On 28/06/07, Bruno Marchal <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

Hi Bruno

The remarks you comment on are certainly not the best-considered or most
cogently expressed of my recent posts.  However, I'll try to clarify if you
have specific questions.  As to why I said I'd rather not use the term
'consciousness', it's because of some recent confusion and circular disputes
(e.g. with Torgny, or about whether hydrogen atoms are 'conscious').  Some
of the sometimes confused senses (not by you, I hasten to add!) seem to be:

1) The fact of possessing awareness
2) The fact of being aware of one's awareness
3) the fact of being aware of some content of one's awareness

So now I would prefer to talk about self-relating to a 1-personal 'world',
where previously I might have said 'I am conscious', and that such a world
mediates or instantiates 3-personal content.  I've tried to root this (in
various posts) in a logically or semantically primitive notion of
self-relation that could underly 0, 1, or 3-person narratives, and to
suggest that such self-relation might be intuited as 'sense' or 'action'
depending on the narrative selected. But crucially such nuances would merely
be partial takes on the underlying self-relation, a 'grasp' which is not

So ISTM that questions should attempt to elicit the machine's self-relation
to such a world and its contents: i.e. it's 'grasp' of a reality analogous
to our own.  And ISTM the machine could also ask itself such questions, just
as we can, if indeed such a world existed for it.

I realise of course that it's fruitless to try to impose my jargon on anyone
else, but I've just been trying to see whether I could become less confused
by expressing things in this way.  Of course, a reciprocal effect might just
be to make others more confused!

> Le 21-juin-07, à 01:07, David Nyman a écrit :
> >
> > On Jun 5, 3:12 pm, Bruno Marchal <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> >
> >> Personally I don' think we can be *personally* mistaken about our own
> >> consciousness even if we can be mistaken about anything that
> >> consciousness could be about.
> >
> > I agree with this, but I would prefer to stop using the term
> > 'consciousness' at all.
> Why?
> > To make a decision (to whatever degree of
> > certainty) about whether a machine possessed a 1-person pov analogous
> > to a human one, we would surely ask it the same sort of questions one
> > would ask a human.  That is: questions about its personal 'world' -
> > what it sees, hears, tastes (and perhaps extended non-human
> > modalitiies); what its intentions are, and how it carries them into
> > practice.  From the machine's point-of-view, we would expect it to
> > report such features of its personal world as being immediately
> > present (as ours are), and that it be 'blind' to whatever 'rendering
> > mechanisms' may underlie this (as we are).
> >
> > If it passed these tests, it would be making similar claims on a
> > personal world as we do, and deploying this to achieve similar ends.
> > Since in this case it could ask itself the same questions that we can,
> > it would have the same grounds for reaching the same conclusion.
> >
> > However, I've argued in the other bit of this thread against the
> > possibility of a computer in practice being able to instantiate such a
> > 1-person world merely in virtue of 'soft' behaviour (i.e.
> > programming).  I suppose I would therefore have to conclude that no
> > machine could actually pass the tests I describe above - whether self-
> > administered or not - purely in virtue of running some AI program,
> > however complex.  This is an empirical prediction, and will have to
> > await an empirical outcome.
> Now I have big problems to understand this post. I must think ... (and
> go).
> Bye,
> Bruno
> >
> >
> > On Jun 5, 3:12 pm, Bruno Marchal <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> >> Le 03-juin-07, à 21:52, Hal Finney a écrit :
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>> Part of what I wanted to get at in my thought experiment is the
> >>> bafflement and confusion an AI should feel when exposed to human
> >>> ideas
> >>> about consciousness.  Various people here have proffered their own
> >>> ideas, and we might assume that the AI would read these suggestions,
> >>> along with many other ideas that contradict the ones offered here.
> >>> It seems hard to escape the conclusion that the only logical response
> >>> is for the AI to figuratively throw up its hands and say that it is
> >>> impossible to know if it is conscious, because even humans cannot
> >>> agree
> >>> on what consciousness is.
> >>
> >> Augustin said about (subjective) *time* that he knows perfectly what
> >> it
> >> is, but that if you ask him to say what it is, then he admits being
> >> unable to say anything. I think that this applies to "consciousness".
> >> We know what it is, although only in some personal and uncommunicable
> >> way.
> >> Now this happens to be true also for many mathematical concept.
> >> Strictly speaking we don't know how to define the natural numbers, and
> >> we know today that indeed we cannot define them in a communicable way,
> >> that is without assuming the auditor knows already what they are.
> >>
> >> So what can we do. We can do what mathematicians do all the time. We
> >> can abandon the very idea of *defining* what consciousness is, and try
> >> instead to focus on principles or statements about which we can agree
> >> that they apply to consciousness. Then we can search for
> >> (mathematical)
> >> object obeying to such or similar principles. This can be made easier
> >> by admitting some theory or realm for consciousness like the idea that
> >> consciousness could apply to *some* machine or to some *computational
> >> events" etc.
> >>
> >> We could agree for example that:
> >> 1) each one of us know what consciousness is, but nobody can prove
> >> he/she/it is conscious.
> >> 2) consciousness is related to inner personal or self-referential
> >> modality
> >> etc.
> >>
> >> This is how I proceed in "Conscience et Mécanisme".  ("conscience" is
> >> the french for consciousness, "conscience morale" is the french for
> >> the
> >> english "conscience").
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>> In particular I don't think an AI could be expected to claim that it
> >>> knows that it is conscious, that consciousness is a deep and
> >>> intrinsic
> >>> part of itself, that whatever else it might be mistaken about it
> >>> could
> >>> not be mistaken about being conscious.  I don't see any logical way
> >>> it
> >>> could reach this conclusion by studying the corpus of writings on the
> >>> topic.  If anyone disagrees, I'd like to hear how it could happen.
> >>
> >> As far as a machine is correct, when she introspects herself, she
> >> cannot not discover a gap between truth (p) and provability (Bp). The
> >> machine can discover correctly (but not necessarily in a completely
> >> communicable way) a gap between provability (which can potentially
> >> leads to falsities, despite correctness) and the incorrigible
> >> knowability or knowledgeability (Bp & p), and then the gap between
> >> those notions and observability (Bp & Dp) and sensibility (Bp & Dp &
> >> p). Even without using the conventional name of "consciousness",
> >> machines can discover semantical fixpoint playing the role of non
> >> expressible but true statements.
> >> We can *already* talk with machine about those true unnameable things,
> >> as have done Tarski, Godel, Lob, Solovay, Boolos, Goldblatt, etc.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>> And the corollary to this is that perhaps humans also cannot
> >>> legitimately
> >>> make such claims, since logically their position is not so different
> >>> from that of the AI.  In that case the seemingly axiomatic question
> >>> of
> >>> whether we are conscious may after all be something that we could be
> >>> mistaken about.
> >>
> >> This is an inference from "I cannot express p" to "I can express not
> >> p". Or from ~Bp to B~p.  Many atheist reason like that about the
> >> concept of "unameable" reality, but it is a logical error.
> >> Even for someone who is not willing to take the comp hyp into
> >> consideration, it is a third person communicable fact that
> >> self-observing machines can discover and talk about many non
> >> 3-provable
> >> and sometimes even non 3-definable true "statements" about them. Some
> >> true statements can only be interrogated.
> >> Personally I don' think we can be *personally* mistaken about our own
> >> consciousness even if we can be mistaken about anything that
> >> consciousness could be about.
> >>
> >> Bruno
> >>
> >> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
> >
> >
> > >
> >
> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
> >

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