysics and a woo bagger while they arrogantly cite science FICTION and their programming abilities as qualifying justifications for their FAITH in their laptop replicating the "output" of even the human brain not to mention them thinking that they have already achieved nuclear fusion inside it too.
__________________
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn't" - Jules Renard
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson
"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" - Mark Twain

Last edited by Leumas; 18th April 2012 at 02:10 PM.
Leumas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 02:00 PM   #125
rocketdodger
Philosopher
 
rocketdodger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 6,926
Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
Perhaps you can enlighten us.... maybe by describing the algorithms and calculations that went on in the brain of Douglas Adams when he produced this work.

Please give detailed pseudo code and mathematical equations.
That isn't an instance of failing to fully understand computation, and it isn't what I am talking about.

A good example of what I am talking about is when people say things like "the brain may function by computing, but it isn't exclusively computation because input is needed as well," as if "input" is somehow not part of computation.

This is easy to show to be incorrect, for instance at the point when a photon hits a retinal neuron and the neuron fires, the "input" just as much "pure computation" as everything else in the system. Meaning, if the retinal neuron fired "as if" there was a photon, the results would be identical as far as the brain can tell.
rocketdodger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 02:08 PM   #126
case#46cw39
Muse
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 609
No programmers are simpletons (given the whole set of humanity).

No programmers have simple minds (given the whole set of humanity).

Only a simpleton would believe that.
__________________
LET'S START SAVING TAX MONEY AND GAINING TAX REVENUES! END THE BS POT WAR!

Last edited by case#46cw39; 18th April 2012 at 02:10 PM.
case#46cw39 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 02:21 PM   #127
punshhh
Illuminator
 
punshhh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,848
Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
So just to be clear: do you think there is any such thing as "output of consciousness" or not?
I would say the output of consciousness is experience, as consciousness is necessary for experience.
punshhh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 02:25 PM   #128
Leumas
Master Poster
 
Leumas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,861
Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
That isn't an instance of failing to fully understand computation, and it isn't what I am talking about.

A good example of what I am talking about is when people say things like "the brain may function by computing, but it isn't exclusively computation because input is needed as well," as if "input" is somehow not part of computation.

This is easy to show to be incorrect, for instance at the point when a photon hits a retinal neuron and the neuron fires, the "input" just as much "pure computation" as everything else in the system. Meaning, if the retinal neuron fired "as if" there was a photon, the results would be identical as far as the brain can tell.

Ok.... so I then take it that you agree that Douglas Adams' brain was not doing mere calculations and running algorithms when he created his fiction and the brain is not a mere computer...right?

If you think the brain is a mere computer and that all of its "output" can be simulated on a laptop running some clever programs....then please explain the algorithms and mathematical calculations that went on in Douglas Adams’ brain while producing his monumental trilogy in 5 parts.

Now that Adams has tragically passed away too soon maybe we can program a computer to give us the REST of the unfinished Salmon Of Doubt story or even the sequel to Dirk Gently's adventures....who needs Adams' brain if we can just program a laptop to do the same...right... it is after all just calculations...no?
__________________
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn't" - Jules Renard
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson
"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" - Mark Twain
Leumas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 02:45 PM   #129
Leumas
Master Poster
 
Leumas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,861
Originally Posted by case#46cw39 View Post
No programmers are simpletons (given the whole set of humanity).

No programmers have simple minds (given the whole set of humanity).

Only a simpleton would believe that.


I am a programmer and I have personally known and managed numerous simpleton programmers and I guarantee you they were simpletons despite being programmers.... I know because I managed them (or fired them in many cases)

So here is a programmer who thinks that there are simpleton programmers....

According to your assertion only a simpleton would think that there are simpleton programmers since according to you there are NO simpleton programmers.

Thus I must be a simpleton.

But then you state that there are no simpleton programmers and I am a programmer and thus I cannot be a simpleton.

