Colin and partners:

To the subject question: how do you know your own conscious state? (It all
comes back to my 'ceterum censeo': what are we talking about as
'consciousness'? -
if there is a concensus-ready definition for open-minded use at all).

And a 2nd question: May I ask: what is 'novelty'?
usually it refers to something actually not 'registered' among known and
 listed things within the inventory of activated presently used cognitive
Within the complexity inherently applied in the world, there is no novelty.
(First off: time is not included in complexity, so a 'later' finding is not
'new'. )
Secondly: our (limited) mindset works only with "that much" content and I
would be cautious to call 'novelty' the "rest of the world".
I wonder about Bruno's (omniscient) Lob-machine, how it handles a novelty.
Now I can continue reading your very exciting discussion.
John M

On 6/14/07, Colin Hales <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> Hi,
> Your argument that only consciousness can give rise to technology loses
> validity if you include "must be produced by a conscious being" as part of
> the definition of technology.
> There's obvious circularity in the above sentence and it is the same old
> circularity that endlessly haunts discussions like this (see the dialog
> with Russel).
> In dealing with the thread....
> Re: How would a computer know if it were conscious?
> proposition was that successful _novel_ technology....
> i.e. a entity comprised of matter with a function not previously observed
> and that resulted from new - as in hitherto unknown - knowledge of the
> natural world
> .... can only result when sourced through agency inclusive of a phenomenal
> consciousness (specifically and currently only that that aspect of human
> brain function I have called 'cortical qualia'). Without the qualia,
> generated based on literal connection with the world outside the agent,
> the novelty upon which the new knowledge was based would be invisible.
> My proposition was that if the machine can do the science on exquisite
> novelty that subsequantly is in the causal ancestry of novel technology
> then that machine must include phenomenal scenes (qualia) that depict the
> external world.
> Scientists and science are the way to objectively attain an objective
> scientific position on subjective experience - that is just as valid as
> any other scientific position AND that a machine could judge itself by. If
> the machine is willing to bet its existence on the novel technology's
> ability to function when the machine is not there doing what it thinks is
> 'observing it'... and it survives - then it can call itself conscious.
> Humans do that.
> But the machines have another option. They can physically battle it out
> against humans. The humans will blitz machines without phenomenal scenes
> every time and the machines without them won't even know it because they
> never knew they were in a fight to start with. They wouldn't be able to
> test a hypothesis that they were even in a fight.
> and then this looks all circular again doesn't it?....this circularity is
> the predictable result....see below...
> >>> Well, why does your eye generate visual qualia and not your big toe?
> It's because the big toe lacks the necessary machinery.
> >> I am afraid you have your physiology mixed up. The eye does NOT
> generate visual qualia. Your visual cortex  generates it based on
> measurements in the eye. The qualia are manufactured and simultaneously
> projected to appear to come from the eye (actually somewhere medial to
> them). It's how you have 90degrees++ peripheral vison. The same visual
> qualia can be generated without an eye (hallucination/dream). Some blind
> (no functioning retina) people have a visual field for numbers. Other
> cross-modal mixups can occur in synesthesia (you can hear
> colours, taste words). You can have a "phantom big toe" without having any
> big toe at all....just because the cortex is still there making the
> qualia. If you swapped the sensory nerves in two fingers the motor cortex
> would drive finger A and it would feel like finger B moved and you would
> see finger A move. The sensation is in your head, not the periphery. It's
> merely projected at the periphery.
> >Of course all that is true, but it doesn't explain why neurons in the
> cortex are the ones giving rise to qualia rather than other neurons or
> indeed peripheral sense organs.
> Was that what you were after?
> hmmm.... firstly..... didactic mode....
> =====================================
> Qualia are not about 'knowledge'. Any old piece of junk can symbolically
> encode knowledge. Qualia, however, optimally serve _learning_ = _change_
> in knowledge but more specifically change in knowledge about the world
> OUTSIDE the agent. Mathematically: If KNOWLEDGE(t) is what we know at time
> t, then qualia give us an optimal (survivable):
> d(knowledge(t))
> -----------
>    dt