Can you see the paradox your illogic is producing?.... or is it perhaps just simplistic illogic?
__________________
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn't" - Jules Renard
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson
"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" - Mark Twain

Last edited by Leumas; 18th April 2012 at 02:47 PM.
Leumas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 03:15 PM   #130
quarky
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 20,448
Leumas, you baffle me.
I think I'm on the same team, though only as a debate tool. Yet, you evidently reject my conjectures on the subject.

Perhaps if I use your language?

There are 'simpleton' organisms that display consciousness.
quarky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 03:19 PM   #131
case#46cw39
Muse
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 609
Simplistic logic is:

Only things that can write like Kipling are conscious. (dis-proven by children, by lupas_in_Fabula in above post and completely overlooked/missed by you.)

Machines can't write like Kipling.

Thus machines can never be conscious.


Talk about simplistic.
__________________
LET'S START SAVING TAX MONEY AND GAINING TAX REVENUES! END THE BS POT WAR!
case#46cw39 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 04:22 PM   #132
AlBell
Philosopher
 
AlBell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,362
Originally Posted by Farsight View Post

...

There's something I vaguely recall about replacing one single brain cell with a single microchip. Your conscious mind still functions, and you are still you. Only then I replace another, and another, and another. You're still you, you're still conscious. But then I keep going, all the way. And all the way you're still you, and you're still conscious. Even though you end up being made of silicon.

It was maybe just some science fiction story, but it stuck with me, and I ended up thinking what's the difference?
Note that you've described an emulation, not a simulation, so sure it should be conscious.

I've not voted. I really don't know at what level the computationalists envision; 4-forces? single neuron? If either I'd say no, you won't arrive at a simulation that is conscious.

If we ever can get a definition at the symbol level, which might be a single neuron but presumably many many neurons, then I'd suspect a simulation could become conscious, iff the "I=self=me" definition can be provided either by coding or by further training.
AlBell is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 04:26 PM   #133
Leumas
Master Poster
 
Leumas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,861
Originally Posted by case#46cw39 View Post
No programmers are simpletons (given the whole set of humanity).

No programmers have simple minds (given the whole set of humanity).

Only a simpleton would believe that.


I congratulate you on a vivid display of hotheaded partisanship….

Logically.... all I have to do is produce ONE programmer who is a simpleton to disprove your statements.

Other than myself of course who is paradoxically a simpleton according to your illogic, let me tell you a story about a programmer colleague of mine long ago.

He was a very good programmer and produced some really good work.

One day in a party we were both attending the topic of religion came up. He made the statement that the Quran is all about violence and killing while the Bible is all about peace and love and god never orders anyone to kill anyone in it.

This able programmer had never even opened a Quran according to his own admission and obviously from his statement about the Bible he never read it despite his claims to the contrary.

Yet this very capable programmer felt himself to be logically qualified to make the above statements about the Quran and the Bible.

I of course had to rebut and told him that in the Bible god actually orders people to genocide entire villages and to kill women and children but to keep the virgin little girls for sexual pleasures. He even orders people to kill their own children and kin etc. etc.

He violently denied my assertions. In the place we were there was no bible. So when I went back home that night I researched my Bible and wrote out almost three A4 pages with just references, no verse content, just the verse references to where god orders people to kill and genocide and enslave.

Next morning I TRIED to hand him the papers. He REFUSED to take the papers or even to look at them. He utterly refused to even take the papers and throw them in the trash....he would not touch them as if they were poisonous.

He said that he would never accept my testimony on the Bible since I am an Atheist. I pointed out that they were verse references and he could look them up in whatever bible he wanted and verify their veracity for himself.... he still refused to even glance at the papers.

Did his programming abilities endow him with logical thinking? Did his programming ability induce him to think rationally in regards to the above? Obviously, just because he was a programmer and a good one at that, it did not mean that he was a logical or rational thinker in ALL aspects of his thinking.

So here is an example for you that shows that programmers (even good ones) are capable of being as stupid and irrational as any member of the "whole set of humanity".

Do you think it is simplistic and irrational to make adamant statements about the contents of books one has never read? Would anything other than a simpleton refuse to even look at evidence that might modify his beliefs regarding these books that he never read by actually giving him page numbers from the very book he is sure does not contain the words he denies are in it despite having never read the book while claiming he did?

If not.... then .... oh well.

If yes…. then I hope you can see that being a programmer and even a good one does not exonerate one from being a simpleton when it comes to matters of FAITH in something one wants so badly to be true and cognitive dissonance sets in.
__________________
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn't" - Jules Renard
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson
"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" - Mark Twain
Leumas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 04:38 PM   #134
Leumas
Master Poster
 
Leumas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,861
Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Leumas, you baffle me.
I think I'm on the same team, though only as a debate tool. Yet, you evidently reject my conjectures on the subject.

Perhaps if I use your language?

There are 'simpleton' organisms that display consciousness.


I fully agree.... there are plenty of proofs of that.
__________________
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn't" - Jules Renard
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson
"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" - Mark Twain
Leumas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 05:24 PM   #135
case#46cw39
Muse
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 609
I disagree. You missed the point. I think you are overstating your case.

simpleton
noun /ˈsɪm.pl ̩.tən/ [C]

Definition
a person without the usual ability to reason and understand
(Definition of simpleton noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dict...tish/simpleton


No programmer does not have "the usual ability to reason and understanding".

Thus, No programmer is a "simpleton."

Your turn.
__________________
LET'S START SAVING TAX MONEY AND GAINING TAX REVENUES! END THE BS POT WAR!

Last edited by case#46cw39; 18th April 2012 at 05:25 PM.
case#46cw39 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 05:25 PM   #136
dlorde
Philosopher
 
dlorde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,314
Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
The unconscious machine was evolution.
Huh? what unconscious machine?

In any case, evolution is a process, not a machine; I suppose you could call the environment an evolution machine...
__________________
Simple probability tells us that we should expect coincidences, and simple psychology tells us that we'll remember the ones we notice...

Last edited by dlorde; 18th April 2012 at 05:26 PM.
dlorde is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 05:27 PM   #137
Leumas
Master Poster
 
Leumas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,861
Originally Posted by case#46cw39 View Post
Simplistic logic is:

Only things that can write like Kipling are conscious. (dis-proven by children, by lupas_in_Fabula in above post and completely overlooked/missed by you.)


So what do you call this post then (also see below)? Which in fact you seem to have read already since you were responding to it earlier?

How could you say I “missed/overlooked” the post that I have actually responded to and agreed with and you already saw that as evinced by your objection to the simpleton part of it?

Did you perhaps “miss/overlook” the highlighted part in your zeal to defend your tribe..... of which I am a member by the way....but I do not let my partisanship blind me to the faults of the party.... I do not allow my tribalism to take over my reason.


So yes let's
Originally Posted by case#46cw39 View Post
Talk about simplistic.

Maybe you should read the highlighted bit AGAIN because it looks like you may have “missed/overlooked” it.
Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
Children under 18 months old failed the The Mirror Test. Even fully grown people cannot produce (or even comprehend) that stuff either.


Consequently I agree with you .... there is A LOT more to it than any definitions we currently have. This all goes to illustrate how little we in fact know and how difficult and more complex it is of a topic than some simple minds think it to be.

Accordingly I hope you can appreciate how frustratingly laughable it is when some simpletons come along and decide that it is a matter of COMPUTATION and that's it and anyone who disagrees must be a believer in metaphysics and a woo bagger while they arrogantly cite science FICTION and their programming abilities as qualifying justifications for their FAITH in their laptop replicating the "output" of even the human brain not to mention them thinking that they have already achieved nuclear fusion inside it too.


Is it honest to put words in my mouth and misrepresent my position? I never said

Originally Posted by case#46cw39 View Post
Machines can't write like Kipling.
Thus machines can never be conscious.

As evidenced by the highlighted bit above….. make sure you read it and understand it.