> where knowledge(t) is all about the world outside the agent. Without
> qualia you have the ultimate in circularity - what you know must be based
> on what you know + sensory signals devoid of qualia and only interpretable
> by your existing knowledge. Sensory signals are not uniquely related to
> the external natural world behaviour (law of electromagnetics
> Laplacian/Possions equation) and are intrinsically devoid of qualia
> (physiological fact). Hence the science of sensory signals (capturing
> regularity in them) is NOT the science of the external natural world in
> any way that exposes novelty in the external natural world= a recipe for
> evolutionary shortlived-ness.
> =========================================
> Now... as to
> >Of course all that is true, but it doesn't explain why neurons in the
> cortex are the ones giving rise to qualia rather than other neurons or
> indeed peripheral sense organs.
> Your whole concept of explanation is causal of the problem! Objects of the
> sense impressions (contents of consciousness) cannot predict the existence
> of the sense impressions. All the 'cells' etc are objects of sense
> impressions! All description, no explanation. You will never explain them
> that way by definition.
> The only way out of the circularity is to ask yourself  (as I suggested in
> the first post)
> "What kind of universe must I be in/made of would, in the form of observed
> cells and cell behaviour, deliver observation of the kind that reveals
> itself as cells behaving as they do?"
> I hold the huge and exquisitiely structured electromagnetic field in
> normal human cranial excitable cells (neurons and astrocytes)to be
> responsible for qualia. 'The word 'electromagnetic' is just a label for a
> sense artefact. There is no such 'thing' as electromagnetism. There is
> only SOMETHING (stuff) behaving in a an electromagnetic fashion that we
> all agreed is deserved of the label..
> ....The trick is to propose all manner of kinds of 'stuff' (nothing to do
> with any'thing' ever proposed by science) in a collection that has an
> intrinsic capacity to deliver observation (the one thing totally
> unexplained by science) and to recognise in that STUFF what the property
> delivering observation actually is. This sounds weird but it's quite
> practical and invaldates no existence science at all. Existing science can
> be used to validate all such propositions for STUFF. It's what I am set
> about to do - make a conscious chip - and prove it is conscious (has
> qualia happeneing in it) - by making it (actually several of them all
> connected to each other) do science and get it right.
> Science hasn't even begun to do this an any structured, explicit
> fashion...which is a shame, for it causes all the circularity.
> So in order to tell you the answer to your question I have to tell you
> what the universe is made of. And the answer consistent with brain
> material's ability to deliver observation is simple: the fluctuation. End
> of story. Except you need a whole pile of them (largely but not perfectly)
> synchronised.
> I can never tell you "it's X,Y,Z contents of consciousness-based
> generalisation" that delivers the contents of consiousness".
> The circularity (dare I say symmetry!) argument is broken by breaking our
> epistemology into 2 distinct halves, each valid depictions of the natural
> world. One half (a) scientifically says what it is made of and the other
> half (b) scientifically says how it will appear when you are made of it,
> inside it _because_ it is made of (a) stuff.
> I am doing (b). I can't use sense objects like cells and molecules and
> atoms to explain it because it is meaningless to do so. I can tell you
> that the delivery of sense impressions (qualia) is definitely as a result
> of specific bahaviours related to what we observe as neural cell firing,
> but not entirely so. The model also scientifically says why your big toe
> has no qualia and what a rock or a computer (current architectures) does
> not.
> The boundary of the underlying natural world/universe and how it appears
> is literally in brain material. It's the only 'real' we can claim to have.
> Ignoring it as evidence of the underlying universe is just plain dumb.
> Down the track we're all going to say "geeze what WERE we thinking all
> those centuries!!"
> My formula for machine consciousness validation stands as a valid
> scientifically testable proposition.
> The real test will happen within 5 years - a nest of tiny little benchtop
> artificial scientists in the form of chips with a novel architecture -
> that will scientifically demonstrate science to us and therefore be
> justifyably the possessors of qualia. Upon failure of the test the 'STUFF'
> I have chosen must be the wrong STUFF and that will be scientifically
> refuted. In any event real science will be done.
> gotta go.
> cheers
> colin hales
> >

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