If you are able to follow the depth of the conversation… the Kipling part was in response to Rocketdodger’s definition of the “output of consciousness”
Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
Perhaps things like the drawings, paintings, and literature you referenced in a previous post?
Which I was conjecturing might be correct (in this post), but then I agreed with Lupas as shown in my quoted post highlighted above, that it is not so simple as that…..make sure you read that part carefully so that you can understand it.


And the whole thing started with this question
Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
Is there something else the brain outputs that machines could not?
So yes….there are plenty of things the brain "outputs" that a machine cannot….one of them is Kipling’s poetry to say the least….but also see this post.


And by the way... I have already stated my position about the possibility of machine consciousness in another thread that I know you have participated in on various occasions.

But you may have “missed/overlooked” this

Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
I personally believe one day we will be able to EMULATE the human brain in a machine....... but not by programming it..... sure some parts may be programmed to do control of certain physical processes... but just like controlling a lathe.... we need the lathe’s mechanical parts to perform the lathing no matter how much programming there is.

I think something akin to a neural network that can emulate the PHYSICS of the brain will have a very good chance. But actual physics not simulated physics....
__________________
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn't" - Jules Renard
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson
"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" - Mark Twain

Last edited by Leumas; 18th April 2012 at 06:37 PM.
Leumas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 05:51 PM   #138
Roboramma
Philosopher
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,766
Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
And where is the complex intelligence? on the screen, in an attached camera lens or in a component attached somewhere round the back of the simulator marked "replica brain"?
Does it somehow dwell in all three?
Or is it located in a virtual world which is in no exact location in the physical world?
The complex intelligence is the interaction of the parts that make up the replica brain. That can change over time, just as a wave on the ocean is the interaction of the water molecules that make it up, even though which water molecules make up the wave can change over time.

This is true of our brains: my intelligence is not located in my foot, but my foot (or at least the nerves in it) is a part of that intelligence, in so much as the signals it sends are a part of that complex interaction.
The atoms that make up my brain are replaced over time, but at any particular moment there are particular atoms interacting in a particular way and we can say that is the physical location of my intelligence. Where else would it be?

I find this discussion odd: whatever it is that brains do, they are made up of fundamental particles. It's the interactions of those fundamental particles that defines the system. If we can find another way to create interactions that do the same thing, then we'll have reproduced what brains do, and consciousness is a part of that.
Just as you can have different bridges made to different designs with different materials both capable of supporting traffic over a river, there's no reason that two brains couldn't be made of different materials with different designs.

That doesn't suggest, of course, that we know how to design such a thing now, but that's an engineering problem, not a fundamental theory problem.
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 06:11 PM   #139
case#46cw39
Muse
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 609
It just didn't seem that you acknowledged that that argument was bogus, which he and everybody else saw and thought you may be implying.

And simpleton is over-stating your case.

That's all.

But let's say you win.
__________________
LET'S START SAVING TAX MONEY AND GAINING TAX REVENUES! END THE BS POT WAR!
case#46cw39 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 06:36 PM   #140
Leumas
Master Poster
 
Leumas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,861
Originally Posted by case#46cw39 View Post
But let's say you win.


Thanks....



Originally Posted by case#46cw39 View Post
And simpleton is over-stating your case.

That's all.

Ok.... I will change it to monumentally simplistic.... is that ok?
__________________
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn't" - Jules Renard
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson
"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" - Mark Twain
Leumas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 06:40 PM   #141
case#46cw39
Muse
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 609
Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
Ok.... I will change it to monumentally simplistic.... is that ok?
No. That's worse.

__________________
LET'S START SAVING TAX MONEY AND GAINING TAX REVENUES! END THE BS POT WAR!
case#46cw39 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 06:50 PM   #142
Leumas
Master Poster
 
Leumas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,861
Originally Posted by case#46cw39 View Post
No. That's worse.

Ok... what adjectives would you use to describe the attitude and behavior of people who behave in a similar manner to my colleague described in this post.
__________________
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn't" - Jules Renard
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson
"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" - Mark Twain

Last edited by Leumas; 18th April 2012 at 06:51 PM.
Leumas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 06:58 PM   #143
quarky
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 20,448
This is getting dull.

I'm going back to claiming that consciousness is/was an aspect of the singularity from which all has sprung.
A rock is fully conscious.
It simply can't do much about it.
A quark is fully conscious.
Why not?

The brain is something else entirely.
Its not the seat of consciousness.
Its more like a computer.

Of course, the computer is also conscious, if the atoms that compose it are conscious.
Buddists wouldn't object to such notions, particularly.
Some quantum physicists wouldn't either.

It has nothing to do with religion.
Everything is alive.

Even pedantic atheists and computer programers.
quarky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 07:06 PM   #144
Leumas
Master Poster
 
Leumas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,861
Originally Posted by quarky View Post
This is getting dull.

I'm going back to claiming that consciousness is/was an aspect of the singularity from which all has sprung.
A rock is fully conscious.
It simply can't do much about it.
A quark is fully conscious.
Why not?

The brain is something else entirely.
Its not the seat of consciousness.
Its more like a computer.

Of course, the computer is also conscious, if the atoms that compose it are conscious.
Buddists wouldn't object to such notions, particularly.
Some quantum physicists wouldn't either.

It has nothing to do with religion.
Everything is alive.

Even pedantic atheists and computer programers.


But I am not sure about ones who are both at the same time
__________________
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn't" - Jules Renard
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson
"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" - Mark Twain
Leumas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 08:20 PM   #145
Jeff Corey
New York Skeptic
 
Jeff Corey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 13,796
I don't think the poll choices exhaust all the possible answers, like "None of the above".
Jeff Corey is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 09:15 PM   #146
Roboramma
Philosopher
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,766
Originally Posted by quarky View Post
This is getting dull.

I'm going back to claiming that consciousness is/was an aspect of the singularity from which all has sprung.
A rock is fully conscious.
It simply can't do much about it.
A quark is fully conscious.
Why not?
But conscious of what?

I can actually accept that a rock may be conscious in some way. But the experience of consciousness is dependent upon it's context. My experience is dependent upon what my brain is doing, upon it's internal architecture and external stimuli that affect that. There's something there for me to be conscious of. If I get bored, it's because I have the (evolved) capacity to be bored. If I feel something tastes delicious it's because I have that (evolved) capacity.

A rock doesn't have sense organs, nor the information processing organs to turn sensory data (that it doesn't have) into meaningful context. Lacking that, perhaps it does have some sort of experience: it interacts with the world regardless, but it can't be a particularly deep experience.

Quote:
The brain is something else entirely.
Its not the seat of consciousness.
Its more like a computer.
And yet your (and my) conscious experience are dependent upon the states of that computer. Give it a particular drug, and your experience is altered. Damage it in a particular way and your experience is altered again in a particular way.

So the brain certainly has something to do with consciousness.
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 09:16 PM   #147
Roboramma
Philosopher
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,766
Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
But I am not sure about ones who are both at the same time
Is that called for?
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 09:30 PM   #148
rocketdodger
Philosopher
 
rocketdodger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 6,926
Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
Ok.... so I then take it that you agree that Douglas Adams' brain was not doing mere calculations and running algorithms when he created his fiction and the brain is not a mere computer...right?

If you think the brain is a mere computer and that all of its "output" can be simulated on a laptop running some clever programs....then please explain the algorithms and mathematical calculations that went on in Douglas Adams’ brain while producing his monumental trilogy in 5 parts.

Now that Adams has tragically passed away too soon maybe we can program a computer to give us the REST of the unfinished Salmon Of Doubt story or even the sequel to Dirk Gently's adventures....who needs Adams' brain if we can just program a laptop to do the same...right... it is after all just calculations...no?
I don't think you understand at all what I was talking about.

I wasn't even making a statement about the brain or consciousness. I was making a statement about a certain viewpoint regarding a "partial" computational model.

I merely pointed out that IF someone accepts that the "main" part of the brain functions by computing, THEN it is logically inconsistent to assert that the "input" part does not function by computing, BECAUSE input is part of computation.

For example there has been this idea put forth by some forum members that the abstract computational notion of a Turing machine doesn't include "input." That is simply false -- in a Turing machine, the input and output and program are merely the same thing, the "tape." Input is still there for every operation. To say there is no "input" is absolute nonsense, if there was no input there would be nothing to compute.
rocketdodger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 10:26 PM   #149
Leumas
Master Poster
 
Leumas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,861
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Is that called for?

Dude....it is a JOKE.... I myself fall smack in the middle of that set.... I have been programming for remuneration since I was 15 and I have been an agnostic/atheist since I was 17.... some time during the cambrian era that is.
__________________
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn't" - Jules Renard
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson
"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" - Mark Twain

Last edited by Leumas; 18th April 2012 at 10:40 PM.
Leumas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 10:33 PM   #150
Leumas
Master Poster
 
Leumas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,861
Originally Posted by Jeff Corey View Post
I don't think the poll choices exhaust all the possible answers, like "None of the above".

That is putting it mildly.... the whole thing is a false dichotomy logical fallacy.


Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
This poll is a false dichotomy...especially when Scott himself has admitted that the third choice was

Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
...The planet X option was my joke ...

The false dichotomy is
You either agree with his SPECULATIONS and CONJECTURES or you are a WOO BELIEVER
It is not just a false dichotomy...it is an egregious insult to anyone who sides with the scads of scientists who disagree with his FAITH in SCIENCE FICTION.


Before this thread degenerates into more nonsensical armchair speculations from laymen along with vitriolic hubristic defense of these conjectures by citing scifi fanfic along with adamant unwavering “monumentally simplistic” “operational definitions” that are “of no practical value”... and before it gravitates towards hypotheses of how the characters in the Sims video game are conscious entities if only you could redefine reality to suit.... and before it settles down to wishful thinking and aspirations of some laymen for becoming Deos Ex Machinas.... I suggest you watch this video to see the facts of where we stand in regards to the possibility of Pinocchio becoming a reality.

The following minutes are of salient relevance
  • 30:10 to 32:20
  • 34:55 to 41:45
  • 42:12 to 45:05 (especially 44:43-45:00)
  • 56:55 to 57:35
  • BUT....ABOVE ALL.... minutes 48:50 to 50:40.....especially the sentence the scientist says at minute 50:08 to 50:10.

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
__________________
"I don't know if God exists, but it would be better for his reputation if he didn't" - Jules Renard
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson
"It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" - Mark Twain

Last edited by Leumas; 18th April 2012 at 10:36 PM.
Leumas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 18th April 2012, 10:36 PM   #151
quarky
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 20,448
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
But conscious of what?

I can actually accept that a rock may be conscious in some way. But the experience of consciousness is dependent upon it's context. My experience is dependent upon what my brain is doing, upon it's internal architecture and external stimuli that affect that. There's something there for me to be conscious of. If I get bored, it's because I have the (evolved) capacity to be bored. If I feel something tastes delicious it's because I have that (evolved) capacity.

A rock doesn't have sense organs, nor the information processing organs to turn sensory data (that it doesn't have) into meaningful context. Lacking that, perhaps it does have some sort of experience: it interacts with the world regardless, but it can't be a particularly deep experience.

And yet your (and my) conscious experience are dependent upon the states of that computer. Give it a particular drug, and your experience is altered. Damage it in a particular way and your experience is altered again in a particular way.

So the brain certainly has something to do with consciousness.
The brain has a lot to do with self reflection. Thought is the likely cause of our sense of being an individual entity. This might be delusional, actually, this notion of being an individual entity. Individual cells in our conglomerate organism, in some cases, are indistinguishable from free ranging single celled organisms. These organisms show all the necessary signs of awareness.
Without awareness, an amoeba couldn't function. Yet, it lacks a brain. Its not a machine. Its something else.

I work with rocks. They get a big kick out of being moved. They are generally very slow. Sometimes, after thousands of years of not much happening, they find themselves being crushed by a large machine. Suddenly, they aren't the same entity anymore.

The entity known as quarky emerged into this world as a conscious 8 lb blob of protoplasm. He soon expanded 20 fold, and remained conscious. We have little in common, these various forms of me.

I wax philosophic, for which I apologize. This thread should have been in R&P.
Our collective biomass may well have an individual consciousness, of which we remain unaware. Much as our cells may be unaware of their collective entity.
quarky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 19th April 2012, 12:45 AM   #152
punshhh
Illuminator
 
punshhh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,848
Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Individual cells in our conglomerate organism, in some cases, are indistinguishable from free ranging single celled organisms. These organisms show all the necessary signs of awareness.
Without awareness, an amoeba couldn't function. Yet, it lacks a brain. Its not a machine. Its something else.
Quite.


Quote:
Our collective biomass may well have an individual consciousness, of which we remain unaware. Much as our cells may be unaware of their collective entity.
Again quite so.
punshhh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 19th April 2012, 01:00 AM   #153
Roboramma
Philosopher
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,766
Quarky, my point is pretty simple: without a brain consciousness lacks context. If a rock is conscious of being crushed, in what way is it conscious of it? If I am crushed I'll experience pain and I'll probably have thoughts about death, but both of those things are dependent upon the specific way in which my brain works.

Every conscious experience we have exists within that context. So what does it mean for a thing to be conscious without that context?
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 19th April 2012, 02:18 AM   #154
punshhh
Illuminator
 
punshhh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,848
Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
OK, but simulation is a bit ambiguous. A flight simulator isn't the same as flying for real, but if I "simulate" your neurons using NAND gates on silicon chips, it's more than just some image on a screen.

There's something I vaguely recall about replacing one single brain cell with a single microchip. Your conscious mind still functions, and you are still you. Only then I replace another, and another, and another. You're still you, you're still conscious. But then I keep going, all the way. And all the way you're still you, and you're still conscious. Even though you end up being made of silicon.

It was maybe just some science fiction story, but it stuck with me, and I ended up thinking what's the difference?
Yes, its an interesting idea which may in principle work, but I have my doubts about its practicality from reading these threads.

Going back to my point about simulations, I am happy with the idea of an intelligent simulated entity on a screen or virtual stage of some sort. Provided it is acknowledged that the computation going on to sustain the simulated entity is performed by a piece of hardware which is a replica brain. Rather than an in its stead, an entirely virtual computation. Whatever that is.

Last edited by punshhh; 19th April 2012 at 02:24 AM.
punshhh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 19th April 2012, 02:22 AM   #155
punshhh
Illuminator
 
punshhh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,848
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
The complex intelligence is the interaction of the parts that make up the replica brain. That can change over time, just as a wave on the ocean is the interaction of the water molecules that make it up, even though which water molecules make up the wave can change over time.

This is true of our brains: my intelligence is not located in my foot, but my foot (or at least the nerves in it) is a part of that intelligence, in so much as the signals it sends are a part of that complex interaction.
The atoms that make up my brain are replaced over time, but at any particular moment there are particular atoms interacting in a particular way and we can say that is the physical location of my intelligence. Where else would it be?

I find this discussion odd: whatever it is that brains do, they are made up of fundamental particles. It's the interactions of those fundamental particles that defines the system. If we can find another way to create interactions that do the same thing, then we'll have reproduced what brains do, and consciousness is a part of that.
Just as you can have different bridges made to different designs with different materials both capable of supporting traffic over a river, there's no reason that two brains couldn't be made of different materials with different designs.

That doesn't suggest, of course, that we know how to design such a thing now, but that's an engineering problem, not a fundamental theory problem.
Yes I agree, I was focussing specifically on what a simulated entity is and where it is located.

Do you imagine human consciousness as a kind of simulation of a self, a virtual self?
punshhh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 19th April 2012, 02:26 AM   #156
punshhh
Illuminator
 
punshhh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,848
Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
Nice!
punshhh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 19th April 2012, 02:44 AM   #157
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 17,464
Originally Posted by Modified View Post
I doubt there will be any change in what computers can do, only in processing speed and storage capacity. Even "quantum computing", if it ever becomes practical, will not change the functionality of computers. So your premise only makes sense if you think speed of operation is a necessary component of consciousness, enormous amounts of storage will be needed (more than is currently available), or some sort of data processing machine will be invented that can evaluate noncomputable functions.

I would say we could do it now if we knew how, it would require a lot of storage, and the result would be too slow to be of any interest.
Well, anything can be coded, but I have a hunch that the present architecture of both hardware and software may pose an obstacle, because it is basically constructed to be as deterministic as possible, and I don't think determinism is a main feature of consciousness, quite the opposite, it seems to be 'designed' to find new combinations of input data.

Another obstacle is that the big buck in software is not in consciousness; we are designing computers to be our obidient slaves, and we really don't want them to have consciousness. A conscious machine is an interesting project, but might require more serious funding than it can attract.

Hans
__________________
Don't. Just don't.
MRC_Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 19th April 2012, 02:49 AM   #158
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 17,464
Originally Posted by quarky View Post
A rock is fully conscious.
I think not. Not for any useful definition of 'conscious'.

Is an unconscious person conscious?

Hans
__________________
Don't. Just don't.
MRC_Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 19th April 2012, 02:54 AM   #159
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 17,464
Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
Going back to my point about simulations, I am happy with the idea of an intelligent simulated entity on a screen or virtual stage of some sort. Provided it is acknowledged that the computation going on to sustain the simulated entity is performed by a piece of hardware which is a replica brain. Rather than an in its stead, an entirely virtual computation. Whatever that is.
It is non-existent. We know of no example of any kind of algorithm that does not need hardware to perform it.

Hans
__________________
Don't. Just don't.
MRC_Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Old 19th April 2012, 02:59 AM   #160
Brian-M
Daydreamer
 
Brian-M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 6,468
Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
A simulation is not a replica of a brain, it is a projected image on a screen, which can be interpreted by a viewer. The projection may be of a replica brain, but that brain would be in another box or a different part of the box from the simulation projector, not on the screen.
Do you even understand the concept of "simulation"? (I explained it back in post 80, but that was the last post on the page so you might have missed it.)

I think you're confusing "simulation" with "animation" or "graphics". A simulation doesn't need to be capable of being represented visually to function. It doesn't need to be interpreted by a viewer.

For example, you could create a numbers-only orbital simulation of the solar system, with the only output being a list of the co-ordinates for each orbital body at regular time intervals in the future, printed out on fan-fold paper via a daisy-wheel printer, and it'd still be a valid simulation of the solar system. (There's a good chance this may have actually been done by someone, somewhere, back in the 70's). No screen or graphical representation needed, no graphical representation even needed in memory.

(You could even have a simulation that provides no output all, and it'd still be a valid simulation. But it wouldn't be much use, except possibly for testing system resources.)

A simulation that numerically duplicates all the processes occurring in the brain is a replica of the brain. An functional replica rather than a physical replica, but still a replica.

ETA:

Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
And where is the complex intelligence? on the screen, in an attached camera lens or in a component attached somewhere round the back of the simulator marked "replica brain"?
Does it somehow dwell in all three?
Or is it located in a virtual world which is in no exact location in the physical world?

Physically? In the CPU, ROM and other parts of the computer being used to run the simulation.

Of course, it only has this intelligence while the simulated brain is functioning, the same way that a flesh-and-blood person only has intelligence when their meat brain is functioning.

(If we stopped your brain from functioning, possibly by freezing it solid or physically disconnecting the neurons from each-other without damaging them, you wouldn't be intelligent anymore even though all the same components are there. Same applies for stopping the simulation.)
__________________
"That is just what you feel, that isn't reality." - hamelekim

Last edited by Brian-M; 19th April 2012 at 03:08 AM.
Brian-M is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Back to Top
Closed Thread

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:41 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2014, TribeTech AB. All Rights Reserved.
This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.